As we celebrate Pride Month 2022, our teams around the globe are recognizing Pride Month through local initiatives and activities championing LGBTQIA+ equality. For this special edition of Inside Edelman, we profiled colleagues from around the network who are focused on allyship, recognizing intersectionality and taking action towards a more inclusive and equitable world for the LGBTQIA+ community.
How are you working to champion LGBTQIA+ equality in your market/region?
It’s interesting because now I’m wondering: do I do enough? I am one of two Executive Sponsors for our EQUAL group in London—one of our Employee Network Groups—and I do what I can to provide support and guidance. But I am lucky enough to live and work in a country where we have largely (with one or two notable exceptions) achieved most of the equality milestones I dreamed of when I was younger. So now I am thinking, what more could I do outside the UK to help my colleagues living in less enlightened places?
What do you think it means to be an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community?
We should all be allies for any of our fellow human beings who suffer discrimination of any kind for reasons of race, gender, belief, age, physical ability, etc. To me, that means calling out bad behaviour and celebrating good. It means recognizing when others are being made to feel uncomfortable because of who they are or who they love, and then being willing to make yourself uncomfortable to help them.
What can leaders and managers be doing to help make tangible action to support the LGBTQIA+ community?
As I said above, it’s about calling out bad behaviour and overturning discriminatory practices as a matter of course, because it’s the right thing to do. And of course, actively supporting and encouraging the people who work for you to do the same. And please remember, fighting discrimination and bias is not something that only needs to happen one month out of 12.
How do you ensure LGBTQIA+ issues remain top of mind within a company throughout the rest of the year?
I think take an objective and empathetic look at how the people in your business are recognised by it day in and day out. How are different communities represented in everything you say and everything you do? For example, are LGBTQIA+ people visible in the photographs on your website? Do your HR policies take account of the different lives of LGBTQIA+ employees? Don’t be afraid to start small. A friend of mine who works in Finance has just driven the creation of their first calendar of days of awareness and action. It’s a simple thing that we’ve done for years at Edelman but if you work in a more traditional and conservative industry, even the smallest steps can make a difference.
What recommendations do you have for people to become more involved in LGBTQIA+ issues?
If this is an issue that matters to you, find your local group or organisation and jump right in. You’ll be glad you did. Not least because Pride parties are the best parties.
What does love mean/look like to you?
To me, love looks exactly like my wife.
Carolyn Paul, EMEA Health Chair.