We’ve been an ally of the LGBT community for quite some time, and we’re constantly aiming to go bigger and better every year with our love and support. We aim to be one of the friendliest LGBT travel companies in the UK, and we’re working hard to make this a reality. While we want to champion this in the UK, we also want to influence others in travel and around the world to adopt more LBGT-friendly policies.
Sir Richard Branson said: “At Virgin Holidays, we believe everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, has the right to be whoever they are, wherever they are. That’s why it is shocking that in today’s society some of us can’t even enjoy a simple holiday without fear of discrimination. It’s fantastic that Virgin Holidays are doing their bit to raise awareness around this important issue.”
We’re proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the LGBT community, and this year we turned things up a notch (or several) with our turnout at Brighton Pride.
We asked our team about their experience at Brighton Pride 2017, and what it means to them to be a part of Virgin Holidays’ efforts to empower staff, inform customers and influence partners in making travel and tourism better for the LGBT community.
"Pride is important for so many reasons. 50 years after homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales, 72 other countries and territories worldwide continue to criminalise same-sex relationships, including 45 in which sexual relationships between women are outlawed and in 8 countries, being gay can still result in the death penalty. Today, more than 120 countries have decriminalised homosexuality but many are not as liberal as the UK. Russia, for example, has recently introduced laws banning the promotion of homosexuality. I feel so proud to work for an organisation who so vocally support employees and encourage everyone to be authentic to who they are. Our brand purpose of ‘Everyone can take on the world’ further builds upon this and means we are working to make holidays even more accessible and continue to build upon our reputation of disruption, adventure and inclusivity."
Retail Marketing & Trading Manager, Ryan Di Sapia (Virgin Holidays)
"It was a pleasure to be a part of the Virgin Holidays float. Seeing and experiencing the energy of those who make up the Virgin brand was amazing, and you could see from the public’s reaction that they thought so too! It wasn’t so long ago that I was flying in the Military and only a year before I transferred to the RAF it was ‘illegal’ to be serving in the forces as a homosexual! I can’t believe that only a few years later I am working for a company that respects equality so much that they have provided us with the opportunity to display this to the public on the streets of Brighton. Seeing everyone burst into dance as the Virgin Holidays float passed by was incredible and not only down to Tom the DJ but everyone who took part."
Senior First Officer, Dean Hollinshead (Virgin Atlantic Airways)
"A massive thank you for letting me share the mega-experience that was Pride 2017. Proper bucket-list stuff! The people, the weather, the colours, the tunes, the love! Just fabulous and so, so important to share in what we all believe here at Virgin Holidays."
Web Content Executive, Rach Penney (Virgin Holidays)
"It was an absolute pleasure to represent Virgin Holidays on the float at Brighton Pride. My first Pride was London in 1992 and I have attended many London and Brighton Prides over the years and this was certainly the most fun Pride I’ve had. My partner was in the crowd watching the parade and said that the Virgin Holidays float really stood out as being the most energetic and the crowd were really enthusiastic at seeing Virgin Holidays represented, not to mention the squeals of delight from them at the free sunglasses and beach balls being handed out. I am proud to be part of the Virgin Family and to represent us at an event so many find close to their hearts."
Consultant, Richard Callegari (Virgin Atlantic Airways)
"This was my first experience of attending Pride and I loved every minute of it. The atmosphere and energy from everybody involved was amazing from start to finish. It was a privilege to experience first-hand the positivity from the crowd towards our brand. I was lucky enough to be walking alongside the float and handing out the flags, stickers, sunglasses and balls to the crowd – which I must say went down a treat! But for me the best bit was talking to people in the crowds and hearing positive messages about Virgin, from the chants of we love virgin to the individuals and I lost count of how many told me excitedly that they were going on one of our holidays or flying with us soon."
Consultant, Jennifer Breach (Virgin Atlantic Airways)
If you’d like to see all the action from Brighton Pride 2017, check out all the snaps from the weekend on our Best of both Prides page, where we ran a competition to win a holiday to San Francisco Pride! If you were there, and saw us passing by, our competition closes on Thursday 31st August 2017 — just share your best photos of Brighton Pride on Twitter or Instagram, use the hashtag #BestofbothPrides, and mention @virginholidays in your post, and you could be at San Francisco Pride next year!