Voices

Sign Outvertisings Open Letter to support greater inclusion of LGBT+ women in advertising

Queer women are one of the least represented groups in the ad industry, now is the time to do something about it.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director

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Outvertising, the LGBT+ advocacy group, has published an open letter to provide a framework for change when it comes to taking action to address the lack of representation of queer women in advertising.

The letter follows a virtual roundtable event, supported by Mindshare, which was designed to deliver action, above and beyond the usual panel discussion. 

Instead the aim was to “turn shared stories, struggles and diverse perspectives into an open letter with solutions.” 

The group is asking people across the industry to sign the letter by the 30th August 2021. 

Click here to sign

The letter in full: 

People of our industry,

Have you ever noticed that there are more openly out LGBTQ+ men in your workplace than LGBTQ+ women?

Have you ever wondered why that might be?

It isn’t because there are fewer LGBTQ+ women.

It’s because fewer LGBTQ+ women are out at work.

Queer women are one of the least represented groups in our industry.

With so many negative stereotypes still being portrayed in the media and society, it’s no wonder that queer women are also almost twice as likely as queer men to stay in the closet at work (Pride Matters Survey, 2018).

In an age where we should feel comfortable being our most authentic selves at work, it is clear that many queer women do not feel comfortable at all.

And that is simply not good enough.

As members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s our mission to change this. Queer women should not only feel like they belong in our industry, but they should feel like they can thrive. So on 11th March 2021, we came together as LGBTQ+ women and allies. We shared our stories, our struggles and our diverse perspectives.

And we shared solutions—that we can’t implement on our own.

Which is why we’re asking you, at every level of every communications agency, to take action and hold ourselves and each other accountable in the following ten ways:

1.    To stop using stereotypical images and cliches that portray queer women negatively.

2.    To never disclose that a colleague is LGBTQ+ in the workplace without their permission. 

3.   To create safe and inclusive workspaces and events to help queer women feel included and supported to come out.

4.   To call out any microaggressions overheard in the workplace and report if necessary. 

5.    To work with media publications that are actively inclusive of queer women (Curve & Diva are notable examples). 

6.    To support more research and insight into queer women to better understand this group and their attitudes and beliefs, ensuring that ‘lesbian’ is listed in a separate category to ‘gay’ in surveys to achieve a more accurate representation of ‘L’. 

7.    To establish and monitor company KPIs specific to supporting queer women, especially around recruitment and progression. 

8.    To stand in solidarity to support transgender women and those who identify as non-binary.

9.    To actively support the promotion of queer female and non-binary role models within the communications industry.

10.    To represent at every level, within employee network groups—appointing more queer women as co-chairs—and most importantly, on our leadership teams: welcome, champion, and celebrate queer women.

We, the signatories of this letter, commit to making our industry more welcome, open and inclusive for all, and we ask you to join us.

Related Tags

Inclusion LGBTQ