Pride in 2020 has been like no other
Throughout the summer, I’ve had conversations with friends, family, and work colleagues about how we can continue the fight for LGBTQ+ equality as individuals, collectively and as an agency. We’ve been sharing our perspectives and realise It’s now more important than ever to have these discussions around allyship, and how we all have a role to play in amplifying the voices of others.
Wilderness’ Pride celebrations were a little different this year! At the end of June, we hosted a company-wide quiz on Google Hangouts with some of our amazing staff with topics around LGBTQ+ heroes, important stats from around the world and showcased pictures from previous Pride events. Since then, we’ve seen a lot of colleagues go that one bit further, stepping up to listen, educate, and spark change for the better. These are our new advocates! As an organisation, it’s clear there is a desire for us to do better.
I’m a white, middle class, able-bodied gay man, and so I already have a lot of privilege. Over the last few months, I’ve seen a lot of people use that word -privilege – as an insult. That could be seen as a catalyst for why some distance themselves from fighting for equality, as ultimately, nobody wants to say the wrong thing or accept that they may not have stepped up as much as they think they have. The reality is, everyone has some form of privilege – and the first step is to acknowledge this, then change your mindset accordingly. Allow yourself to be open to learning, to feel uncomfortable in these discussions, and, most importantly, acknowledge where you were wrong and how you can develop.
This brilliant article from John Scalzi perfectly explains the levels of privilege and matches them to the difficulty settings on a video game. He explains that if you’re a straight white male, then all of the ‘default settings and behaviours’ in the game are easier on you than they are for other players. Completing levels is quicker. Leveling-up is easy, gaining entry to different parts of the map is much simpler. The game itself is so much easier to play and ‘cheats’ are easier to access. Yes, everyone faces their own challenges, but those with privilege benefit from a lower difficulty setting. For some, that difficulty is constantly increasing.
Around the world, Black people are demanding justice – something they’ve been denied for so long. Now, more than ever, it’s vital for us to remember who fought for our rights. Black people, trans, queer, and other people of colour stood up and put everything on the line and now It’s time for the whole community to stand by their side and help in every way we can. Black trans folks’ lives remain at risk and they’re at the center of the rising of the Black Lives Matter movement, as they’ve always been for the LGBTQ+ rights movement. In a recent speech a Black Lives Matter protest, Ravyn Wngz said, “there is a saying… ‘Life, Liberty, and Justice’ – black people are still on Life’.
The reality is, the education system has never delved into these issues and these stories. We shouldn’t be embarrassed about not knowing things we weren’t allowed to learn. LGBTQ+ history or sex education isn’t routinely taught in schools and so we must accept the responsibility to educate ourselves, and others about our history.
I’m encouraging anyone who is reading this to really think about how you’ll help to fight throughout the year. Use the resources below to aid you, and remember that allyship is not simply a status simple, but an ongoing movement.
1. Find out how you can help to support the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in Poland.
2. Donate to the Albert Kennedy Trust, an incredible charity that raises money for the LGBTQ+ homeless
3. Check out the documentary ‘Paris Is Burning’ on Netflix, which explores the ballroom culture of New York.
4. Take a listen to this prevalent and powerful discussion on Lending privilege with Anjuan Simmons
5. Watch Pose, a series about the transgender experience, the AIDS crisis in New York City, and ballroom culture – streaming on Netflix.
Harry Clark – Strategist