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Pride Month at Marsh Commercial

June, across the world, is known as ‘Pride Month’. But what is Pride? How did it start, and what does it mean? Our Pride Colleague Resource Group explains all…

History of Pride

In the early hours of June 28th 1969, LGBTQ+ bar the Stonewall Inn was busy with drinking, dancing, and laughter. In the 1960s, police raids on ‘gay bars’ were as common as they were unpleasant. Police would arrive and be intimidating – sometimes violent – and make many arrests for trivial “offenses”, such as drag queens wearing more than one item of ladies clothing. Thanks to bribes, LGBTQ+ friendly bars would often receive tip offs that a raid was going to occur. They also normally had warning processes – such as turning lights on and off to notify dancing patrons to quickly find an opposite-sex partner for safety.

On June 28th, at 1:20am, the Stonewall Inn had no such warning. Undercover police entered the premises and called for backup, whilst police officers outside blocked the doors and windows. When the lights came up and the patrons realised they were being raided, there was nowhere to run. Instead, they chose to fight.

By the time the first round of police backup arrived, the crowd outside had multiplied by hundreds. They were angry, sick of being pushed around because of who they loved, and as tensions rose between the crowd and police, things became violent. Patrons who were being pulled from the bar fought against their arresting officers as the crowd chanted ‘gay power’. Somebody set the bar on fire. People began throwing rocks and debris at police. A woman resisting arrest, Stormé DeLarverie, screamed for the crowd to ‘do something’ while she was attacked by an police officer with a baton.

They did, and the ensuing riots lasted for 6 days.

The Stonewall Riots marked a major shift in the attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people in America, and across the world. To this day, they are considered an iconic moment of rebellion, resistance, and an inspiring refusal to back down. In 1970, to commemorate the first anniversary of the riots, the first ‘Pride march’ was held in New York. To this day, during the month of June, LGBTQ+ folx and allies continue to march to honour those to started a revolution, and made history.

Pride at Marsh Commercial

For Marsh Commercial, our aim is to create an inclusive and diverse workplace, where being your true self is in no way a barrier to smashing your career or personal goals. We strive to be a visible ally on all equality issues, and make sure that our colleagues, insurers, clients and prospects know they are working with a business that supports the diverse communities in which we live and work.

We are proud to have an internal Colleague Resource Group – Pride@Marsh – for our LGBTQ+ colleagues. The group provides a support network to colleagues, works with the business to help us foster an inclusive culture, and produces numerous LGBTQ+ events and activities throughout the year – such as seminars and film nights. With their support and direction, we have entered the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, become a more inclusive employer, and created a culture where all LGBTQ+ colleagues can feel safe to express who they are.

Sam Nelson, one of the founders of Pride@Marsh, explains how the group started:

“The UK chapter of Pride@Marsh began with two of us meeting for coffee in late 2015 … and it didn’t get far. We had big dreams, abundant blessings from the MMC Diversity and Inclusion team, and lots of contacts. Our invitation to the inaugural meeting of our new CRG produced exactly one more person. On the bright side, a 50% increase.

“’Keep at it’, said a pal in HR. So we networked. We learned. We went to events and workshops and the big CRG leadership meeting in New York. ‘Keep at it’, everybody said. By this time we had more knowledge, more contacts, and more ambition: We wanted our not-yet Marsh chapter to be a UK leader. Our first event was an allies drive aligned with International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Taking no chances, we offered bribes this time: Sign up as an ally and get flags, guidebooks, and rainbow cupcakes. More than 450 colleagues signed up. Our lonely little community was suddenly a very big one. We were on our way.”

Pride@Marsh co-chair, David Mayl, gave us an update: “For Pride Month this year the virtual events we have already run have had over 60 colleagues participating, and the global event is attracting hundreds”. This year David and the Pride team have arranged several virtual events for our colleagues, including seminars on gender identity, the different experiences of LGBTQ+ folx in the business, and about the future of the LGBTQ+ community.

Although Pride this year is certainly a different affair – with colourful parades and dancing replaced by Zoom meetings – it is still an important and vital time for many. Pride helps us accept ourselves and others for who we are, for what we stand for, and to stand up for what is right.

We are proud to support Pride, and our LGBTQ+ colleagues.

Different identities. Different experiences. All Pride.