PRSA-SV #FridayForums serve as a platform for individuals to speak out on a variety of topics and express their beliefs without judgment. Last Friday, we had the pleasure of listening to Board Member and Bospar Principal/Cofounder Curtis Sparrer, National LGBTQ Task Force Communications Director and Principal/Owner of Target Cue Cathy Renna and Board Member Graffiti Creative Group Founder Shaun Saunders.
The panel discussed what Pride in PR in our industry looks like today, and how it has changed in over time. They interacted with the audience on Clubhouse and answered pressing questions like these asked by Moderator Scott Thornburg, APR, a PRSA-SV board member and global public relations director at Sojern.
What does it mean to be in the room and have a seat at the table?
“We’re here, we’re queer, and everyone’s fine with it,” replied Curtis.
He said that it’s now common in PR and communications fields to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, many companies make it their goal to create a safe space where their employees can express who they are.
Scott talked about the company he worked for in Alabama and how they made it a safe space to express himself. He said individuals who were a part of the LGBTQ+ community didn’t have to hide their true identity and could use personal pronouns to vocalize how they identified.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t always the case in many other companies in the 1980s. Cathy noted that if the LGBTQ+ community wanted change to occur, they needed to get attention by going to the streets and pushing for it to happen.
“If you were to say how much we have pushed forward today, 25 years later, I would be shocked” Cathy said.
Are we making steps for non-binary individuals to express themselves in the corporate world?
When it comes to Pride, many companies show their support by changing their logos to a rainbow during the month of June.
“You need to do more than just slap a rainbow on something,” Cathy said. “We are way past the bare minimum.”
The panel discussed how companies that try to please all groups of individuals can end up taking actions that contradict their statements. For example, Anheuser-Busch state sit supports the LGBTQ+ community, yet the company contributes thousands of dollars to anti-LGBTQ+ legislators.
On the other hand, there are companies making significant policy changes to support LGBTQ+ customers. For instance, Mastercard now allows individuals to get a credit card in the name of their choice, rather than in the name on their birth certificate.
How can we get involved with Pride?
As we’re still navigating whether events can be virtual or in-person, it can be difficult to figure out how to personally get involved. The panel advised that, instead of writing a check to a large organization, work with smaller organizations that are devoted to issues you care about.
Where can people go to learn more?
While many of us think we know what Pride is and what it means to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community, there’s always more you can learn about advances that have been made in the last 25 years. This will give you a better understanding of all aspects of this community and the challenges they face. You can go to a local center to ask questions, or contact organizations such as Gender Cool and the National LGBTQ+ Task Force.
And be sure to join #FridayForum on July 9 for Latinas in PR. We look forward to seeing you all then!