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| 2 minutes read

When did Pride get so political?

With this being key election year across the UK, US and Europe, media coverage and political figures add daily to the blaze of a culture war, stirring up a complex rhetoric which impacts minoritised groups. Working in DEIB, this brings the political conversation into sharp relief.

This June we’re marking Pride Month at AMS where our LGBTQ+ ERG are driving activities to educate and guide the business based on the theme of ‘Community’, where we welcomed trans speaker and LinkedIn Top 10 LGBTQIA+ Voice Max Siegal for a discussion on gender, politics and the people caught between, with our Chief People Officer Nikki Hall. 

We’re proud to have LGBTQ+ representation above latest census data, but with this brings responsibility to ensure processes, practices and policy are in place to protect these communities. It also makes ‘belonging’ all the more important so that everyone has the freedom to be their authentic selves – particularly where recent LinkedIn research found that 3 in 4 (75%) of LGBTQ+ professionals have ‘code-switched’ in the workplace, downplaying their identity to seemingly become more palatable and advance professionally. 

Progress isn’t linear 

Over the past few years, we’ve seen heightened conversations regarding LGBTQ+ visibility and protections:

  • Dispute regarding the use of rainbow lanyards in some organisations and proposed cuts to DEIB programmes
  • Debate around the Cass Review, the UK’s four-year-long review of medical interventions for transgender youth
  • More social media commentary on LGBTQIA+ rights in the last year than the past three years combined, especially on X
  • Increasingly polarised discussion around trans and non-binary communities, with trans issues dominating media coverage, despite trans representation making up less than 1% of the global population

The impact of these narratives is real and concerning. According to recent ONS statistics, hate crimes against trans people have surged by 11% in a year, and by 186% over the last five years. In the latest ILGA-Europe ‘Rainbow Map’ rating of 49 European countries, the UK has dropped to 17th place. There are still 64 countries in the world where homosexuality is criminalised (which in many cases I feel compelled to point out is British colonial legacy), and same-sex marriage is still only legal in just over 30 jurisdictions in the world.

Pride has always been political – this year in particular we’re reminded of the importance of safe and respectful conversations and the need to speak up against hateful, divisive rhetoric for all communities. 

What do we have to celebrate? 

We do need to remind ourselves of the green shoots and celebrate the wins – Lesbian Visibility Week was discussed in UK Parliament for the first time this year. This Tuesday (18 June), Thailand became the first nation in Southeast Asia to legalise same-sex marriage, and countries such as Germany and Sweden recently changed gender laws to make it easier for trans and non-binary folk to legally self-identify. AMS’s LGBTQ+ ERG continues to go from strength to strength globally, we were recognised as an LGBTQ+ Great Place to Work in Mexico and have partners like myGwork to help bring colleagues and clients along the journey. As a gay man myself, I feel surrounded by vocal allies, and my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary this month (which I take every opportunity to mention).

Pride will to some extent always be defined by politics, however, our strength lies in the coming together of the LGBTQ+ community and our allies not just in June, but all year round. 

Recent LinkedIn research found that 3 in 4 (75%) of LGBTQ+ professionals have ‘code-switched’ in the workplace, downplaying their identity to seemingly become more palatable and advance professionally.


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