Herbert Smith Freehills has partnered with USFolk, a leading creative design and illustration agency, to produce original pieces of artwork inspired by members of the firm's Belfast office ahead of this year's Belfast Pride.
The firm's IRIS (Inclusion, Respecting Identity and Sexuality) Network and colleagues came together and created a number of designs that support Belfast Pride's aim in both celebrating LGBT+ people across the city, whilst highlighting continued inequality within Northern Ireland and beyond.
The team designed four pieces of artwork representing awareness, solidarity, allyship and equality, which will feature on t-shirts worn by close to 100 members of the network, colleagues, friends and family participating in the parade on Saturday 3 August 2019.
- Awareness – HIV awareness and prevention to break down the stigma for those living with or affected by HIV.
- Solidarity – Trans people are still experiencing inequality and discrimination across all areas of life, including in work, education and healthcare, as well as misinformation in the media.
- Allyship – Allies have always played an important role in the LGBT+ community, by amplifying voices, listening and learning from the experiences of others and advocating in situations when it is not safe for people to do so themselves.
- Equality – Inequality remains for the LGBT+ community throughout the world. Northern Ireland is the only place in the UK and Ireland where same sex couples are denied the right to marry. Only this year, the Westminster government has voted resoundingly to extend equal marriage rights to Northern Ireland.
Herbert Smith Freehills, director of Alternative Legal Services for UK, US and EMEA, Lisa McLaughlin said: "As a leading employer within Northern Ireland, we have a great opportunity to highlight the importance and benefits of a diverse and inclusive culture and society. We want everyone to feel valued and celebrate who they are. Our partnership with USFolk has highlighted how we can continue creating an impact as an employer and support our local community in an artistic and imaginative way."
"Our IRIS network encourages solidarity across the LGBT+ community, acknowledging that some members of our community face higher levels of discrimination. We are proud that our IRIS network is made up of hundreds of strong and visible allies across the world who will support colleagues and continue to promote awareness and equality."
Pride and the wider LGBT+ rights movement dates back to the late 1960s and the Stonewall riots which took place in Manhattan. More than 50 years later, Pride is marked across the world celebrating LGBT+ lives, inclusion and drawing attention to continuing inequality.