Voices

Wunderman Thompson invites staff to write “letters from the heart”

As part of an initiative to celebrate LGBT+ History Month, Wunderman Thompson asked staff to write poems, “letters from the heart”, on what LGBTQIA+ means to them.

Izzy Ashton

Assistant Editor, BITE

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The letters that make up the LGBTQIA+ spell out a lengthy acronym. But then again sexual identity isn’t a simple thing. However you identify, each individual deserves the opportunity for self-definition, and for exploration.

The theme for this year’s LGBT+ History Month is Poetry, Plays and Prose. To celebrate it, Wunderman Thompson UK launched a creative writing initiative focused on the ides of belonging, inviting its staff to enter the LGBTQIA+ Letters From the Heart competition. The response could take the form of a poem, story, letter or spoken word piece. The competition was open to everyone at the agency regardless of sexual orientation, whether they were members of the LGBTQIA+ community or allies.

To further the diversity and inclusion agenda, every voice needs to be given the space to speak. Wunderman Thompson’s competition did just that, exploring how love makes each individual feel, rather than focusing on who the object of that love is.

The competition was judged by a panel of notable writers and activists from the LGBT+ community. The winning entries were presented at an internal exhibition with each author given the opportunity to perform their pieces on stage at the launch event.

Wunderman Thompson UK will be running a programme of educational and entertainment events throughout LGBT+ History Month. This includes a session put on in partnership with Europe’s largest LGBTQ+ rights charity Stonewall.

The American poet Robert Frost said of poetry that, “a poem begins as a lump in the throat…a homesickness, a lovesickness.” To celebrate the depth of those feelings, we’re showcasing three creatively brilliant poems below.

Jo Wallace

Jo Wallace.jpg

Creative Director

Wunderman Thompson UK

THE L WORD

L is for... a word I never use to describe myself.

Lesbian is a word I avoid with some stealth.

…Not due to deep-seated, angst-ridden, self-hatred.

No, I’m comfortable in me and the way I was created.

 

It’s more how, historically, that L’s been given meaning.

Stereotypical descriptions that’re so often demeaning.

So, I love being me, but I don’t like that word.

It’s too steeped in a feeling of being ‘other….. d’

 

The L Word.

 

In the noughties this was the name of a groundbreaking show,

If you’re also an ‘L’ then I-know-that-you-know…

It’s full of this thing* that we so rarely see, *People like us. On. The. Actual. TV.

 

…Well, the laptop: I stream it illegally, Which, thinking about it, is ironic really.

Given that homosexuality used to be a crime.

I guess a lot has changed with the passing of time...

Or has it?

 

Our legal rights, yes, they’ve improved more than a bit.

But two women on a bus still got violently hit.

They dared to be together, going home, it was late,

They dared ignore the advances of some guys full of hate.

 

Their hate read the letter written across those girls faces,

The letter L in an ink that no violence erases.

The letter L that explained a certain look in their eye,

The letter L that explained the protective hand on a thigh.

 

So, they beat them up.

 

But the L that they saw written across those girls faces.

Is an L that is found in all genders and races.

Because I’m not talking about the L word I dislike:

The L that is tainted, and spat out with ‘dyke’

 

No, the L that I mean is powerful and brave,

The L that I know has the power to save.

The L that I feel, crushes hate from above.

The L that I’m in is a crazy little thing called… LOVE.

Sara Soares

Sara Soares.jpeg

Associate Creative Director

Wunderman Thompson UK

I’M OK

My mother looks at me…

Dead in the eye.

Mourning me as we speak.

…and tells me she doesn’t have time

to make another kid.

 

She doesn’t have time to get it right,

this time.

 

I’m no kid anymore, I’m 30,

but my existence,

in that second,

is being negated

by the same being who gated me in.

 

…Some sort of reverse birth…

 

My mother loves me.

She didn’t mean it.

But she did mean it.

 

Because when I came out

there were no rainbows waiting.

No unicorn rides or glitter showers.

 

There was a waterfall of shame

soaking me in weight,

and heartache,

and “Am I OK?”

 

Times have changed.

 

But I’m not sure everyone comes out of the closet

into a pride parade.

 

Took me long enough to realise

there’s no wrong kind of gay.

 

And that normative isn’t normal.

 

It’s just a mask

we all put on

so we can get on with it.

I’m OK.

Helen Lee

Helen Lee.jpeg

Marketing & Business Development Director

Wunderman Thompson UK

IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY

It was 10.00pm.

I was trying to get an early night.

I turned to my partner and said. "What

do you think about LGBTQIA+?".

 

They said.

 

Blimey.

What's the I?

I told them.

They said what's the A?

I told them.

They said "Hey Google. Play Sheryl

Crow if it makes you happy"

We lay there. In the dark.

Singing out loud the one line we knew.

If it makes you happy.

They said. Do we really need all the

letters? Can't we all just be the +?

 

I said.

 

They're steppingstones

One day maybe no one will have a letter.

We'll all just be.

Whoever.

And no will care.

 

It was 10.15pm.

Related Tags

Diversity Inclusion LGBTQ