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Microsoft celebrates Pride, takes action for equity and visibility

 |   Chris Capossela – Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer


Fifty years ago, on June 28, LGBTQI+ patrons and allies at New York City’s Stonewall Inn stood up for justice demanding an equal life free of persecution. This year, as more than 4,000 Microsoft employees march in Pride parades in more than 60 cities and 30 countries around the world, we invite you to join us in pushing inclusion forward.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, we’re taking action for equity by donating to LGBTQI+ nonprofits. Plus, we’re releasing limited-edition products designed with and by the LGBTQI+ community.


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Microsoft has a history of LGBTQI+ inclusion

For us, Pride is an opportunity to reflect on our past and galvanize for action. We started our inclusion journey early in the company’s history, introducing sexual orientation in our non-discrimination policies in 1989. In 1993, we were one of the first companies in the world to offer employee benefits to same-sex domestic partners. In 2004, we added gender identity to our Equal Employment Opportunity statement and started providing gender affirming healthcare services. Since 2005, Microsoft has attained a top  score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, which indicates that Microsoft is establishing and applying policies to protect the LGBTQI+ community.

Our journey is just beginning

Today, Microsoft operates in over 120 countries, most of which still don’t provide legal protections for LGBTQI+ individuals. This year, Microsoft’s Pride campaign is all about the actions that our employees and customers are taking to advance inclusion. GLEAM (Global LGBTQI+ Employees and Allies at Microsoft), our LGBTQI+ resource group, worked with many of our teams to develop products to create visibility into the LGBTQI+ community.

In designing this year’s Pride campaign, LGBTQI+ designers and allies at Microsoft reflected on the LGBTQI+ rights movement of the 1970s. Dozens of LGBTQI+ community members and their allies submitted designs for campaign buttons displaying everything from personal statements to political slogans. These buttons reflect actions that people at Microsoft are taking and are encouraging others to take.

Microsoft is releasing all the button designs as a downloadable archive so everyone can use them, add to them and share their Pride with everyone, wherever they are.

Several Pride-related buttons

For the first time, we’ve also created limited-edition products and curated content to show our continued support for the LGBTQI+ community.

  • Surface – Inspired by the rich and varied tapestry of the LGBTQI+ community, make a more colorful impact with the limited-edition Surface Pro Pride Type Cover and Pride Skin available in the US, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. (only Type Cover).

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  • Windows PrideWindows – This Windows 10 special-edition theme was inspired by the many LGBTQI+ flags. Download the Windows Pride theme pack from the Microsoft Store.
  • Mixer – Discover Pride on Mixer with dedicated streams from select partners, unique stickers, and exclusive programs. Tune in on June 30th to live stream the Seattle Pride Parade!
  • Bing – Learn more about Stonewall on Bing with uniquely curated content featuring LGBTQI+ Bing Prideactivismdating back to 1969 with this quiz. And see Pride take over the Bing homepage in select countries around the world.
  • Office – Show your Pride colors with the exclusive Office theme and unique Pride templates for PowerPoint.
  • Skype – Celebrate Pride with Skype’s new LGBTQI+ flag emoticons, stickers, and more.
  • Xbox – Show your colors and celebrate your love of gaming with the Xbox Pride Sphere Pin available at Pride
  • Microsoft Rewards – Support LGBTQI+ youth in crisis by donating to The Trevor Project in June, and we’ll match it. Not a Microsoft Rewards member? Join today and we’ll give you $1 free to donate.
  • Microsoft Store – Visit your local Microsoft Store to take part in a Pride celebration, march with us, or learn more at educational workshops, events, and other activities.

Actions speak louder than words!

We’re donating $100,000 to the following nonprofits in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States to celebrate and support their work on LGBTQI+ equity:

  • Established in 1985, ACON is Australia’s largest health promotion organization specializing in HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTQ health.
  • Egale works to improve the lives of LGBTQI2S people in Canada and to enhance the global response to LGBTQI2S issues. They do this by informing public policy, inspiring cultural change, and promoting human rights and inclusion.
  • Mermaids is the only U.K.-wide charity working to support transgender or gender non-conforming children, young people, and their families. Their goal is to create a world where gender-diverse children and young people can be themselves and thrive. Mermaids promotes education and awareness, and offers information, support, friendship and shared experiences to those in need.
  •  The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning young people under 25.

We’re also happy to announce that LGBTQI+ nonprofit, Destination Tomorrow, was awarded a grant from the Microsoft Store to support their inclusion efforts for people of color. See what happened when we took action to help them thrive.

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We invite everyone to join us in taking action for equality. Microsoft Pride 2019 products launch today! Follow along with our stories all month and learn more about actions you can take for equality by joining the social conversation using #MicrosoftPride.

Australia’s Top 20 Employers For LGBTI Inclusion Announced

Westpac Group has been named Australia’s 2016 Employer of the Year for LGBTI inclusion for the first time at a special event held in Sydney by ACON’s Pride in Diversity (PID) program, a national not-for-profit employer program for the inclusion of LGBTI people in the workplace.

Employer of the Year heads an annual list of Top 20 employers for LGBTI inclusion determined by assessment against PID’s Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), a benchmarking instrument that evaluates LGBTI inclusivity against a comprehensive set of measures in addition to a body of supporting evidence submitted by the employer as part of the evaluation process.

Along with some truly significant achievements in 2016 by a range of organisations ranging from banking and finance, renewables, telcos and IT, the Australian Federal Police receives the honour of being the highest performing public sector organisation.

Uniting is the highest ranking not-for-profit/charity and the NSW Police, in only their first year in the index, has achieved an 11th placed-ranking as well as receiving an award for transgender inclusion.

Presenting at the Awards Ceremony held on May 20, Patron of Pride in Diversity the Hon Michael Kirby AC said: “Once again we come together to acknowledge the progress being made in Australia in inclusion and non-discrimination in work, sport and life,”

“At occasions like this, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that ignorant and unscientific prejudice against LGBTI citizens has been overcome in our country…Unfortunately, this is not so,”

“Full equality has not been achieved in 2016. In fact there have been some notable reverses in the past year which we need to look squarely in the eyes; a clear sign that the struggle for dignity in Australia is far from over.”

Other awards at the luncheon included: LGBTI Employee Network of the Year (Commonwealth Bank’s UNITY); Innovation Award (Accenture); Highest Ranking University (The University of Western Australia); Achievement Award for Most Improved (Clayton Utz), Highest Ranking Small Employer (Key Assets – The Children’s Services Provider), Small Employer Award (Domestic Violence Service Management NSW).

Individuals acknowledged for their significant contribution to LGBTI workplace inclusion include Greg Ward, CEO Macquarie Bank (CEO of the Year); Supt Tony Crandell, NSW Police Force (Executive Leadership Award); Steve Rieniets, AGL (Regional Inclusion Champion); Brad Cooper, CEO BT Financial Group (Inclusion Champion); Melissa Tandy, ANZ (Sally Webster Ally Award); Suzi Russell-Gilford, PwC (Sapphire Award) and Rhiannon Kop, Aurizon (Out Role Model).

A Platinum Tier status has been established for the first time this year, acknowledging organisations that have either retained a top 5 position at least 4 times within the last 5 years, or achieved employer of the year twice within the last 5 years. PwC and Goldman Sachs are the first organisations to qualify for the new Platinum Tier.

Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs (which incorporates PID and the newly launched Pride in Sport) Dawn Hough said: “The AWEI has seen remarkable growth over the first six years of its life with this year seeing the most significant growth to date”.

There has been a 46.6% increase in AWEI participation, 125% increase in first time submissions and a 48% increase in accompanying employee survey responses (n 13,393).

Another noteworthy achievement for this year’s AWEI includes substantial growth in sector participation, including a 50% increase in private, 40% in public and 80% for Higher Education.

“While there is still a long way to go, Hough said that LGBTI inclusion has well and truly made its way onto the Australian Workplace Diversity & Inclusion Agenda.”

Over 600 people attended the sold-out event at Doltone House in Sydney on May 20, emceed by Olympic Diver Matthew Mitcham. Speakers included PID patron the Hon. Michael Kirby and Paul Zahra, PwC Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board Member and former CEO of David Jones.

“Pride in Diversity congratulates all award winners recognised today on their significant achievement and for showing great leadership in the area of diversity and inclusion.” Ms Hough added.

The Top 20 Employers for LGBTI Inclusion 2016 are:

Ranking Employer
1 Westpac Group – Employer of the Year 2016
2 Commonwealth Bank
3 EY
=4 Macquarie Bank
=4 The University of Western Australia – Highest Ranking University
6 Uniting – Highest Ranking NFP/Charity
7 National Australia Bank
8 Accenture
9 Australian Federal Police – Highest Ranking Public Sector Employer
10 Allens
11 NSW Police Force
12 Lendlease
13 AGL Energy
14 ANZ
15 Telstra
16 Norton Rose Fulbright
17 Deutsche Bank
18 IBM
19 Bankwest
=20 Baker & McKenzie
=20 Department of Defence

Pride in Diversity is a program of ACON, NSW’s leading HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTI health organisation


– ENDS –

*LGBTI = Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex

For more information please contact:
David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications Officer
E: T: +61 (02) 9206 2044 M: +61 (0)428 477 042

ACON’s LGBTI Workplace Inclusion Program Signs Its 100th Member

Pride in Diversity, Australia’s first and only national not-for-profit employer support program for all aspects of LGBTI workplace inclusion, today announced that it had signed the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) as its 100th member.

Pride in Diversity is a social inclusion program of ACON, NSW’s leading HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTI** organisation, and counts some of the nation’s top companies as its members

Commenting on this significant milestone, Mark Orr, ACON President, said:

“With workplace equality now an integral part of many businesses in Australia, more and more companies are recognising the enormous value and benefits of creating an inclusive workplace for their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) employees.

“All the available data shows that people will perform better and make a more productive contribution to a workplace if they can be themselves and feel safe at work. That is precisely why so many of Australia’s leading companies have recognised that workplace inclusion is not only good for their employees but also good for their business bottom line.

“Just over five years ago, Pride in Diversity had eight foundation members including the Australian Federal Police, Department of Defence, Goldman Sachs, IBM,ING, KPMG, Lendlease, Telstra and we now we have a diverse and expanding membership base.

“In addition to the growing number of employers who believe in welcoming and supporting LGBTI people, the need for inclusive LGBTI service delivery is increasingly seen as an essential component to good welfare and health provision. In response to this, and as an extension of the National LGBTI Aged Care Training Initiative, ACON has established a training and consultancy team to support providers deliver inclusive and safe LGBTI services.

Pride in Diversity Director Dawn Hough welcomed the International Convention Centre Sydney and said, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome on board the International Convention Centre City Sydney as our 100th member. By joining Pride in Diversity companies have the opportunity to showcase their commitment to equality and diversity in the workplace, as demonstrated by one of our founding members Lendlease, who are also part of the Public Private Partnership with the NSW Government that is delivering ICC Sydney.

“We are very proud to be working with 100 incredible members. We look forward to establishing new relationships with those who have come on board recently and continuing with those who we have worked with over the years to change the landscape of every workplace so that a person’s LGBT identity is – no more or less – important than any other aspect of identity amongst all employees.

“And of course we look forward to welcoming our next 100 members.”

ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy said the AEG Ogden managed venue would welcome guests from across Sydney, the nation and the world and just as its patrons represented diverse nations, industries, ages, sexual orientation and career paths, its people would represent a diverse workforce.

“At ICC Sydney, we recognise and value the different knowledge, skills, backgrounds and perspectives that people bring to work irrespective of their age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or social background. Workforce diversity builds organisational capability and will help us deliver on our goals for collaboration, productivity and innovation. An ingredient in our world class guest experience will be the diversity visible within our workforce, our partners, our supplier base, and our activity,” he said.

Pride & Diversity also operates the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), which is a free service provided annually that evaluates and benchmarks LGBTI inclusiveness in Australian workplaces. It comprises the largest and only national employee survey designed to gauge the overall impact of inclusion initiatives on organisational culture as well as identifying and non-identifying employees. The AWEI Index and its associated top 20 Inclusive Awards drive best practice in Australia and set a comparative benchmark for Australian employers across all sectors.


LGBTI** Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Community

Andrew Hamadanian, ACON Media & Communications Officer
E: | T: (02) 9206 2044  |  M: 0419 555 768