Living Proud at Personio: The History of Pride and Why It Matters

June is Pride month, where cities and countries around the world celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. One particularly significant day in June is the 28th, the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Why is this day, and this month, important? Why is Pride always in June, and why does it matter to members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies alike?

The Stonewall Riots

The Stonewall Riots began in Greenwich Village, a New York neighborhood known for being gay-friendly in the decidedly not-gay-friendly 1960s. On the morning of June 28th, 1969, police conducted a raid on the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay club. After finding evidence of illegal activity – among other things, public expression of “gay behavior” was against the law – police forcefully questioned and arrested mutiple patrons and employees. This activity turned increasingly rough, eventually raising the ire of the crowd outside. A full-blown riot erupted, involving hundreds of people – and then thousands – over the course of five days.

One year later, on the anniversary of the riots, thousands of people marched in America’s first gay pride parade. To this day, the Stonewall Riots are commonly considered the catalyst for the gay rights movement and are why we celebrate Pride in the month of June.

However, it would be a mistake to overlook the people and organizations who came before. The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, for example, was founded in 1897 with the goal of repealing oppressive anti-gay laws in Europe. This was followed by the creation of LGBTQ+ organizations around the world, which laid the groundwork for the spark of the Stonewall Riots – and the success of the loud, organized calls for equality that continued long afterward.

Why Do We Celebrate Pride?

When we updated our avatar to a Pride version of our logo at the beginning of this month, more than one person on social media asked why that was necessary. After all, LGBTQ+ rights don’t have anything to do with HR software, so why do we have to drag politics into it? The fact that people are asking this question highlights the importance of continued visibility of Pride. We celebrate to remember where we’ve come from, but also as a reminder that we still have a long way to go.

There are many places where it isn’t safe to be anything but straight, including the 69 countries that still have laws criminalizing homosexuality. And even in countries where it is legal, stigma and discrimination are still very much present. Parents still disown their children; hate crimes still happen; homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia still exist. But Pride is an opportunity for the community to come together, to support and love each other, and to protest on behalf of those who don’t have the freedom and safety to do so.

LGBTQ+ rights is not a political issue, it’s a people issue. And at Personio, as an employer and member of our community, we will continue to treat it as such. Every employee here is valued, and we will continue to create an inviting and inclusive culture for each of them – including our LGBTQ+ coworkers.

Pride at Personio

Each week during our all-company meeting, one person shares an anecdote of how they’ve seen our values and operating principles come to life at Personio. Last week’s featured employee was Miha, Customer Solutions Manager in the Munich office. Miha, who has been with Personio for nearly two years, chose to highlight our core value of #SocialResponsibility. Here is his story, in his own words:

“I think most people think of the environment or social welfare when they hear ‘social responsibility,’ but it also includes what we do as a company on a daily basis to support members of our LGBTQ+ community through the work of our amazing Diversity Committee.

I personally am proud to call myself gay. Not because I want everyone to know my sexuality, but because I want to celebrate love. In my eyes, Pride is about exactly that: celebrating love. And I also want to celebrate Personio. I want to celebrate a company that, in a way, allowed me to fully embrace my identity in the workplace.

I first got to know Personio when my friend Katja told me she got a job there. Soon after that she invited me to join the Munich Pride parade with her and her coworkers. This was way back in 2018, a full year before I joined the Personio team.

It was also my very first Pride parade, and it felt so damn good! It felt good knowing that this is where I belong, and it felt good because I was surrounded by amazing people, who back then I didn’t even know, and couldn’t even dream of the possibility of becoming colleagues with.

But here I am, in June 2021, almost three years after my first Pride parade. And after getting to know Personio, in a way, I can say that that Pride parade helped me in two ways: It helped me establish a real sense of pride in being a part of the LGBTQ+ community; and it also helped me to find my perfect employer, the employer that now I can really be proud of.”

We know that there’s always more we can do to support our LGBTQ+ coworkers, customers, and community. That’s why we’re doing our best to raise up their voices and continue holding the important conversations. One way we do this is through our Personio Community, where customers can discuss topics ranging from celebrating Pride to their favorite Personio integration. If you’d like to join the conversation, sign up today!

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