Pride at Zurich

  • This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots
  • Zurich first marched in London Pride under our own banner in 2017
  • Zurich Pride UK recently asked role models in the UK to send us their thoughts on Pride

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. But what were the Stonewall Riots and why are they so important? Here is a brief overview of the events:

On the 28th June 1968, police officers raided the Stonewall Inn, a known gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York. Police raids on the Stonewall Inn were fairly common but this time clientele resisted being searched and identified. As patrons refused to leave the area and local residents started to congregate, onlookers became increasingly concerned as the situation escalated to use of physical violence. Ultimately, a lesbian, who has never been officially identified, was hit on the head with a baton, sparking the restless crowd to riot. Although the crowd was eventually dispersed, protests continued for several nights following.

From this night, activist groups such as the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance were formed, spearheading a new wave of LGBT political activism. On the one year anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the LGBT+ community held a protest in Greenwich Village, with simultaneous events held in Los Angeles and Chicago. Within two years, there were gay rights groups across America and Western Europe. Since then, the LGBT+ community has seen major highs and lows and it is no wonder the theme for this year’s London Pride March this weekend is #PrideJubilee in celebration and remembrance of the last five decades of activism.

Zurich first marched in London Pride under our own banner in 2017, taking our place in the rainbow amongst our industry peers and other organisations from across the UK. This year we’ve been present at other Pride events too, supporting our regional employees in Southampton and Leeds.

Taking part in Pride events is just a small part of what we’re doing to make our organisation a more inclusive place to work. Our Zurich Pride UK network works throughout the year to meet three main objectives:

Support- we are here to support our community by providing advice and care to all, assistance to managers, support for charity work and networking opportunities.

Education- We are here to educate our colleagues, both through our resources and within our daily activities by challenging assumptions and behaviours.

Conscience- We are here to act as the conscience of the whole Zurich UK business by being role models and by shaping the journey for colleagues and customers.

Zurich Pride UK recently asked role models in the UK to send us their thoughts on Pride, here’s what Trevor had to say:

“In all the years I have been working for Zurich I have never felt that I have to hide the fact that I am gay, (that doesn’t mean I walk around wearing a sign). I openly talk to my colleagues about my life outside of work as any of us do on a daily basis and I’m very happy to answer any questions people may have, I would rather they asked me than for them to assume.

I am very much an Advocate and active member of Zurich Pride UK. One of the main reasons we have the group is to help create an environment of respect and understanding for LGBT people and having PRIDE in who you are regardless of your gender identity or sexual orientation. Life is too short and we should not be discriminating or creating barriers against anyone because of this.” Trevor O’Gorman, Sourcing Specialist.

We also take part in the both the Global and UK Stonewall Index surveys to ensure we continue to make progress against their framework of best practice and to find out how we are doing compared to our peers. It’s a great opportunity for companies to look at a number of areas and assess how inclusive they are for LGBT employees.

The submission for Stonewall is split into 9 areas, from policy to products, and over the coming months our Zurich Pride UK committee members will be collating our submission to the index. Results are out early 2020, so watch this space!

For more information about the Stonewall index:
https://www.stonewall.org.uk/creating-inclusive-workplaces/workplace-equality-indices

For more information about the Stonewall Riots we recommend these sources:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/pride-2019-stonewall-riots-history-lgbt-rights-a8942956.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots

For more information about the Pride in London and #PrideJubilee:
https://prideinlondon.org/about-us/campaigns/jubilee