Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) are the foundation of the Microsoft culture, and in this sense, the company has once again joined the Pride month celebrations. Under the motto “Together We Can”, this year’s campaign aims to reinforce the moment to recognize the innovation, contributions and resilience of LGBTQI+ communities and the continuous effort for their rights and equality.
In addition to the voices of internal LGBTQI+ communities and members of GLEAM (Global LGBTQI+ Employee and Allies at Microsoft), this year’s edition will feature numerous activities, with emphasis on the holding of the digital event “Microsoft Pride 2021: Together, we can” on the day June 24th.
Microsoft is present in more than 120 countries, most of which do not yet offer legal protection to LGBTQI+ communities, which represent a large group of people whose experiences vary and intersect across cultures, regions, races, ethnicities, beliefs, and more.
GLEAM members sought to focus this year’s edition of Pride on the stories of black, Asian, Latino and indigenous LGBTQI+ people, reflecting the broad spectrum of issues facing these communities today. Many issues are evident for LGBTQI+ people and include: working to protect the lives of transgender people, working for racial equality, mitigating the impact of COVID-19, expanding environmental equity, increasing indigenous visibility and much more. In this regard, Microsoft’s LGBTQI+ communities believe that the real power lies in bringing communities together to create change and “Together We Can” bring communities together.
Microsoft has consistently championed LGBTQI+ communities since 1989, the year it was one of the first companies to introduce sexual orientation into its non-discrimination policies. Since its founding in 1993, GLEAM has honored Pride for giving a voice to the LGBTQI+ communities and for using Microsoft products to share messages of inclusion and support.
Annually, Microsoft also releases the Diversity and Inclusion Report that tracks progress in its commitments to increase diversity and promote inclusion in the company, but also in the communities in which it operates. In 2020, Microsoft also highlighted the issue of D&I in light of the pandemic, which accentuated much of the imbalance in this area, and also reinforced its commitments to address racial injustice.
Pride Month is celebrated annually in June, in recognition of the resilience of LGBTQI+ communities and the ongoing fight for LGBTQI+ rights. Most Pride celebrations take place in June to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall demonstrations, June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn bar in New York, USA, of members of the LGBTQI+ community against the city’s police forces.
A year later, in June 1970, LGBTQI+ activists organized a march for LGBTQI+ rights and adopted the phrase “pride” to compensate for the harm done to the community. This initiative was repeated in the following years and spread to cities around the world until Pride became what it is today.