It’s Pride Month – a joyful time that would have normally seen the LGBTQ+ community come together in euphoric, rainbow-filled celebrations.
The streets should have been alive with music and spirited dancing, with the joy of people from all backgrounds, races, sexual orientation and nationalities spreading "the love".
However, this year’s Pride celebrations were markedly different for several reasons. The usual jubilant gatherings clearly weren’t possible, but if you think the LGBTQ+ community put the celebrations on hold, then you’ve got another thing coming.
Despite being physically apart, the community has found innovative and just as vibrant ways to come together to celebrate our true selves.
I loved seeing the team at Pink News host a virtual Pride party where people could create their own avatar, explore drag tutorials, attend panel discussions and even get involved in an animated parade created by digital artist Adam Hoyle.
Meanwhile, at Celebrity Cruises, we are marking Pride by looking back at highlights from our iconic Pride at Sea parties and providing educational LGTBQ+ training on Celebrity Central for our incredible agent partners.
However, it’s important to remember that alongside these digital celebrations, Pride Month provides an opportunity for reflection. It’s a time where we should look inwards and ask ourselves the tough questions on our support of all marginalised groups.
Ask yourself if you could be more active in your allyship? What do you need to do to be more informed? Are you contributing to real and tangible change?
These tough questions are even more important in light of the devastating events and global protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement this month. Now more than ever, we need to interrogate our own – often unconscious – bias, and actively campaign for equal opportunities for all – especially on the topic of race.
At Royal Caribbean Group, we will be asking these questions of ourselves, and will be using this time to make sure the actions we take are not gratuitous and are truly long term plans for change. I would urge all other leaders to do the same.
For me, Pride Month is a time to think about my own journey. Those who know me well, know that cultivating a workplace culture that encourages all employees to bring their true selves to work is a personal mission.
I was over 30 years old when I came out, and I waited so long out of concern that I would hinder my career trajectory. I honestly never thought I would be "out" as a woman in a high-profile role.
Thankfully, the encouragement of a great boss and brilliant colleagues got me over that personal hurdle and I’ve never looked back. But that is why I am so dogged in my determination for inclusiveness and to offering motivating opportunities to all employees equally.
At Celebrity Cruises, this inclusiveness is woven into the very fabric of the company. It’s central to the culture we are looking to create, not only in our offices, but also onboard our ships, which are home to over 60 nationalities.
And we’re proud of the fact that travel partners are able to use it to demonstrate to customers that they can book their holidays with brands, such as ours, whose values align with their own.
I hope you have all enjoyed this Pride month and the joy it brings - even if from a distance this year - but also used it as a time of reflection.
We simply can’t wait to be back together with you all, but for now, here’s to being our true selves and to never resting in our pursuit to become better allies.