Championing LGBTQIA+ History and Rights Every Day
Pride Month might be over, but our dedication to championing LGBTQIA+ rights at Saunders Law remains a year-round pledge.
Our firm’s ethos puts a commitment to diversity at its heart – where staff are encouraged to embrace their uniqueness and that of others.
By actively championing LGBTQIA+ rights not solely during Pride Month, but throughout the year, we do what we can, where we want to aid and help do our part in the creation of a working environment where every individual, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can live with dignity, respect, and without the specter of discrimination. Our firm stands as an ally, partner, and advocate in this journey towards a fairer and more just society for all.
LGBTQIA+ History Month
In 1995, LGBTQIA+ History Month was added to the list of commemorative months in a resolution forwarded by the General Assembly of the National Education Association. October was chosen as the month of observance as National Coming Out Day already existed as a nominated holiday on October 11.
The month of October recognises the impact the LBTGQIA+ community has had on history, including remembering those who have been lost or harmed due to HIV/AIDS and hate crimes.
In June 1969, supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City, when seeking justice and equal opportunities for all to express their sexuality, staged an uprising in resistance to the police harassment and persecution regularly faced by the LGBT+ community. Their fight for equality evolved into a political and cultural movement that continues to be celebrated today, with Division of Equity and Inclusion local policies being implemented to acknowledge and promote LGBTQIA+ inclusion in organisations, schools, and communities.
Decades on, the world remains deeply unequal in so many areas, especially for LGBTQIA+ people.
For instance, in 1893, the prohibition against ‘cross-dressing’ for an improper purpose was enacted in Guyana. It took until 2018, for the law to eventually be repealed. Those convicted under this provision are liable to face a fine of up to B$1,000, imprisonment of up to three months, or both.
To this day, at least 15 jurisdictions across Africa, Asia and the Middle East still impose criminal sanctions against people whose gender expression does not align with their sex as assigned at birth, using laws that criminalise so called ‘cross-dressing’, disguise, impersonation or imitation.
In today’s society, the data presents a contrasting narrative as, 72 countries globally continue to criminalise same-sex relationships, and eight of them even retain the death penalty for such cases. Shockingly, more than 29% of the world's population advocates for criminal charges against individuals in same-sex relationships. Another case from, the Guardian recently reported that hate crimes related to sexual orientation and gender identity have increased year on year since 2015, the BBC also recently reported on “LGBT tolerance going backwards”, particularly for trans people. Recent rhetoric from the Government in this country, presumably only for anticipated political gain, can only have the effect of demonising and hurting those who do not ‘neatly fit’ within the established two genders.
So how can we support the LGBTQIA+ community:
- Educate yourself and improve your understanding of LGBTQIA history. To be an ally, it's essential to familiarise yourself with this history, grasp why these issues matter to the community, and don't hesitate to ask questions if you're unsure.
- Learn about LGBTQIA+ issues, and increase your understanding of LGBTQIA+ issues by researching resources online and engaging with your local LGBTQIA+ civic society organisations who understand the issues and solutions in your community/region.
- Raise awareness among your peers, and be a champion for LGBTQIA+ equality, expand your knowledge share any solutions that are identified;
- Introduce yourself to individuals' pronouns; avoid assuming pronouns as not everyone feels comfortable sharing theirs. This step reduces the unease related to misgendering, which is particularly important for transgender and non-binary identities.
- Avoid making assumptions; refrain from presuming someone's sexual orientation. Embrace each person's uniqueness and promote acceptance. Replace terms like 'boyfriend' and 'girlfriend' with gender-neutral language such as 'partner.'
If you run or manage a business, you could, particularly:
- Consider what training can or is being provided, ensure that policies are written and designed to be inclusive;
- Provide support to LGBTQIA+ staff at work so they can work with dignity and free of stigma, help with raising awareness with internal discussions led by those who are part of the LGTBQIA+ community;
- Set up or take part in staff LGTBQIA+ groups in order to provide peer support for colleagues, be a visible point of support for colleagues;
- Businesses can look to prevent human rights violations: they can use their leverage to prevent discrimination and related abuses by their business partners.
Through providing unwavering support for LGBTQIA+ rights, our goal is to play a small part, with others, to try and create a world where every individual's identity is respected, and discrimination is eradicated.
As a firm, we are proud to stand alongside the LGBTQIA+ community, advocating for a more inclusive and equitable future.