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Copenhagen Business School

Party time: CBS joins CPH Pride for the first time

Copenhagen Pride can now add CBS as a participant in their big Pride Parade on 19th August. (Photo: Anne M. Lykkegaard)

CBS partaking in this year’s pride parade is not only an important statement both towards employees and students but also outwards, argue a proud student and associate professor. But not all parts of CBS support the initiative financially.

Anne M. Lykkegaard

Journalist

‘Love suits everyone.’

This is the slogan CBS will make use of when they, for the first time ever, take part in CPH Pride Parade on August 19th. And it’s going to be “one hell of a party,” assures Sara Louise Muhr, associate professor at the Department of Organization and organizer of CBS’ partaking in the Pride.

And it’s about time that CBS joins the party, she thinks.

“It is a pity that CBS hasn’t been at the Pride yet since we are a huge organization representing a lot of different people. But this is the year we take part for the first time, and luckily, we have a huge support, and I’m just so proud that my work place participates,” says Sara Louise Muhr and then smiles. 

In fact, the senior management has previously made a budget for taking part in the pride, but it has been difficult to find a group of people who could invest the needed time to organize it. Until this year.

CBS is more than a homogenous group

Sara Louise Muhr is part of the committee arranging the partaking, along with other staff members from different faculties and students. And she thinks it’s very important that CBS takes part in the festivities, just like the University of Copenhagen who has participated for years now.

“It’s important that CBS participates so that students and staff see that CBS accepts and cares for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered.) rights. We have many LGBT people among our faculty, students, and our stakeholders. So, CBS’ participation in Pride is a matter of showing that LGBT issues are relevant for us too – and something we care about. We need to show people that CBS is a diverse place and more than just a homogenous group,” says Sara Louise Muhr and adds:

“We basically need to give this institution a tug and change the norms and our view on life. And if Pride can’t do that, I don’t know what can,” she says.

CPH PRIDE can change CBS

On the day of the big Pride Parade, CBS will have an open truck with people dancing in the back, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. CBS in drag. Students, staff, alumni and other associates will then be invited to walk or bike along, having a party with music, balloons, flags and specially designed t-shirts, ties, bow ties, and candy to give away.

Students and staff from CBS has spent months to plan CBS' participation in the Pride. And it will be grand, they assure. (Photo: Anne M. Lykkegaard)

Mike Martin, who studies an M.Sc. in Business, Language and Culture with a focus on Diversity and Change Management at CBS, is also a part of the committee. He is in charge of decorations, both for the truck, but also for getting rainbow-colored flags and finding the right ties for participants to wear.

And he is excited about CBS being part of the pride, although he thinks that CBS could do more.

“It’s mostly about creating awareness around the topic, and show students and staff where CBS stands in this. I mean, CBS could do more, but it’s a really good start. I know that CBS is a professional institution, and I don’t ask for rainbow-colored flags to be hung around campus, but I think CBS could do more. For instance, make Diversity Day bigger and such,” he says.

I can’t wait to stand on the back of the truck partying and throwing candy at the spectators

Mike Martin, CBS student

Sara Louise Muhr agrees that CBS could do more and hopes that the participation will spur a discussion and changes at CBS.

“Hopefully, we can start a more nuanced discussion about sameness, differences, and inclusivity, so that it’s not just a talk about how LGBT-people are different, what needs “they” have as a group, or how “they” can contribute to the organization,” she says and adds:

“Unfortunately, corporate discussions about LGBT issues usually end with ‘groupings’ and ‘stereotyping’, which is a shame – and not very inclusive. It’s the same with women and refugees who consequently are reduced to being categorized into a group when talked about,” she says.

Is it enough to just take part in the Pride Parade to make these changes?

“Of course not. We constantly have to do things that can do something for diversity at our university. But Pride, in particular, can raise awareness of sexual orientation and gender identity,” says Sara Louise Muhr.

Where’s the limit?

Apart from the money provided by the senior management, eight other departments have given a smaller amount as extra support. The extra money means that the committee has had the opportunity to decorate the truck, get t-shirts and other kinds of decorations for the parade.

But why haven’t all the departments given their support for the initiative?

Adam Lindgreen, Head of Department of Marketing at CBS, thinks that there has to be a limit to what the individual departments takes part in.

“It’s not that we are against CBS taking part in Pride, but with that said I think we have to draw a line. I mean there are a lot of things, we can take part in and support, so where does it stop?” he asks and continues to say:

“Besides, we don’t really have the money for it, unfortunately.”

Rainbow colored ties, bow ties and candies will be handed out on the day of the Pride along with flags, banners and balloons.(Photo: Anne M. Lykkegaard)

And what about the departments who have chosen to give some extra money to the event? What is their take on this?

“We have chosen to support this since we are a type of department, which is broad in the understanding of society and the development of society. We want to show our support towards different events which support the development of society,” says Caroline de la Porte, Head of Department of Business and Politics at CBS.

But on the other hand, she understands the departments who haven’t given a little contribution.

“I mean it’s their decision, and it’s fair enough. But I think it’s important as a public business school to show that you engage in different kind of events, but it seems weird that some departments are in and others aren’t. In that way, I agree on the idea that the support should come from CBS as a whole.”

Give something back to the community

As it is the first time that CBS takes part in the Pride Parade, it is important that it’s going to be a success, says Sara Louise Muhr. Only in that way will it become an established event where students and staff will want to take part in the future.

“We’ve already got ideas and plans about how it’s going to be next year. For example, we want to be present at the Pride Square throughout the pride-week. And we have talked about making a research project where we collect data on LGBT people’s experiences at their work place. In this way, we can give something back to the community,” explains Sara Louise Muhr.

Mike Martin is certain that it will become a great party, at least he is looking forward to it a lot.

“I can’t wait to stand on the back of the truck partying and throwing candy at the spectators. I’ve never participated in an actual pride parade, only watched it. If you get here early you might be able to get on the truck and party with us,” he says and smiles.

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