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Have you noticed more rainbow flags and folks dressed in colorful clothes recently? That’s because June is Pride Month. For the LGBTQI+ community and allies around the world, June is about honoring and celebrating the history and accomplishments of the LGBTQI+ community. But don’t get lost in the glitter, Pride is about much more than rainbows and parades.

A look back

The celebration commemorates the Stonewall Riots, which kicked off the first major demonstrations for gay rights in America. In the 1960’s it was illegal for LGBTQI+ people to congregate or be served at a bar. The Stonewall Inn, located in Greenwich Village, New York, was one of the rare places LGBTQI+ folks could get a drink and hang out. Police frequently raided the bar, issuing fines, dragging patrons out and violently arresting them. On June 28, 1969, Marsha Johnson — a trans, African American woman — responded to one such raid by throwing a shot glass at police officers. Her act of resistance is known as "the shot glass heard around the world." Fed up after years of discrimination, New York's gay community broke out in riots for three days.
 
The uprising was a catalyst for the emerging gay rights movement in the U.S. Brenda Howard, a bisexual activist known as the “Mother of Pride,” organized a march and other events to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. In 2016 the area around the Stonewall Inn was designated a national monument. Today, Pride Month features celebrations and marches around the world, as well as educational and awareness events to lift the voices of those still fighting for equal rights.

It matters more than ever

The LGBTQI+ community has a lot to celebrate this year. Among many other milestones, there were more LGBTQI+ candidates elected last year than in any previous election in history, signaling a shift in cultural attitudes. While the LGBTQI+ civil rights movement has made great strides in the decades since the Stonewall Riots, we’re still far from true freedom and equality. At Microsoft, we strive to create an environment that brings the power of diversity to life; where people with different backgrounds and experiences thrive in both their professional and personal lives — and where we’re all able to channel our passions to help others achieve more.
 
The Microsoft Advertising team is proud to share stories about three inspiring colleagues who invest their time and energy giving back to their communities; Lydia Edwards, MJ De Palma, and Tiernan Madorno.  Please join us in celebrating LGBTQI+ Pride.  

Microsoft employees Tiernan Madorno on the left and Chris Capossela on the right, at the Seattle Pride celebration. Photo by Scott Eklund, redboxpictures.
Tiernan Madorno, Microsoft Advertising communications manager, left, and Chris Capossela, Microsoft Consumer Business CVP on the right, at the Seattle Pride celebration.