Hey everyone, Priya here, KERB’s Purpose & Impact Manager. As we welcome in June and the start of Pride, this is a time for us to reflect, celebrate and advocate for our LGBTQ+ community in hospitality. 

Pride is an opportunity to recognise the progress made in advancing LGBTQ+ rights. It’s also an opportunity to acknowledge and address the work that remains to be done in the hospitality industry.

Looking back: the history of Pride

The stonewall riots were a series of demonstrations by members of the LGBTQ+ community in response to a police raid in New York City in 1969. The protests became a symbolic turning point in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. In the following year the first Pride parade took place as a way to honour the history, struggles and achievements of the community.

The riots took place outside The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar (the term gay bar is a widely used description for establishments that cater for the LGBTQ+ communities however there has been a shift towards using more inclusive language). The riots are widely considered to be the most pivotal event leading to the gay liberation movement. This highlights the importance hospitality has played throughout history in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. LGBTQ+ bars have long provided a safe space for people from the community to openly socialise with each other.

Looking forwards: Pride in hospitality

One of KERB’s core values is to have a diverse ecosystem, both in our staff and our membership of traders. We continue to work hard towards this. 

Last month, we spoke to members of our team at Seven Dials Market who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. Their message was loud and clear; celebrating Pride is important to them as it makes them feel valued, respected and celebrated in the workplace. 

So, how are we acknowledging Pride at KERB?

Reviewing our DEI policies.

We recognise that celebrating Pride in the workplace is not only crucial for fostering an inclusive and supportive environment, but also for driving meaningful change and empowering individuals to bring their best selves to work. This includes:

    • Engaging with our People Team and Senior Leadership Team to ensure our policies are fit for purpose to allow us to grow responsibly as a company.
    • Holding small focus groups with our team to listen to their input and feedback.
Planning gender awareness training across the team (not just for the senior leadership team). 
Hosting a panel discussion at KERB HQ featuring:
    • Our COO Ben Green. He will share his experiences of being a parent of a son who is gay, the things they have faced together and how important an inclusive environment is.
    • One of our traders, Tyron Salih, who owns an amazing street food business Twerk N Jerk. He will be sharing his experiences of intersectionality of being a Black gay man and the struggles he faced when starting up his business.
    • Taylor Douglas who is part of our bar team at Seven Dial Market. She will share her experiences from a female perspective.
We will be fundraising on behalf of MindOut.

They’re a charity doing amazing work providing mental health assistance and resources to the LGBTQ+ community. 40% of those who identify as LGBTQ will experience mental health challenges compared with 25% of the general population. This will be supported through sales of three specially made cocktails at Seven Dials Market throughout June.

Pride celebrations allow the hospitality industry to demonstrate its commitment to inclusivity and diversity. By recognising and supporting the LGBTQ+ community we can create a welcoming environment, regardless of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. We can also use it to send messages of acceptance and support.

At KERB, we’ll be working with our team to ensure these messages are delivered all year round and become embedded in our culture. And at Seven Dials Market, we’ll be supporting and celebrating our diverse team and customers for Pride month, and beyond.