Lives, livelihoods and progress

台湾妹娱乐中文网,台湾佬娱乐网 25th June 2020

Author: Kathryn Pierce

Kathryn Pierce

Kathryn Pierce is Founder of , a new LGBTQ+ social enterprise, co-authoring LGBTQI+ Entrepreneurs: It’s Everybody’s Business about the unique experiences of rainbow businesses and business owners in the UK (including the effect of COVID-19), due to be published by Emerald in Spring 2022. She is also Co-Editor of , a forthcoming LGBTQ+ magazine for Scotland and the Scottish queer diaspora.

Pride Month and our Black, Latinx and Asian family

Like much of the COVID-19-affected world, this year’s Pride Month is like no other before it. The ongoing devastation of the coronavirus to lives and livelihoods has revealed the global systemic inequalities in the starkest of ways; and by bearing witness to the brutal murder of George Floyd, the uprising of the civil rights movement has shocked our world into reckoning through a huge roar of truth to power.

As many , 2020 rings especially loud with echoes of the Stonewall uprising of 1969 in New York, where the actions of black and latinx trans people including forged the Gay Liberation Movement into what we know now as the Pride movement. How they did this was through the courage to defy the system and to celebrate their difference, putting it front and centre in the world’s consciousness.

Discrimination and privilege

In pre-COVID times, the minority stress associated with being a member of a minority community, such as an LGBTQ+ person or a person of colour, and/or a person from an intersectional community,  was already considerable; though arguably throughout the last decade there has been a genuine will to dismantle some of society’s systemic barriers and unconscious biases, .

The fear now is that COVID-19 not only , but it also poses a deep and long-lasting threat to LGBTQ+ social wellbeing and to the progress we’ve made. This is because, as organisations shrink and strip down to their component heteronormative parts, there is a risk of cocooning in privilege, shedding a progressive outlook and focusing on simple survival. Through the filter of COVID-19, will diversity and inclusion move off the agenda temporarily or at least for the medium term? Will EDI revert back to the bad old days, viewed as a desirable extra, an add-on, a non-essential? If so, that decision, inherently from a place of privilege and power, has potentially devastating consequences for minority communities, enterprises and their economic survival.

Enterprise

The added risk of doing it alone

台湾妹娱乐中文网,台湾佬娱乐网As the OECD announced this week that the amongst wealthier nations, it’s worth noting that the field of minority entrepreneurship is already very tough in less testing times. Routes to investment and access to innovation is an obvious example – where   - remembering that all women are still considered ‘a minority’ despite being 51% of the population. Consider this - who is going to “risk” supporting a non-mainstream organisation in a time of unprecedented global economic shock? This perception of risk may well be magnified throughout the slow climb to recovery, putting minority entrepreneurship into a place of genuine precarity. If the US LGBTQ+ population is anything to go by, suggest that – food, hospitals, schools, colleges and retail – so it’s clear that the layers of disadvantage multiply further.

Visibility is still a massive issue. There is very little of it in the UK LGBTQ+ enterprise community and is to create new ways to encourage more and to focus on enterprise as self-determination, and a vehicle for an authentic life. The likelihood of this may diminish post-COVID, and I sincerely hope that rainbow-owned businesses don’t feel forced into “playing it safe” and remaining closeted until the storm finally passes. I believe the fear of that risk will prolong the storm and keep our corporate closet alive, and, worse still, thriving.

The role of agile business and community support

台湾妹娱乐中文网,台湾佬娱乐网But all is not lost. Living as an LGBTQ+ person usually means needing to adapt and think on your feet, sometimes purely to survive – and that applies to our businesses too, especially in our much-loved visible LGBTQ+ spaces in our cities and urban areas. Our response here at Somewhere is to create a place for us – through lasting and systemic change, made possible through . Our agile, disruptive and research-led organisation has a built-in mechanism for the community to self-sustain outside the existing exclusionary paradigm – through the creation of in support of projects and .

So, while COVID-19 may have temporarily shut the doors to our favourite places and community-focused businesses, this year’s Pride Month is making sure it hasn’t shut people’s eyes to the need to continue to push for greater visibility and equality. and we slowly begin to emerge from COVID-19 lockdown, our new world will emerge. It will up to us to claim our space and our voice with pride, even more loudly than before.

@LGBTFierce
@SomewhereEDI (Twitter)
@somewhere_edi (Insta)

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