Starting our journey to becoming allies

I’m writing this article having just finished Disclosure on Netflix. It’s a documentary that looks at Hollywood’s depiction of transgender people and the impact this has on American culture.

“When you are a member of the marginalised community, most of the film and television isn’t made with you in mind.” – Laverne Cox, Executive Producer of Disclosure

I had only recently become aware of Disclosure having joined a workshop run by Stonewall for our company, as an introduction to Allyship. The session gave non-LGBT individuals the opportunity to explore what it means to be an ally and the space to identify how we are going to create an inclusive environment for everyone.

I had decided to join the workshop, as I have become well aware in recent times of my lack of education on many of the movements happening across the globe, right now. And much more aware of my own white, cisgender privilege. Everything I have been reading online says that in order to enact change, we need to educate ourselves and not expect the underrepresented communities to do that job for us. 

I’m going to admit straight away, that I had ignorantly thought that much more improvement across the globe, had been made than the stats and stories shared with us today. Let this sink in… currently, there are six countries where being LGBT is punishable by death:

These are scary stats. Maybe stats that people think they can have no impact on. But what we can certainly impact at a ground level is our workplace environments. It’ll be a large proportion of the 50% mentioned below that will join our workforces. So let’s sit-up and pay attention because many workplaces currently and unknowingly, still leave people feeling as though they can’t be their true selves, which is exhausting and affects mental health. 

  • 50% of under 21s identify as a sexual orientation other than straight: Out 
  • The underserved LGBTQ+ market is the fasting growing market and is set to grow by millions over the next few years: Forbes
  • The LGBT community’s purchasing power in the UK (or the pink pound) is currently estimated to be at £6 billion per year: Springfair

Everything that we talk about in this space all comes back to action. As an ally, how are we going to be visible and active leaders? So the short term action that I set myself in the workshop was to diversify my feed and engage with books and podcasts in this space. If you’d like to take step one of that journey with me, here is a list of resources shared with us in the session:

Netflix: Sense8, Pose, Sex Education, Atypical, Special, Queer Eye, Tales of the City
Films: Pride, Kiki, The Life & Times of Marsha P Johnson, Paris is Burning, Moonlight
Comedy/Performers: Mae Martin, Hannah Gadsby, FOCitup, Travis Alabanza, Scottee
Podcasts: The Log Books, On The Latch, Busy Being Black, Nancy, How to be a Girl
Activists/Influencers: Fox and Owl Fisher, Juno Dawson, Munroe Bergdorf, Kuchenga

Thanks to Stonewall for the enlightening workshop. And look out for Incite and Kin + Carta’s Group plan, including hiring processes, supplier alignment and training programmes.