This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, host of World Pride 2019. SAP is proud to be named a Stonewall Top Global Employer for the second year in a row.
Stonewall Top Global Employers is the definitive list showcasing the best multinational employers for lesbian, gay, bi, and trans (LGBT) staff. Sections considered for scoring include employee policy, training, staff engagement, leadership, procurement, community engagement, and understanding local context and additional in-country activity.
History of the Stonewall Riots in New York City
New York’s original Pride celebration started as a march that commemorated clashes between police and protesters outside the Stonewall Inn, a bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village known for its acceptance of the LGBT community. The media coverage of what is now referred to as the Stonewall riots reflected the era’s homophobic stigmas, as evidenced by the headlines of the time. In the late 1960s, homosexuality was illegal in most states in the U.S. and there were no laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination.
The Stonewall Inn openly served gay customers in the late 1960s, so police raids were common. On Tuesday, June 24, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn and returned the following Friday with plans to close the establishment down forever, but protestors prevented them from doing so.
The first night of uprisings drew 500 to 600 people, but an estimated 2,000 showed up outside the bar on Saturday night. In all, 21 people were arrested as a result. The six-day uprising provoked a generation of activists into forming a mass civil rights movement. On June 28, 1970, thousands of people returned to Greenwich Village for the first Christoper Street Liberation Day march. It became an annual event and evolved into the Pride parade, which is marked every year in New York and many other cities across the globe.
Leadership in Global Transgender Inclusion
Named after the 1969 NYC riots, Stonewall is an LGBT rights charity headquartered in the UK and active worldwide. As part of its mission and priorities, Stonewall has launched numerous initiatives aimed to improve LGBT inclusion in the global workplace. Overall, the organization aims to “ensure LGBT people know they’re not alone and to create inclusive societies.” Its work with global employers is paramount to achieving its goals. Stonewall recently released a white paper detailing best practices for global trans inclusion, and thanks SAP among other companies for contributions and case studies. The document intends to empower more organizations to effectively support trans employees with benefits and polices that are truly trans-inclusive.
In the white paper, Stonewall praises SAP for offering professional development training programs for the trans community in 2017, 2018, and 2019. These programs — including training workshops, computer lessons, resume guidance, and job interview role-play services — are aimed at addressing the many challenges trans people face while pursuing employment. One example of these is the “Opening Doors” program from SAP in partnership with Dow and GE in Argentina.
Stonewall’s white paper also outlines SAP’s Global Anti-Discrimination Policy, which includes definitions of discrimination, harassment, and uses trans-specific examples of harassment and bullying. At SAP, we also proudly include gender identity and gender expression as protected characteristics in our Global Human Rights Commitment Statement, our Global Diversity and Inclusion Commitment Statement, and our Supplier Code of Conduct.
Through partnering with local LGBT groups, SAP localizes Gender Transition Guidelines, which have been available since 2008, whenever a person transitions in a specific country — another one of our initiatives highlighted by Stonewall. Stonewall gave SAP additional praise for collaborating with TransFocus to support transitioning employees in Canada and the U.S., as well as enhancing the transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits for SAP employees and their dependents in both countries and offering gender-neutral restroom facilities in key locations.
Stonewall Top Global Employer 2019
SAP’s commitment to the inclusion of the LGBT+ community started back in 2001, when the Pride@SAP employee network group was launched. Today, a network of LGBT+ employees and allies cover 79 percent of our workforce. The leadership in global transgender inclusion mentioned include examples of many activities that have led to SAP being named among Stonewall Top Global Employers for the second year in a row. Additionally, in 2019 SAP achieved a perfect score for HRC’s Corporate Equality Index for the sixth consecutive year.
We are honored to receive Stonewall’s recognition, since this shows that we are “walking the walk” from our public commitment to be one of the first companies to express support for the UN Global LGBTI Standards of Conduct for Business at their launch in September 2017.
Miguel Castro is senior director in the Global Diversity and Inclusion Office at SAP SE.