June is Pride Month and, like many across the country, we look forward to celebrating the importance of equality and reminding ourselves to continually seek opportunities to make our society more inclusive. Greater education and understanding of the many unique issues, particularly in health care, impacting lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer plus individuals are vital to a more just and equitable society. The biopharmaceutical industry stands firm in our commitment to fostering greater respect for diversity and equality in the work that we do not only for our colleagues but for the patients we serve.
Pride Month first started over 50 years ago when a group of pioneering LGBTQ+ activists — led by transgender Black and Brown women — organized a series of protests demanding the right to live their lives openly without fear of arrest or prosecution; this would later become known as the Stonewall Uprising. Today, the location of the events continues to be an LGBTQ+ establishment in New York, often a place of gathering both in celebration and sadness. Just in the last decade, the Supreme Court has held that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected classes under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and that same-sex marriage is seen no differently before the eyes of the law. While these were momentous moments in the history of LGBTQ+ equality, the danger of setbacks in protection seems all too fragile.
For our part, we are committed to supporting LGBTQ+ equality through robust research and development where the biopharmaceutical industry has been dedicated to bringing more treatment options for conditions that disproportionately affect members of the LGBTQ+ community, most notably HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, our industry remains committed to implementing corporate policies and practices to ensure greater equity for LGBTQ+ workers. This year alone, leading PhRMA member companies were recognized by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for earning a 100% rating on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index and being designated as a “2022 Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.”
At PhRMA, our employee resource group, The PRIDE Umbrella, is further helping shine a spotlight on issues important to LGBTQ+ colleagues and patients alike. Inclusivity is vital to our industry’s well-being. Study after study has found companies and organizations that promote a diverse and inclusive culture tend to be more innovative, productive and achieve higher customer and employee satisfaction. We’re further proud our organization supports the passage of the Equality Act. The legislation would create federal protections for members of the LGBTQ+ community under U.S. civil rights laws.
Looking ahead, while we celebrate the progress we’ve made, there is still much more work to be done in the fight against discrimination and intolerance. I’m proud of the work PhRMA has contributed towards these efforts on our journey to a more just and equitable society.
Happy Pride to all!