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Celebrating Pride month 2022 at Duffel

Profile image of post author Shaun Donnelly
Shaun Donnelly · June 2022

June is celebrated around the world as LGBTQ+ Pride month to commemorate the Stonewall Riots – a pivotal moment of resistance that took place in New York City in June 1969.

We wanted to celebrate, learn from less visible members of the LGBTQ+ community, and support a great cause. As a UK-based company, we were excited to recognise 50 years since the first Pride march in the UK!

We also wanted to avoid ‘rainbow washing’ where companies use rainbow branding to seem progressive without actually creating an inclusive culture or supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Our internal employee company social group worked with our LGBTQ+ employee group to plan our Pride activities.

Recognising Pride at Duffel

We started the month by sharing three actions allies can take to support the LGBTQ+ community.

We produced enamel pins for team members to wear in and out of the office. We also handed these out when we sponsored ElixirConf in London. Sharing our pronouns is an easy way for us to help make Duffel more inclusive. It means we can show respect for colleagues by using the right pronouns and reminds us that we shouldn’t assume someone’s pronouns based on how they look. Many of us also share pronouns on our internal employee directory, HiBob, and on Slack and Zoom.

Pronoun pins on the table and on a t-shirt with assorted pronouns
Duffel pronoun pins

To make our support for Pride more visible, we shared sticker packs and postcards with colleagues. In the office, we have a rotating gallery of Pride images on the tv screens in all the meeting rooms year-round – we updated these with fantastic new designs from our Brand team.

In recent years, companies updating logos to the Pride rainbow colours has become a contentious topic. We see this as a simple way to publicly showcase our values alongside other activities to build an inclusive team culture and support the community.

Four Pride-themed illustrations with rainbow colours and 'Happy Pride' text
'Happy Pride' desktop backgrounds

Celebrating Pride

We hosted a few events in the month to fundraise for Stonewall, the UK’s leading charity working towards LGBTQ+ equality in schools, colleges, workplaces, and society. We raised over £1,000 with Duffel matching employee donations.

In the first week of the month, we held a 5-a-side football tournament. I’ll admit that I had some trepidation when the idea was proposed. I’m a huge football fan, but football fan culture can be quite regressive in attitudes to LGBTQ+ people so I’ve learned to compartmentalise my identity from my love of the sport.

However, a sizeable portion of Duffel’s workforce got involved in the games, wanting to support Pride and Stonewall. As an LGBTQ+ person, this was incredibly affirming and really spoke to the inclusive culture we’ve built here.

Five people playing football
Duffel team members playing in the fundraising football match

Next, we held a brunch with EK Bakery’s Pride-themed baked goods. EK Bakery donated £1 to AKT for each person at Duffel. AKT is a great charity that provides resources and support for young people in the UK facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment.

We invited Chloe Filani to give a talk to the team. Chloe is an artist of poetry and performance, advocate for Black feminism, public speaker, and workshop facilitator. We really enjoyed Chloe’s session and finding out more about her work, her experiences as a Black trans woman in the art world, and how representation is part of activism and creating change within arts and broader society.

We ended the month with a Pride-themed movie night. We voted on what to watch and landed on Luca, the Disney Pixar animated film about friendship and acceptance.

Assorted food and drink laid out on a table with a rainbow ribbon in the foreground.
Pride-themed brunch supporting AKT charity

Now that Pride month has come to a close, we’re looking forward to working with our People team to make sure we’re building a team culture and offering benefits that support LGBTQ+ team members. And we’re looking forward to working with our employee social group to organise more internal events to celebrate Pride for the rest of the year.

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