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Zurich celebrates Pride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots

  • Zurich first marched in London Pride under their own banner in 2017
  • Taking part in Pride events is just a small part of what Zurich are doing to make their organisation a more inclusive place to work
  • Zurich are also taking part in the UK Stonewall Index 2019

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 1969, 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 their own banner in 2017, taking their place in the rainbow amongst industry peers and other organisations from across the UK.  This year Zurich has been present at other Pride events too, supporting their regional employees in Southampton and Leeds.

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

Support– to support their community by providing advice and care to all, assistance to managers, support for charity work and networking opportunities.

Education– to educate their colleagues, both through their resources and within their daily activities by challenging assumptions and behaviours.

Conscience– 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 in 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.

Zurich also take part in the both the Global and UK Stonewall Index surveys to ensure they continue to make progress against their framework of best practice and to find out how Zurich 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 the Zurich Pride UK committee members will be collating their submission to the index.


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