Every June, Pride Month is celebrated across the world to honour the 1969 Stonewall Riots and recognises the significant impact that LGBT+ individuals have had on our lives. Lesbians and trans women of colour were some of the key people involved in that act of resistance.
Whilst there may not be the usual parades and festivals throughout the summer months as a result of the pandemic, Shoosmiths has been focused throughout Pride Month and afterwards on continuing to support LGBT+ colleagues and develop the firm’s network for LGBT+ employees and allies both internally and externally.
From June 2020, the network has been renamed as PROUD at Shoosmiths and a new logo has been developed which represents the PROUD network, showcasing our proud pathway and symbolising everyone coming together in a unified way. The addition of the black and brown stripes to the top of the standard six-colour flag was introduced by the City of Philadelphia in June 2017. More organisations now use this flag to acknowledge the intersections between race and identifying with the LGTB+ community. We strive towards a truly equal LGBT+ community and society in general, irrespective of colour of skin and without division
Our PROUD champions for Birmingham, Adam Maguire and Stacey Moore, were also in the process of organising the network’s first panel event prior to the lockdown which was intended to take place in the Birmingham office following their successful launch event in November 2019.
Instead, the event took place as a panel webinar, hosted by Shoosmiths CEO and PROUD network sponsor, Simon Boss. The event was run in collaboration with PwC, No Outsiders and Football v Homophobia Scotland and was titled “Being Proud: A webinar on supporting LGBT+ colleagues and building an inclusive environment”.
The guest speakers were:
- Stephanie Hardy - Co-Chair for PwC's Midlands Diversity & Inclusion Council and committee member for Shine Midlands (PwC's LGBTQ+ staff network)
- Andrew Moffat MBE – CEO of No Outsiders charity and Personal Development Lead at Excelsior Trust in Birmingham
- Sirri Topping - Participation & Engagement Manager for LEAP Sports Scotland and project lead for Football v Homophobia Scotland in partnership with the Scottish FA
The event was a huge success with a significant number of internal and external viewers, and a lively discussion followed by a Q&A. The PROUD network are already making plans for their next event and a recording of the webinar is available here: https://youtu.be/csYZDjcZMLw
In addition to this, trainee solicitor Daniel Stamford contributed to an article in the Law Society Gazette entitled “Pride during a Global Pandemic” to talk about his own experiences and the importance of LGBT+ inclusion in the legal profession. A copy of the article can be accessed here: https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/commentary-and-opinion/pride-during-a-global-pandemic/5104923.article
Finally, but by no means least, trainee solicitor Eliza Stubing circulated a Pride Month edition of the Tea Break Times, the social club newsletter for Shoosmiths in Scotland which contained articles on how to be a good ally, culture and entertainment, positive news stories and details of LGBT+ charities which people can support.
While life has certainly been different since the pandemic, our network has not stopped and continues to be proud at Shoosmiths.