I was fully prepared to write about the perils of pinkwashing and LGBTQIA+ marketing, then gay-ducate on the dos and don’ts of the queer community, but this blog slowly became more with each stroke of the keyboard.
I wanted this article to be a reflection. I wanted it to be a reminder that Pride is about people. It’s about stories. It’s about existence. For me Pride is personal, and I wanted this blog to be too.
Anybody who’s ever walked through the RDB doors, or been to our Christmas parties knows we do not shy away from embracing every color of the rainbow. We like to fancy ourselves as very open-minded, accepting, and most of all, loving. But in a safe space where being out and proud is met with open arms, and where towering drag queens are just another Friday in December, why is it still important to talk about Pride?
“Sometimes young, educated and tolerant people tend to forget that they live in a bubble and that there is still too much intolerance in Austria, not to mention the world. It’s important to let people tell their stories and talk about their experiences in order to raise awareness.” – Suzanna Knezevic, Mistress of Content
We have the privilege of living in a city that not only shows support for LGBTQIA+ rights, but also makes queer rights an integral part of its identity. The home of the fabulous Life Ball, the bearded drag queen Eurovision champ Conchita Wurst, and the legalization of gay marriage ─ Vienna seems like gay utopia to the naked eye. But this doesn’t mean discrimination doesn’t exist. A few kilometers away our neighbors in other cities don’t enjoy the same openness and support. As important as it is to celebrate how far we’ve come, it’s also important to remember there is still work to be done.
“Pride is not only about celebration, it’s a matter of awareness.” – Paula Horwatitsch Cunha, Account Manager & Token Brazilian Red-Head
So how can an agency of straight allies with one gay employee show real support without being patronizing or be accused of capitalizing on the pink dollar?
“The focus should not only be on how we can bring awareness to the topic by showing our rainbow-colored solidarity but also, how we are supporting LGBTQI+ rights in every aspect of our daily business. How can we educate clients? Are we an LGBTQIA+ friendly workspace? How inclusive is our workspace? How inclusive is the language that we speak/the content we put out there?” – Suzanna Knezevic
I’m reminded of a moment during a meeting when the powers at be wanted drag queen performers for a party, but it was deemed inappropriate for the occasion by some. I remember the CEO looked at me with dismay and asked, “Are you okay with that?” It was a comment without sarcasm and with real concern. It felt sincere. It felt like a reassuring hug. It was confirmation that I didn’t misconstrue this moment as an indirect message of intolerance. It felt nice.
“It’s not possible to think about leadership and innovation without being inclusive. At the end of the day, it’s about people like you and me defending LGBTQIA+ rights saying ‘no’ to social and economic exclusion.” – Paula Horwatitsch Cunha
Yes, it’s fun to be the one peacock in the garden. It’s hilarious being the encyclopedia for gay twitter and the go-to for Beyoncé gossip plus Lady Gaga’s new Chromatica album (yes, I’ve listend to it-that’s for another blog). On the other hand, it’s also a pleasure being able to tell my boss who Marsha P. Johnson was. It’s enriching to speak to your colleagues about your coming out story, which allows them to speak about their LGBTQIA+ families. But it’s mostly about knowing that despite these differences, you’re not alone.
Navigating the intricacies of the journey towards a more inclusive environment, creating a safe space free of prejudice, and taking a stand on issues that matter is not the job of one person. It’s a concerted effort of an entire team, a team of merry men and women that I gladly call mine in a forest we call Sherwood.