By Christina Peach – Account Director, Diversity & Culture in Brand Marketing & Consumer, FleishmanHillard London, Co-Chair OPEN Pride UK + Allies, Top 10 LGBT+ Future Leader 2020 – British LGBT Awards
As Pride month kicks off our focus turns to the LGBT+ community and the constant human endeavour for LGBT+ rights.
Under normal circumstances brands and communities all over the world would be gearing up to launch experiential campaigns and organising their presence at Pride parades. However, with the effects of coronavirus shutting down our world, Pride parades and marches have been cancelled or postponed.
Beyond the Pride cancellations, a community that was already vulnerable is now more vulnerable than ever. The coronavirus pandemic is a tragedy for LGBT+ people and has wide ranging impacts on the community, from access to hormone treatment for transgender people, the lack of safe spaces for LGBT+ people to come together, to those who are not out, isolating in an environment where they may be suffering abuse or are not out to their families – the LGBT+ community is at risk.
We have seen big names and institutions step up and show their support in a variety of ways during this pandemic. In June (and beyond) there is a real opportunity for brands to sincerely tell the world how much they care about LGBT+ people and showing us what Pride truly means to them.
Considerations and alternative ways that brands and employers can engage the LGBT+ community, allies and employees during Pride month and beyond:
- Break down barriers to entry – Consider those who would not attend Pride events in person: digital events and activations break down the barriers to entry and people can access them from the privacy of their own phone, tablet or laptop.
- Celebrate sensitively – Whilst Pride is a celebration it is important to balance any activity with being sensitive to people’s personal circumstances due to coronavirus e.g. job loss, bereavement and illness.
- Pro-bono support for charities and Pride organisers – Connect with LGBT+ charities and Pride organisers and ask what support they need to continue serving and protecting the LGBT+ community. Think about how to convert physical events to digital.
- Consider the global LGBT+ community – Outside of the UK there is also evidence that some governments are using emergency legislation to either stall or roll back human rights and protections for the community e.g. contact tracing in South Korea. Is there an opportunity to use your campaign to further government lobbying?
- Safe LGBT+ spaces – Consider how you can support the physical community spaces that would have benefited from Pride events such as pubs and bars as these are under threat in the current climate and without them there would be a serious impact on the wider LGBT+ community. Think about opportunities to hero those who enable LGBT+ people to come together and create safe spaces.
- Share LGBT+ events and resources with employees – Look at ways you can unite LGBT+ employees and allies digitally, by sharing events, providing 1-2-1 support and opportunities for them to connect and share experiences as they would have done during Pride month.
The LGBT+ community may not be visible, but they have not lost their voices and neither should we, as brands and as an industry. Pride is a license for us to get creative with digital and show the virtual world why Pride is more important than ever. Speak up, stand proud.
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May 11, 2021