From Prejudice to Pride to Progress

Date of publication: June 21, 2022

Abstract:

How research helped the German government "get diversity" and build a bridge to the LGBTQIA* community, allowing truth to speak to power Inclusion and diversity have become central to very many corporate, brand and governmental ambitions over the past five to 10 years. Alongside the concept of equity, they are now hot topics. The reasons are mixed, although cogent societal change is one major driver. Younger generations in particular, notably Gen Z, expect imagery and communication that reflects a nuanced view of gender and identity. Recent analyses and quantitative studies (see Brodzik et al., 2021; Dixon-Fyle et al., 2020; Poole, 2021) seem to confirm the overall commercial logic of efforts in this direction. But are we doing these complex topics justice in communications work? A quick assessment of the advertising environment would seem to suggest that all is well in the world of inclusion. The comms world is awash with brightly coloured rainbow flags, happy people of colour, gay families and more. Looking elsewhere, in politics or on social media for example, you see a very different societal picture one full of tensions and antagonism. Progressive, gender-inclusive activism on the one hand, reactionary conservative voices on the other: not so rosy. So, what's true or what's the right perspective? For those with a genuine inclusion ambition, wanting to make the effort to embrace complexity and go beyond tokenism, getting it right is a challenge, especially in the nuanced areas of emerging sexual orientation and gender identity. The LGBTQIA* audience is not just extremely diverse as the acronym suggests; the areas of identity and sexuality are often complex, very fraught, often painful, especially for younger people struggling to come to terms with their emerging identities. These issues are not well understood or documented, nor reflected in mainstream societal discourse.

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