This year as we move into Pride month, proceedings admittedly look much different. With the usual in-street Pride celebrations put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must remember that Pride is, and will continue to be, a fight against systemic oppression.
Pride reminds us of the importance of doing our utmost to support the LGBTQIA+ community. The movement notably began at the Stonewall Inn, New York in 1969, when Marsha P. Johnson, a bisexual black trans woman, defended their rights and visibility at a time when queerness was clearly frowned upon and delineated certain marginalised groups. Thanks to these initial monumental strides for queer representation, we are closer to achieving equality.
Today, however, there is still a long way to go. We must not overlook the various intersections of different marginalised groups within the queer community. Pride cannot be acknowledged without recognising the importance of supporting other delineated identities, for example the trans and Black communities.
Issues of representation span across multiple industries, but specifically within PR and Marketing, how can queer voices be elevated and given a platform?
In the PR industry, representational issues can be addressed by giving queer perspectives a platform. For example, highlighting queer/ POC CEO success stories and pushing for greater diversity on panel discussions and feature opportunities.
PRs must recognise that they play a key part in elevating these spokespeople, owing to the fact that we are the gatekeepers for media visibility. By engaging with success stories of marginalised groups, PRs are able to take a step in the right direction to widen participation, pushing for greater visibility whilst also showcasing positive stories around queerness - two factors which rarely intersect in dominant media.
Alongside PR, Marketing is a key enabler of widening participation. Social media is giving rise to a proliferation of different voices; allowing different perspectives to be heard, retweeted and shared. Effective marketing needs to be sensitive to these points of view, and genuine connections go beyond simply displaying a Pride flag; it’s actions that count.
Effective ways of doing this include the increasingly popular ‘Instagram takeover’. This is where charities or individuals are able to disseminate their narratives on accounts with popular followings, using corporate accounts to engage with success stories of diverse clients. This ensures that corporate content pays attention to issues of representation and how groups are portrayed online.
Whilst technology continues to advance, the points of view we hear from often stay the same. This is why it’s important to push narratives from marginalised groups of society as this will not only result in wider audience interest, but you’re also using your platform or strategy in a positive and constructive way.
Not only do alternative viewpoints provide a richer view of the world, it also means that more people identify with content they see online. With PR and Marketing having such an influence on the media, it’s high time that an intersectional, holistic approach is taken to give a voice to misrepresented groups.