Today (28 June) marks the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in the US in 1969 – a series of protests which marked a turning point for gay rights in the 20th Century and paved the way for Pride month which is now celebrated across the world in June. Pride month is about acceptance, equality and celebrating the work of LGBTQ+ people and raising awareness of the issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community. It is about coming together in love and friendship and about being proud of who you are no matter who you love.
I want our people here at WWT – be they staff and volunteers or supporters and visitors - to feel welcome and to feel we all belong in an incredible organisation that is WWT and to a diverse movement of people supporting each other and working together to create a world where healthy wetland nature thrives and enriches lives. Wetland nature shows how much beauty can be found in diversity. The natural world is a place where everyone should feel welcome and be welcomed. We are much better-placed to stand up for nature when we stand together and embrace and encourage diversity.
This year I wanted to mark Pride month by listening to colleagues, LGBT+ staff and allies, about what we could collectively do to support colleagues to bring their full selves to work, and how we might better celebrate Pride month and provide meaningful allyship. Staff from across the organisation joined me in a discussion and shared powerful, personal accounts of their experiences at work and beyond and offered some great suggestions of how we might foster a greater sense of belonging and celebrate difference at WWT. Ideas included making it visually clearer at our sites that we are a safe space for the LGBT+ community and having a presence at Pride events. Inspired by this month’s important conversation, I am now working with colleagues who have said “I’m in” to set up an LGBT+ staff network that can help shape things going forward and I look forward to celebrating Pride 2024 with you.
Being an organisation where we can show up at work as our full selves deeply matters to me, as does living in a society where we can be our full selves – because this give us opportunity as individuals to achieve our potential and opportunity for the organisation achieve its potential and ambitions through learning from different perspectives and experiences. As the lead for developing WWT’s organisational action plan for our work on diversity, inclusion and belonging, I am committed to working with colleagues and supporters to improve how we celebrate moments like Pride, and Black History Month and International Women’s Day and embrace diversity all year-round.