Pride is Norton Rose Fulbright’s global Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) and Allies network that is active in Norton Rose Fulbright offices globally. The network aims to:
• create a more inclusive and accepting environment for LGBT individuals
• engage with allies of the LGBT community
• encourage the recruitment, retention and professional development of LGBT talent
• provide help to management on the development and implementation of LGBT-inclusive policies
• provide opportunities to participate in volunteering and pro bono initiatives which support the LGBT community
The event was attended by 51 members of LGBT networks representing 20 of South Africa’s largest and most forward-thinking corporations.
Dylan van Vuuren, a member of GABLE (P&G’s LGBT network) spoke at the event and his words resonated with all those in attendance. GABLE’s purpose is to create a safe and equitable workplace for all employees regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, or other differences, by networking, educating, influencing, advocating, mentoring and celebrating.
Van Vuuren put into perspective how the visions and purposes of the various networks could be made effective by sharing with the audience some Do’s and Don’ts that came out from the lessons learnt in P&G and GABLE:
• DO get support from leadership and get them to become allies and advocates for inclusive behaviour.
• DO engage with the majority of employees, as allies. They are the catalysts of change and role models for others.
• DO focus on education, and open discussions.
• DO it with planned continuity. Changing mindset does not work as a one off effort. So have regular events.
• DON’T rush. Take one step at a time to change attitudes
According to Pride’s chair at Norton Rose Fulbright, Ross Forgan (pictures above), “LGBT networks are critical to ensure workplace equality and to provide vital peer support for LGBT staff who may feel marginalised.
“It is our hope that this event is an important step in bringing visibility to an increasingly important issue and in providing a space where proponents of diversity can exchange ideas and propose solutions that will have a lasting impact on everyone,” he said.
Norton Rose Fulbright intends on hosting this event as an annual initiative in its LGBT calendar, and expects to see more of South Africa’s corporates participating to drive diversity and inclusion.