Pride started because Black and Latinx transgender people stood up against injustice at Stonewall, New York in 1969. The systemic racism and violence targeted against the Black and African American community, especially transgender Black women, shows us that we don’t live in a truly equitable society. And global issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic, are exacerbating the inequities the Black, African American and LBGTQI+ communities already face. We must take steps to address injustices and take action to drive equity and inclusion forward.
We believe now more than ever we need to encourage open dialogue because it helps us create momentum, build empathy and change history. Yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision protects LGBTQI+ people in the workplace from discrimination — but also serves as a reminder that the journey toward a truly equitable future isn’t over. The events of these past few days, weeks and months are a call to action.
During June, which is Pride month, we’re making a $250,000 donation to nonprofits around the world to help in their fight for LGBTQI+ and racial equity. We’re also spotlighting various identities and expressions through limited-edition products designed with and by the LGBTQI+ community with the hope of giving visibility to often overlooked or neglected groups. Our campaign shares our employees’ stories and invites us all to continue conversations to push inclusion forward.
Put together by employees across all continents, Pride at Microsoft is a grassroots and global phenomenon. For us, Pride is an opportunity to reflect on our past and galvanize action. We started our inclusion journey early in the company’s history, introducing sexual orientation in our non-discrimination policies in 1989. In 1993, we were one of the first companies in the world to offer employee benefits to same-sex domestic partners. And since 2005, Microsoft has attained a 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.
Our journey is just beginning
Today, Microsoft operates in over 120 countries, most of which still don’t provide legal protections for LGBTQI+ individuals. Yet, when we raise awareness of these inequities, we often face misconceptions and accusations of pandering.
That’s why this year’s GLEAM community (Global LGBTQI+ Employees and Allies at Microsoft) decided to open up a dialogue with the hope to drive progress forward.
Our 2020 Pride campaign is a platform for our GLEAM members to have brave conversations by sharing their experiences of homophobia, racism, sexism and fears, and to counter common misconceptions of the LGBTQI+ community. Their stories encourage everyone to listen, reflect, and explore what actions they can take to push inclusion forward.
We’re releasing many of their responses as a downloadable archive of stickers and virtual backgrounds on microsoft.com/pride, so everyone can use them, add to them, share their Pride, and kickstart their own conversations.
We’re also bringing visibility to the LGBTQI+ community on a global scale by showing Pride in our products, reaching billions of people around the world. In designing these products, we reflected on the diversity of gender identities, gender expressions and sexual orientations today. The 19 different LGBTQI+ flags became the inspiration for many of our designs. We don’t release these products for profit, and our donations exceed any revenue we generate. We’re creating these experiences with the hope to drive visibility to the community and kick-start a dialogue about LGBTQI+ equity on a global scale. Visit microsoft.com/Pride to learn more.
We’re also hosting a 24-hour virtual Pride event on Saturday, June 27 at 10 a.m. ET on Microsoft InCulture, Mixer and our social channels. We’ll have discussions about racism, intersectionality, representation and more via panels, play, music, and conversations with invited guests, nonprofits, and artists. We hope you can join us.
Acting on the message
To honor Pride, we’re donating $250,000 to the following nonprofits in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia-Pacific to celebrate and support their work on LGBTQI+ equality and racial equity:
OutRight Action International works to research, document, defend, and advance human rights and equality for LGBTQI+ people everywhere. In addition, OutRight’s COVID-19 Global LGBTQI+ Emergency Fund supports LGBTQI+ communities on the frontlines of the pandemic.
RainbowYOUTH works with queer, gender diverse and intersex youth in New Zealand to ensure all young people can thrive. They believe in fostering family-friendly environments that are safe, inclusive, accepting, and diverse.
Campaign Against Homophobia is a Polish organization whose mission is empowerment of marginalized groups on various levels. They work with Polish and international nonprofits along with individuals to build acceptance, end prejudice and advocate for human rights.
Colombia Diversa specializes in the recognition and defense of the rights of LGBTQI+ people in Colombia. They aim to improve the lives of LGBTQI+ people through human rights reports and advocacy campaigns.
Know Your Rights Camp, started by Colin Kaepernick, advances the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders.
We invite everyone to join us in dialogue about LGBTQI+ and racial equity and inclusion. If the more we talk, the more we understand, then let’s talk. Share your thoughts with us on social by using #MicrosoftPride.