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How we celebrated Pride Month 2021

How we celebrated Pride Month 2021

08 July 2021

Countries all around the world marked LGBTQ+ Pride month over the course of June and at OUP, we put together a month-long schedule of inspiring events and insightful activities to celebrate the authenticity of our colleagues in the LGBTQ+ community, provide education in LGBTQ+ history, and raise awareness of the issues still facing the community today.

As part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we organized a series of events, educational resources, blog posts, articles, and more, highlighting different aspects of life within the LGBTQ+ community. From employee experience to representation in our content, our LGBTQ+ Employee Network worked alongside colleagues from different areas of OUP to create opportunities for all colleagues to get involved.

We kicked off the month with a video that shared personal reflections from LGBTQ+ colleagues about what it is like being ‘out’ at OUP and bringing their whole selves to work. Colleagues then took to LinkedIn to share their own experiences in a series of reflective blogs:

The release of The Pirate Mums by Jodie Lancet-Grant paved the way for conversations around the importance of inclusivity and representation of LGBTQ+ families in children’s books. Director of Assessment, Sarah Rogerson, interviewed Jodie for a special internal author event, where they discussed how the lack of diversity in families portrayed in children’s literature was what prompted Jodie to write the book. ‘The Pirate Mums’ was then featured in a very special Drag Queen Story Time event with Shelita Bonet Hoyle—open to all OUP staff and their children—which demonstrated how being different is not a bad thing and, instead, provided imaginative role models for children to look up to.

Meanwhile, in the Academic division, a selection of publications focused on LGBTQ+ issues was curated and made freely available throughout the month of June as a resource for those wanting to learn more.

It is important to note that Pride month wasn’t just for those who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. It is the ongoing responsibility of everyone in the organization to educate themselves on the experiences of our colleagues. Therefore, one of the key themes we focused on this year was the importance of allyship and we enabled our people to join workshops hosted by our LGBTQ+ diversity partner Stonewall, to explore this in more depth. We wanted to encourage people to learn more about what it means to be an ally and identify steps that can be taken to be more active and visible. By developing an understanding of the different identities and experiences that exist at OUP, we can all join together to advocate for a more inclusive workplace.

John Clegg, Internal Communications Executive and co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Employee Network said: “Pride month was a fantastic opportunity to raise the visibility of issues facing LGBTQ+ employees across the organisation. It presented a chance to engage in meaningful dialogue with our colleagues and provided teaching and learning opportunities. But Pride month didn't end with June. Pride continues, the dialogue continues, the learning continues, and by collaborating together we can create a more inclusive environment, where everyone feels safe and comfortable to bring their whole self to work.”