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Pride 2016: Microsoft’s biggest ever turnout

Microsoft revealed its biggest ever turnout at this year’s Pride Festival in London at the weekend.

Almost 300 groups from across the country took part in the parade on June 25, and hundreds of Microsoft staff joined them.

Under the motto of “be yourself with a smile”, GLEAM – Microsoft’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employee resource group – attended the event in the capital with branded T-shirts, badges and vuvuzelas.

Maria Alexandra Ilie, who is leading Microsoft’s straight allies initiative for GLEAM, said: “Celebrating Pride is a crucial milestone for Microsoft each year, as we strive to create a welcoming work environment and to empower every individual on the planet to achieve more. Our aim is to raise awareness that there is still a lot of work to be done towards equality.”

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Microsoft staff supporting Pride 2016

This year’s London Pride parade started in Portland Place at 1pm before taking in Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Pall Mall and Trafalgar Square, before ending in Whitehall at 4:30pm.

This was followed by performances and speeches in Trafalgar Square until 8pm, featuring finalists from the Pride’s Got Talent competition and the Red Arrows.

Theresa McHenry, Microsoft UK Senior HR Director, discusses the importance of diversity in the workplace and supporting the LGBT community

The official Pride after-party then got under way at Electric Brixton.

Microsoft’s employees got into the spirit early with photo session at the company’s offices in Reading and Paddington, London.

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Microsoft set up photo booths at its Reading and London offices to support Pride

Michel van der Bel, managing director of Microsoft UK, said: “Microsoft is really excited to be part of London’s biggest Pride parade. It’s great to support events like Pride with customers, partners, friends and family, to help everyone achieve more through their unique values.”

Around 40,000 community representatives, dancers and performers were expected to attend this year’s event.

In 2015, hundreds of Microsoft staff and their friends joined the parade in London, which saw a total of 30,000 people take part, who were watched by 500,000 spectators – the event’s biggest ever turn-out.

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Special lanyards were handed out at Microsoft to support Pride

This year there were more than 60 Pride events held across the UK, in addition to 27 other Pride festivals and events worldwide which Microsoft participated in.

Microsoft has been a pioneer in workplace diversity. In 1993, it was one of the first companies in the world to offer employee benefits to same-sex domestic partners. The company also achieved a 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation 2015 Corporate Equality Index – for the ninth consecutive year – and is a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

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Microsoft staff at the Pride festival in 2015