Celebrating Pride month

Claudia McIntosh, Equity Diversity Inclusion Manager at SmartestEnergy, emphasises the significance of embracing Pride as an organisation. By prioritising inclusion and diversity in our decision-making processes, we can honour Pride month and acknowledge the vibrant nature of our society.

June marks the arrival of Pride Month—a time of activism, and a reminder of the ongoing fight for equality and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community. Pride Month celebrates the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, a pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ history when transgender women and other queer individuals fought against police harassment and discrimination. Understanding the struggles and milestones of the past allows us to appreciate the progress made and continue advocating for equality and acceptance in the present and future. Pride is a vital reminder of the origin and the story of those who paved the way for the progress we see today. My colleague, Kieran Williams wrote a fantastic blog last year looking back at Pride history, where you can read more.

Pride is about celebrating diversity, love, and embracing people for who they are. I believe that our company is committed to building a welcoming and inclusive community. One of our core values, "One team. One future.," underscores our dedication to creating a workplace that embraces diversity. Through our SmartestBalance initiative, we prioritise the development of an environment that is accepting and enjoyable for everyone. We believe that in order to thrive as a team, it is essential to build an atmosphere where all individuals feel included and valued.

As Equity Diversity Inclusion Manager, I encourage everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. Allies play a pivotal role in promoting inclusivity by educating themselves, advocating for equal rights, and challenging harmful stereotypes. Together, we can create a safe and supportive space for our LGBTQ+ colleagues to thrive. Some allies within our Diverse Gender and Sexualities Group share the following when I asked them to complete the phrase ‘I joined the Diverse Gender and Sexualities Group’:

"… so I can learn more about how to be an ally to the LGBTQA+ community and teach the same to my children"

"… because my son came out last year and I wanted to share my experience and learn from the group"

"… so I could share all the great stuff DSG are doing around the business to improve the diversity of the company, to create a bigger awareness of a safe space to implement positive change"

"… because you recommended this group to me and I'm very thankful you did as it's somewhere I can be myself"

“…because managing a team of mixed genders, sexualities and religions I wanted to make sure they know that SmartestEnergy is a place where the issues they raised were heard and that they had somewhere to turn without feeling judged or viewed as not important’’

Significant progress has been made in the LGBTQ+ community, evident in recent developments around the world such as Mexico's introduction of non-binary passports and the introduction of a new law in Queensland, Australia, allowing trans people to self-identify on birth certificates is a positive step towards affirming individuals' gender identities. These example advancements highlight the ongoing efforts to create more inclusive and supportive societies for the LGBTQ+ community.

At SmartestEnergy we believe that promoting, listening, and learning the voices of the LGBTQ+ community will lead to understanding that the fight for equality is a collective responsibility. There is a long way to go and therefore by actively supporting and having open discussions and internal LGBTQ+ events, we are advocating for a change and aiming to help dismantle barriers and create a more equitable workplace. We’re excited to continue planning our activities and partnerships with local charities and trans-led organisations!

Pride Month is an excellent opportunity for us to come together as a community and celebrate the diversity of our workforce. Throughout the month, we have organised a series of events and initiatives, including Pride Book Share and LGBTQIA+ Meaning Behind the Letters aimed at fostering understanding, empathy, and allyship. These events provide avenues for education, dialogue, and celebration, helping us create a workplace that champions diversity.

Happy Pride month!