Supporting LGBT+ communities during Pride and International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

18 May 2020

Posted in People

by Rebecca D'Cunha (see media contact)

  • AXA UK to launch a number of new initiatives during International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia and Pride Month
  • These include a panel discussion featuring Ian Johnson, CEO at Out Now, a virtual charity quiz hosted by the Pride Employee Resource Group, and the launch of AXA’s Inclusion Allies initiative
  • The LGBT+ community has been disproportionately impacted by coronavirus, which is why many of these initiatives focus on both mental and physical health

In support of Pride Month and International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDaHOT), AXA UK has launched a number of initiatives to support LGBT+ employees, their families and their allies.

Now more than ever, companies need not to just show, but actively support their LGBT+ communities, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Recent reports have shown LGBT+ people are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus, with higher instances of homelessness, domestic abuse and mental health issues.

With International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDaHOT) (17th May) and Mental Health Awareness Week (18th – 24th May) falling on the same week this year, AXA has chosen to launch a number of initiatives to support their LGBT+ employees mental and physical wellbeing during lockdown and beyond.

Since the success of last year’s IDaHOT at AXA where a number of awareness workshops were hosted across offices in the UK, AXA’s Diversity & Inclusion team have worked closely with the Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG) to create a number of assets promoting homosexual, bisexual and transgender people at work. These assets also include information for those who don’t identify as LGBT+ but want to understand more about their colleagues and the challenges they may have faced.

This includes the launch of a new Diversity & Inclusion learning playlist, a podcast on 'Bringing your Whole Self to Work' and a virtual panel discussion on ‘Breaking the Silence’ on the 18th May featuring Ian Johnson, CEO at Out Now, James Taylor, Inclusion Manager at AXA UK, and Kirsty Leivers, Group Head of Culture, Engagement, Inclusion & Diversity at AXA Group.

Later, during Pride Month, alongside changing the AXA logo to the traditional rainbow theme and taking part in a virtual Stride for Pride, AXA will profile LGBT+ employees so they can share their stories of strength and support. CEO of AXA PPP healthcare and the new Executive Sponsor for Diversity & Inclusion, Tracy Garrad, will also publish a blog to commemorate Pride Month.

There will also be a virtual quiz hosted by the Pride ERG, which will be open to all employees. The aim of the quiz is to continue to bring together people in a creative way that also educates participants on LGBT+ culture during this time. The prize money will be split between three LGBT+ charities.

From an external perspective, AXA will be publicising their efforts from the past year to promote LGBT+ inclusion and to achieve their goal of becoming a Stonewall Top 100 employer by 2021. This will feature on Inside AXA as well as social media channels, where AXA Group’s wider IDaHOT campaign will also be displayed.

Finally, AXA has chosen Pride Month to launch its own Inclusion Allies initiative, which aims to provide an insight into the experiences of its diverse people and customers, and to educate people on the importance of allies and the practical ways in which they can become one. This coincides with the relaunch of the global employee resource group Allies@AXA Pride, which will provide a voice to LGBT+ people and their allies across the AXA Group and will be chaired by AXA UK’s Inclusion Manager James Taylor.

“Here at AXA UK, we’ve made great progress in creating an environment in which everyone can reach their true potential. However, we realise there is still more to do and I’m incredibly proud that despite the current impact of Covid-19 and the absence of Pride marches, we are continuing to celebrate IDaHOT and Pride Month with our LGBT+ colleagues and their allies.”

— Zoe Ashdown, Head of People Engagement, Culture & Strategy, AXA UK

To see of all AXA’s activity during IDaHOT and Pride Month, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram