At Pride, we are Remembering the Past and Creating the Future
Pride has always been important to Lightspeed.
It’s a way for us to live our mission of supporting all communities and reiterating that we stand with the LGBTQ2+ community. Once again, we’ll be celebrating diversity and inclusion by walking with pride in both Pride Amsterdam’s canal parade and Fierté Montreal’s pride parade.
2019’s pride celebration marks an important anniversary for the LGBTQ2+ community: it has been 50 years since the Stonewall riots—a pivotal moment for the gay liberation movement and the turning point in the modern fight for LGBTQ2+ rights around the world.
As we march this year, Lightspeed will be honoring both those who took a stand at Stonewall and the tenacity of the human spirit displayed by the LGBTQ2+ community in the fight for today’s modern legal and social protections.
Remember the past
What are the Stonewall riots and why are they important?
The Greenwich village-based Stonewall Inn was the hub, a protective barrier from the outside world, for New York City’s gay community in the 1960s. The Stonewall Inn was considered a safe place for the community, but in a time where the simple presence of gay people was considered disorderly, the Stonewall Inn was often raided by the police and its patrons were arrested for simply being.
In the early morning of June 28, 1969, the patrons of Stonewall Inn (comprised of homeless LGBTQ2+ teens, trans women of color, lesbians, drag queens, gay men, and allies) decided to take a stand.
This time, when Stonewall Inn was raided and LGBTQ2+ patrons were arrested on questionable charges, they fought back. This started a 6-day riot in the streets of New York City that resulted in an increased cultural awareness of the discrimination and challenges that the LGBTQ2+ community routinely faced.
So, why is this important?
The cultural awareness brought on by the Stonewall riots sparked a shift in the fight for LGBTQ2+ rights. In the 50 years since the riots, we’ve seen:
- Same-sex marriage legalized in 28 countries
- Homosexuality decriminalized in 125 countries
- The introduction of the Equality Act
- Far greater LGBTQ2+ media representation
In reality, the accomplishments made in the LGBTQ2+ community following the spark of the Stonewall riots are the reason that Lightspeed’s CEO and Founder Dax Dasilva can be respected as an openly gay leader of a public tech company. It’s also the reason that I, as an openly gay man, can freely wear one of my dresses and a pair of heels to work.
Create the future
Pride is an opportunity for us to celebrate the progress that has been made in the fight for LGBTQ2+ rights, but there’s still plenty of work to do in the fight for LGBTQ2+ rights. How do we continue to push forward and foster inclusive communities globally?
This is why we walk—to ensure that every community gets the same attention, the same respect, and the same opportunities.
We walk for our customers who face the dilemma of being transparent about their identity when raising funds to start their business and risking rejection because of who they are. We walk for their right to open their business in any neighborhood, not just the Village.
We walk for our employees to feel accepted being themselves every day, whether they’re wearing a pokemon dress, rocking pink hair, or strutting down the halls as a 7-foot tall drag queen.
We walk for business and the promotion of equality in industries that have historically ignored it. We walk for Dax Dasilva, because, as an openly gay CEO, he is not an outlier, but a reminder that anyone can be successful, regardless of identity.
We walk for communities around the world who continue to fight relentlessly for their rights. We walk to demand their voices be heard and that they are given equal opportunity.
In order to create a better future for everyone, we need to remember the past. Together, the LGBTQ2+ community and its allies will walk for social justice, for equal opportunity, and for the freedom to be who you are, wherever you are.
I, for one, am proud to be a part of it.