On Tuesday 25th June, the London fintech community came together for a celebration of Pride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The Intertech LGBT+ event was hosted in the heart of Tech City, at London Rise, in collaboration with Capco and Flux.
Addressing the room, Jerry Chen, Intertech LGBT+ co-lead said: “Stonewall represents 50 years of standing up for what you believe in, and 50 years of being authentically you.”
After pizza and drinks, guests then sat down for a screening of Stonewall Forever, a short documentary which brought together key voices and footage from over 50 years of the LGBTQ+ rights movement.
Jai Raichura, Capco’s LGBTQ+ lead and principal consultant, welcomed Matthew Todd to the stage, sharing how the former editor of Attitude magazine’s book, Straight Jacket, had a profound effect on his life.
“This book had a profound effect on how I view LGBTQ+ members today,” said Jay. “It made me realise how much more I could do in the LGBTQ+ community.”
Indeed, Straight Jacket is a rallying cry to gay men, the wider LGBTQ+ community, their friends and family. That evening, Matthew Todd’s speech echoed this very sense of urgency.
After sharing a fascinating timeline of LGBTQ+ pioneers from history, he said, “I can’t come to any event and act like this [climate change] isn’t the defining issue of our time.”
Sharing his support for the non-violent activist group Extinction Rebellion, he said: “All of us need to wake up. This is an emergency, and the biggest emergency we have ever faced. This will wipe away LGBTQ+ rights within our lifetime unless we do something about it.”
He added: “Stonewall wasn’t a Facebook comment or an e-petition, people really put their lives on the line.”
Questions from the audience to Todd followed on a variety of LBGTQ+ topics, from Todd’s favourite activists (Paris Lees), to the mafia’s alleged involvement in Stonewall (unknown), to how straight people can become better LGBTQ+ allies ‘without taking over the cause’:
“There have been many straight allies who have done amazing things for homosexual rights over history. Ask ‘How can I help?... I’d much rather people getting things wrong from trying to do the right thing than doing the wrong thing. I am all for allies. Allies are welcome.”
As he addressed the packed room, he said: “When I was growing up, I really thought there were only 100 gay people in London, going from what the media said. It’s amazing that we can now see that’s really not the case.”
Going to London’s Pride parade and UK Black Pride this weekend? Capco will see you there!