A new future beckons with the presence of the coronavirus, given the lockdown restrictions in place, many LGBT pride events have been cancelled across the world. Annually, the month of June is celebrated by LGBT people as Global Pride Month and as the pandemic keeps people apart, a virtual challenge – the #21DaysAllyChallenge – is an initiative by Pride Circle organized as a “global programme to take conscious steps to recognise and neutralise biases and stereotypes about the LGBT+ community and enable social change”.
The challenge aims to bring together individuals and influencers from over 28 countries and 70 organisations to build a global community of LGBT+ allies. Kicking off on June 1, it will see a series of 21 mini-challenges spread over a period of 21 days in the month of June. As per Pride Circle’s statement, “this is based on science that it takes 21 days to form a new habit”. Anyone can sign-up and participate free-of-cost by clicking on the link https://thepridecircle.com/21daysallychallenge/
Some of the challenges as part of the initiative include building consciousness about the existence and journey of an LGBT+ person, for example – Read or watch or know the coming out story of an LGBT+ person, laws associated with LGBT+ people; visible allyship – Test your bias-ness – Have you ever discriminated or made fun of an LGBT+?; Wear something which shows allyship or just a shout out that you are an ally; Build your knowledge about the community – Know about the art and literature by LGBT+ people and go all out and talk about the stigma and discrimination against LGBT+ persons.
Commenting on the initiative, Ramkrishna Sinha, co-founder, Pride Circle, said, “In our country where homosexuality legalisation is yet to complete two years, this India-born initiative is our leap of faith to create a large-scale, global movement to advocate for equal rights and fair treatment for the LGBT+. We believe that allies are some of the most effective and powerful voices for this movement. The contribution of allies in terms of helping create a space of comfort, help bridge the gap in understanding of others with respect to the importance of equality, fairness, acceptance and mutual respect, can be vast. The #21DaysAllyChallenge is an affirmative action in the direction of building an inclusive and just society with the support from the allies.”
The movement, led through India, is joined by individuals, influencers from 28 nations and 70 organisations, along with respected academic institutions such as IIMs, IITs, NMIMS, MICA and Tagore International School. “This is a huge achievement in the direction of creating safer schools, workplaces and society for the next generation,” read the statement.
Supporting organisations also pointed out how such an initiative is the need of the hour. “Allies play a critical role in the broader fight to advance LGBTQ equality and inclusion in key areas of life, including the workplace,” said Milagros Chirinos, associate director, HRC’s Global Workplace Equality Program, USA.
Pete Mercer, head of global programmes, Stonewall (UK) said, “This initiative is a great opportunity for people in India and across the world to come together in support of equality for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. Visible allies to the LGBT community make a huge difference, whether that’s championing LGBT rights in your work, or supporting LGBT family members or friends. Now, more than ever, we encourage everyone who believes in LGBT equality to Come Out For Equality and find out more about how they can be an ally.”
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. In the United States the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as “Gay Pride Day,” but the actual day was flexible. In major cities across the nation the “day” soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.