As we come to the end of Pride Month, we wanted to spend some time reflecting on the past few weeks and provide tangible advice on how brands and agencies can support their LGBTQIA+ employees.
Since its inception in 1969 following the Stonewall riots, Pride Month has evolved into a global celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community each June. And over the years, we have seen an increasing number of brands associating themselves with this commemoration. However, the current political climate, coupled with a more discerning and vocal audience, demands more than sporadic gestures of support. It's no longer enough for brands to hop on and off the Pride bandwagon; their engagement must be authentic, consistent, and meaningful.
With this in mind, we have turned our attention towards the experiences of LGBTQIA+ professionals in the creative industry. We must unite as an industry to amplify their voices and talents, integrating support for the LGBTQIA+ community into our day-to-day operations. By championing their rights and promoting their representation throughout the year, we can create a more inclusive and equitable environment. In addition, a diverse workforce is not just ethically correct; it's a powerhouse of innovative ideas, and fresh perspectives, and thus drives business success.
Walking the Talk: Supporting Pride in the Creative Industry
Pride is not a one-time, annual celebration of diversity, but an ongoing commitment to change, growth, and understanding.
Here are 5 things that can be implemented to support LGBTQIA+ community all year round:
All Year-Round Support
The creative industry's support for Pride and the LGBTQIA+ community should not be limited to June. Rather, the values of acceptance, understanding, and inclusion should be embedded in our industry's fabric throughout the year. To make this a reality, it's crucial to maintain visibility and support for LGBTQIA+ individuals beyond Pride Month.
One method of doing this is by celebrating the numerous other significant dates in the LGBTQIA+ calendar, such as International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), Transgender Day of Remembrance, and National Coming Out Day, among others. Acknowledging these dates within the workplace and leveraging them as educational opportunities can create a deeper understanding and acceptance among all employees. Upcoming awareness days for 2023 can be viewed via Inclusive Employers Diversity Calendar.
Incorporating LGBTQIA+ voices and stories into work throughout the year ensures that representation is consistent, not sporadic. This continual exposure helps in normalising diverse identities and experiences, pushing back against harmful stereotypes and creating a more accepting society.
The Uncomfortable Truth: Fair Pay For All
Our recent Creative Industries Census 2023 has brought a disconcerting fact to light, that despite improvements in representation (a 4% YoY increase, from 14% to 18%), those from the LGBTQIA+ community are paid 8.5% less than their heterosexual counterparts. This pay gap has widened in the last 12 month, and these discrepancies, are not reflective of the diverse talents and potential that these professionals bring to the table.
This only further highlights the need for immediate action and strategic solutions to bridge the pay gap. At Major Players, we champion Fair Pay For All through our Earn Your Worth initiative, by not asking our candidates to divulge their salary history – therefore, reducing the opportunity to perpetuate unbalanced pay. You can sign up and pledge your support for fair pay here.
In addition, our 2023 Census enables businesses and talent to benchmark their salaries versus those of the industry and their peers. Our data empowers our communities to make more informed decision making, whether that is reviewing salary bandings, approaching employers for salary reviews, or simply understanding true worth.
Truly Aligning with Societal Issues
The LGBTQIA+ community faces a range of societal issues, including discrimination, homelessness, healthcare disparities, and mental health challenges. As an industry, we need to ensure that our support extends beyond workplace inclusivity and reaches these broader societal issues.
This can be achieved by leveraging our creative skills to raise awareness about these problems, partnering with charities and organisations that support the LGBTQIA+ community, or using our influence to lobby for policy changes. Our role should extend beyond representation to activism, aligning our business strategies with societal needs, and leveraging our influence to enact positive change.
Here are a few organisations to look out for and to connect with:
Taking a Stance: Stand Your Ground
Outvertising have been running a month-long campaign, telling brands to stand their ground this pride month in the adversity of anti-LGBTQIA+ groups backlash. Over 120+ organisations from across the industry, including advocacy groups, agencies, networks, brands and associations.
Major Players are currently the only recruitment agency to have made this pledge, and we encourage other organisations to do so, beyond pride month, by showing up and standing your ground always:
Brands with Pride ads: Run them.
Brands working with LGBTQIA+ talent: Protect them.
Brands with Pride event plans: Keep them.
Brands with Pride products: Display them.
Brands with rainbow logos: Back up this declaration with meaningful actions.
Brands that come under attack: Brave the backlash.
Brands with media spend: Invest in media that match your values. Divest from media that spread disinformation.
Stand your ground by signing up here.
The road to true inclusion and equality is paved with consistency. It's not enough to momentarily highlight LGBTQIA+ voices or momentarily champion their rights. Rather, it's about consistently advocating for these voices and rights until they are universally recognised and respected.
In the creative industry, consistency means continuously producing content that showcases diverse identities and experiences. It means continually assessing and updating our workplace policies to ensure they remain inclusive. It means consistently educating ourselves and our colleagues about the LGBTQIA+ community and the challenges they face.
Consistency extends to how we handle missteps. If we falter, we must be open to feedback, eager to learn, and ready to make the necessary changes. This openness and willingness to improve demonstrate our genuine commitment to supporting our LGBTQIA+ colleagues and partners.
Here are some more steps your business can take to support your LGBTQIA+ employees
Building Inclusive Workplaces: Inclusion is more than just a buzzword. It's about cultivating a work environment that makes everyone feel valued, heard, and comfortable being their true selves. This means implementing non-discrimination policies, encouraging an open dialogue about diversity, fostering LGBTQIA+ leadership, and offering comprehensive training to combat unconscious bias. It's about creating a space where every individual feels safe and respected.
Leveraging the Power of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): ERGs serve as a backbone for promoting inclusion in the workplace. These groups not only provide support for LGBTQIA+ employees but also help management understand and address issues that might otherwise go unnoticed. As an industry, we must empower ERGs, creating platforms for their voices to be heard and their insights to be actioned.
Championing LGBTQIA+ Owned Businesses: One effective approach to reducing the pay gap and supporting the LGBTQIA+ community is to boost LGBTQIA+-owned businesses. Actively seeking out, partnering with, and promoting these businesses within the creative industry can provide them with the visibility and support they need to flourish.
Educating Employees and Partners: Ignorance can be the most significant barrier to inclusion. Providing education to employees and partners about the LGBTQIA+ community can help with understanding and acceptance. This could include sensitivity training, workshops on unconscious bias, or seminars on the history and struggles of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Encouraging Open Dialogue: Maintaining open channels of communication about diversity and inclusion can help ensure a positive and supportive work environment. Encouraging employees to share their experiences, concerns, or suggestions can provide invaluable insights that can be used to improve workplace policies and practices.
Supporting LGBTQIA+ Rights Advocacy: Companies can extend their support for the LGBTQIA+ community by advocating for their rights. This could involve lobbying for legislation that protects LGBTQIA+ individuals from discrimination or supporting organisations that fight for their rights.
Taking Pride in Our Work
Pride Month can serve as a catalyst for the creative industry to drive transformative change and foster inclusivity. With its far-reaching influence, this industry possesses immense potential to bridge existing disparities and champion the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. By prioritising authentic representation, cultivating inclusive workplaces, empowering Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), supporting LGBTQIA+ businesses, and fostering a culture of continuous learning, we can make tangible strides towards equality.
At Major Players, we firmly believe that our actions should contribute to the betterment of the environment and the well-being of individuals from all walks of life. Acknowledging our influence as a company, we are committed to making a positive difference for the LGBTQIA+ community every single day, not solely during Pride Month. Our dedication to genuine inclusivity drives us to create environments that uplift diverse voices, challenge biases, and foster a sense of belonging for all individuals. Together, we can reshape the landscape of the creative industry, ensuring that every aspect of our work benefits and supports the LGBTQIA+ community.