Take PRIDE in research and innovation

June is Pride month, an annual event celebrating LGBTQ+ communities around the globe.

Pride month marks years of struggle for civil rights and the ongoing pursuit of equality for the LGBTQ+ community.

It also recognises the accomplishments and influence of the LGBTQ+ community around the world.

Why are UKRI supporting Pride?

Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of our vision. We want to show our support for Pride and the LGBTQ+ community both in our organisation and across the wider UK research and innovation sector.

We’re proud to introduce our new Pride staff network who have planned a range of online activity throughout the month to recognise and raise awareness of this important celebration.

Across June, we’ll be sharing short stories from our people on what Pride means to them and highlighting the experiences that demonstrate the need for equality.

Isobel Stephen, Executive Director – Strategy, Performance and Engagement said:

For the UK to produce the best possible research and innovation, UKRI needs to champion a creative and dynamic system that enables everyone to develop their best ideas and achieve their full potential.

That is why it is so important that we demonstrate our commitment to our LGBTQ+ communities and support Pride: I’m looking forward to the opportunity of hearing more people’s stories and learning from them.

The history of Pride, by Andrew Macdonell

Andrew Macdonell

Andrew Macdonell

Andrew Macdonell, senior manager in the European Partnerships team and the secretary of the UKRI Pride network talks about the history of Pride.

I have a knack for visiting sunny new cities right in the midst of their Pride parades but have also paid my dues under a sodden rainbow banner in my Glasgow hometown.

What is Pride?

June is Pride month, when we celebrate the rich variety of human sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

We show the world the faces of the LGBTQ+ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer, with the plus representing any other minority sexual orientation or gender identity), fight for a more equal society and mourn our losses, while celebrating our successes and honouring those who fought for them.

The importance of the Stonewall riots

The centrepieces of the Pride month calendar are the Pride marches, which take place in towns and cities across the world.

Many of us will recognise the modern Pride march as a colourful celebration, but Pride marches were first started to commemorate an important act of civil unrest.

When the Public Morals Squad of the New York City Police Department raided an LGBTQ+ bar called the Stonewall Inn on 28 June 1969, the patrons refused to go quietly.

Instead, they called for support from their neighbourhood and began three nights of resistance now known as the Stonewall Riots, led by people who were then some of the most marginalised in society – trans people, street hustlers, homeless youth, effeminate men and butch women.

The aftermath of these riots saw the creation of activist organisations and newspapers promoting gay rights and sparked the modern movement for LGBTQ+ equality.

On the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the first Pride marches took place.

How Pride has grown

Initially marching under the banner of “Gay Liberation” and “Gay Freedom”, the tradition of Pride marches grew and spread around the world, with the first UK Pride taking part in London in 1972.

Early Pride marches primarily fought against oppressive legislation and the poor treatment of the LGBTQ+ community, but as some countries have embraced equal legal rights for LGBTQ+ people, their Pride marches have taken on a more celebratory tone.

In the UK, modern Pride events are often colourful parades, featuring floats, costumes and music, where LGBTQ+ people and their allies march with representations from local businesses, government organisations and community groups.

Celebrating and still fighting

But whether dressed as a unicorn or carrying a placard, each LGBTQ+ person taking part in a Pride march is making the revolutionary statement that they are proud of their identity, in the face of a world that often teaches us to be ashamed.

We march in solidarity with other parts of the world where Pride marches are still profoundly political and participants may risk their lives in taking part.

We draw strength from our communities and learn from each other’s experiences.

We remember our history, celebrate our present and fight for the kind of future we can all take pride in.

What Pride means to me, by Kit Newens

Kit Newens, Digital Communications Apprentice at the Hartree Centre, Science and Technology Facility Council, talks about what Pride means to them.

Pride is about togetherness and community.

Video credit: UKRI
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript is available on YouTube.

Take PRIDE in research and innovation

Contributors from across UKRI spoke last year as part of our campaign about the importance of being able to bring your whole self to work.

The discussion touched on the progress of LGBTQ+ equality and representation in the research and innovation sector, and the importance of diversity in research and innovation teams.

With thanks to all our contributors: Alan Cross, Josh Newman, Izzy Jayasinghe, Kim Hackett, Tim Willis, Jack Smith and Nick Warr.

UKRI: Take Pride in research and innovation

Video credit: UKRI
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript is available on YouTube.

Last updated: 7 June 2021

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