When it comes to LGBTQ+, we can all learn from 'T'

A transgender racing driver who was the guest speaker at the PRCA's LGBTQ+ re-launch event this week made me consider how much people dislike change.

Being aware that the PRCA has previously faced criticism for not paying enough attention to diversity I, like many at first, questioned why the newly appointed lead of an LGBTQ+ group - chairperson Katie Traxton - is a woman who identifies as straight.

After listening to the inspiring story of Charlie Martin, a transgender racing driver who is driving progressive change in motorsport, one thing she said really stuck with me; people don’t like change.

Then I realised, I didn’t either.

As much as others within the community (myself included) may not feel as represented by someone outside of it who hasn’t been through the same struggles, if our overall objective is to help solve LGBTQ+ issues, we can’t achieve that objective with representation alone.

We also need the help and support of people outside of the community who are committed to listening, learning and educating others.

Otherwise, how will we ever make real progress if all we do is continue to speak into an echo chamber?

Across the cities of Great Britain, Pride has now become a mainstream celebration, and as much as it's entertaining to see supportive brands treating Pride Month like the festive season, many are completely missing the point.

Regardless of budget, if brands want to cut through the noise, they need to truly connect with people within the LGBTQ+ community, instead of reinforcing its stereotypes.

The common perception that all gays are happy and carefree couldn’t be further from the truth, and no amount of rainbow flags will ever fix the issues that the LGBTQ+ community face on a daily basis; all they will do is cover them up.

The industry needs to stop pinkwashing, and start promoting people instead.

Ant Jackson, senior copywriter at WeAreFearless

Even though the UK is widely accepting and open, LGBTQ+ discrimination and hate crime is still very much a widespread issue, and statistics around mental health problems within the community are massively concerning.

A recent report from Stonewall states that over 50 per cent of the British LGBTQ+ community have experienced depression in the last year, myself included, and 46 per cent of trans people have contemplated taking their own life.

Would these figures be as high if people in the community felt truly accepted and comfortable in society?
Some 50 years on from the Stonewall riots, we’re no longer living times where protest can fuel progressive change.

But, as industry professionals who communicate with the general public on a daily basis, we often forget that we have the power to influence this, and the solution isn’t as complex as it seems.

The industry needs to stop pinkwashing, and start promoting people instead.

By sharing their stories and struggles with the wider public, we can increase understanding, which will in turn change perceptions, and help eradicate negative stigma.

If we really want to solve LGBTQ+ issues, it's about time we all took more inspiration from the ‘T’, and all started making changes of our own.

Ant Jackson is senior copywriter at WeAreFearless

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