The LGBTQIA+ Community & Intersectionality: Thoughts from Medialab’s ‘Communities’

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Here at Medialab, we’re constantly learning and adapting to continuously build an open and inclusive environment, where everyone can bring their true self to work.  

As part of this commitment, we have several internal groups set up, which are sometimes known as ‘Employee Resource Groups’, or ‘ERGs’ for short. At Medialab we call them ‘Communities’ as this feels more reflective of what they actually are – a support network for minority groups, to be able to share experiences, acknowledge biases, generate ideas on how we can be as inclusive as possible, and create meaningful action and change.  

To embrace the vibrant tapestry of identities within our team, we’re looking to delve into the heart of intersectionality this Pride month, particularly focusing on the experiences of our female colleagues of colour – guided by our Roots Community and Women at Medialab Community – whose ambition is to help continually foster an environment which empowers women and those from an ethnic minority background, to flourish at work. 

 

 “As part of the Roots Community, we’re looking to enrich our knowledge and appreciation of Pride month by delving into Intersectionality within the LGBTQIA+ community, with a specific focus on people of colour”

(Pooja Shah, Senior Account Executive and Roots Community Contributor) 

 

“For the Women at Medialab Community, it is crucial that we consider intersectionality throughout all our conversations and actions, both during Pride month and beyond. We are committed to working closely with our other Communities and acknowledge the interplay between our goals and people that we represent”

(Molly Giles, Senior Account Executive and Women at Medialab Community Contributor). 

 

DEFINING INTERSECTIONALITY AND ITS IMPORTANCE  

 

Our Communities believes that education around intersectionality is necessary to fully understand the varied experiences within the LGBTQIA+ community, especially among people of colour and women. 

Understanding the layers of intersectionality helps to shed light on how combined identities, such as an individual’s gender, ethnicity, or sexuality, can affect their experiences in both a personal and professional manner. 

One of our core values at Medialab is ‘we help people flourish’. This value is brought to life in our regular Together We Stand (TWS) sessions – open session forums which everyone at Medialab is invited to attend and host. Designed to open minds, remove stigma, educate and encourage open conversations, all in a safe space, TWS sessions cover a variety of topics including racism, mental health, gender inequality, LGBTQIA+ issues and neurodiversity in the workplace – to continue learning about each other’s differences and how we can support one another. 

 This month, to mark Pride, we were proud to have hosted a fantastic line up of industry and LGBTQIA+ experts, led by our very own Noel McGarrell (He/Him), Principle Effectiveness Consultant, discussing the topic of ‘Marketing to the LBGTQIA+ community, authentically’. The panel of leading industry talent consisted of Jeff Ingold (He/Him) – LGBTQ+ Media Consultant at Netflix & Ex-Head of Media for Stonewall, Asad Shaykh (He/Him) – Group Strategy Director at Pride in London & Head of Strategy at GREY, and Felix Moise (They/Them) – DEI Specialist at GroupM & Volunteer/trainer at Outvertising. 

 

REPRESENTATION AND VISIBILITY 

 

The visibility of LGBTQIA+ people of colour and women in leadership and the media industry isn’t just about representation, but also about influencing and creating inclusive cultures within your organisation. 

All our employees are offered mentoring through a wide variety of specialist organisations, including  

  • Bloom Network – providing professional support for women in media.  
  • MEFA (Media for All) – encourages Black, Asian and other ethnic talent to join and thrive in the media industry. 
  • Outvertising, not-for-profit organisations – their purpose is to make advertising and marketing completely LGBTQIA+ inclusive.  

Through these organisations, we’re able to ensure that LGBTQIA+ people of colour and women in particular, feel empowered to bring their true selves to the office every day. 

Nurturing a diverse and inclusive workplace also means we attract talent that provide different perspectives, experiences and insights. 

We give every person the same opportunity to join our business, irrespective of background, and take collective responsibility for our culture, encouraging an open and honest dialogue, which makes Medialab feel like a place where everyone can “belong” and flourish. 

 

MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS 

 

Sadly, research indicates that LGBTQIA+ people of colour are more likely to experience mental health issues, with only 14% feeling that mental health services meet their needs (Source: Mental Health Foundation), compared to the 49.9% overall UK average (Source: House of Commons Library, Mental health statistics: prevalence, services and funding in England). 

At Medialab, we have initiatives in place to help manage and prevent this. From Mental Health First Aiders, and mandatory mental health training for ALL line managers, to regular wellbeing and DEI feedback surveys sent out to the whole company, actively promoting a culture of openness and transparency in the office.  

We are one of the first agencies to have been awarded by the IPA under their People Promise accreditation, for the efforts and investment we put into supporting our employees’ wellbeing, under the Empower, Prevent & Support framework ensuring best practice mental wellbeing support is a top priority.  

We’re also proud that our brilliant mental health client, MIND, provides a multitude of practical resources, from self-care guides and shared experiences from within the LGBTQIA+ community to professional mental health support tips (link to MIND LGBTQIA+ resources here). 

To stay true to our commitment to making Medialab an inclusive workplace where everyone feels that they belong, we aim to continue to promote inclusivity and support for intersectional identities and will continue to actively encourage our Medialabbers to engage, participate and contribute to our many initiatives – helping foster strong, bespoke support network for all LGBTQIA+ people. 

 

For more information about Intersectionality or for helpful tips on supporting friends and colleagues within the LGBTQIA+ community, you can visit Mind’s website by clicking here. 

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