June 28, 2019
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a turning point in LGBTQIA+ – and American – history. On June 28th, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a welcoming oasis for New York City’s homosexual, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. For six days following the violent raid, thousands of members of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies clashed with police, protesting discriminatory laws. The Stonewall uprising catalyzed a new movement in the fight for civil rights, with LGBTQIA+ equality groups being established in almost every major U.S. city within the following two years.
50 years after the Stonewall uprising, the fight for LGBTQIA+ equality continues. At the time of this posting, there is no federal protection for LGBTQIA+ employees in the workplace. There is forward movement, however. In May 2019, in a vote of 236-173, the House passed The Equality Act which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, in public places, including the workplace. Despite public and partisan, the pressure bill has yet to be taken up in the Senate.
Nevertheless, many companies and CEOs are prioritizing equality internally and working to support the larger queer community. While there is a still a long, arduous fight ahead, corporate equality initiatives have grown in response to increased consumer support of inclusive brands. Internally, more businesses are offering queer-centric employee resource groups, including LGBTQIA+ issues in employee onboarding and discrimination training, participating philanthropically in Pride festivities, supporting queer-owned nonprofits and small businesses, and including gender- and orientation-diverse people in marketing campaigns. The fight for equality began with riots 50 years ago. It’s time for companies to join in the uprising.