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#SOproud: How to Support PRide in the Workplace Year-Round

Our Strategic Objectives Queer Ambassadors Define Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

By Kabir Singh Shergill and David Marcille

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Another inspiring Pride Month is coming to a close as our Strategic Objectives Team continues to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, a prime tenet of our core values, exemplified by SOAR – our Strategic Objectives Alliance for Representation.

We are #SOproud to represent our SOAR Committee as SO Queer Ambassadors – an initiative that provides a safe space for our colleagues and clients to reach out for advice and recommendations on inclusive queer messaging from people whose lived experience qualifies us to be our agency’s ‘go to peeps.’

Queer Ambassador Purpose

To enlighten and educate through meaningful workplace conversations, with the goal of embracing queer communities through strategic PR that builds and supports the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

What is Pride?

Pride is a celebration born out of protest. The worldwide Pride movement is said to have begun with the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. Canada has our own sad history of homophobia which led to turning points in the struggle for, and eventual celebration of, 2SLGBTQ+ rights.

The most well-known of these are the Toronto Bathhouse raids which initially led to widespread riots in 1981, and eventually to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologizing in 2017. Canadians across the country now proudly celebrate together at Pride Festivals, all summer long.

The first lesbian and gay rights demonstration on Parliament Hill, August 28, 1971.

Pride in PR

Today, Pride perches at the forefront of social change, and we are honoured that our clients look to us to create meaningful and impactful campaigns to support the queer community. We Queer Ambassadors have become a strategic sounding board for all things queer, including 2SLGBTQ+ focused strategy brainstorming; gut checks on appropriate writing and communications; guidance on the 2SLGBTQ+ ‘alphabet’ and pronoun usage; diverse casting with campaign partners and ambassadors; and most recently, a charitable Pride Campaign with Annabelle Cosmetics. Starring iconic Canadian drag artist, Kendall Gender, the campaign made big news and raised funds for Rainbow Railroad, a queer Canadian charity.

Strategic Objectives has a long history supporting Pride in Canada, and was the first agency to ever take a beverage alcohol client — Captain Morgan, on a float — to Toronto’s world-famous Pride Parade in 2000 and 2001.

SO Pride Celebration

Living up to our values of diversity, equity and inclusion comes easy at Strategic Objectives when you add in our ultimate value – we are fun.

We love to practice what we preach, and our recent ‘Thirsty Thursday’ Pride celebration at Strategic Objectives is the perfect case in point.

Love was in the air as we cheered on Toronto premier drag artist, Sofonda Cox at our Pride celebration! She got all of us up dancing – what a wonderful way to bring us together to celebrate Pride.

SO Queer Newsletter

Educating our team with ongoing resources is important to our mission as Queer Ambassadors. To this end, we produce a monthly SO Queer Newsletter for our team, highlighting a letter in the ever-expanding 2SLGBTQIA+ alphabet.

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Example of the Queer Newsletter

The newsletter includes definitions, details important historical moments, and provides resources for further learning. This opens the door for questions regarding specific communities and ensures greater understanding of the queer community.

What’s the point? Our goal is to create a comprehensive ‘SO Queer Glossary’ by the end of the year. It will equip us with the knowledge and terminology needed to ensure thoughtful queer messaging.

We are #SOgrateful to celebrate Pride with our thoughtful colleagues and friends. Their support is essential as we spearhead queer initiatives at Strategic Objectives. Though Pride month is swiftly coming to a close, the issues and opportunities that nest in the heart of Pride remain important throughout the year. Pride is a celebration born out of protest, designed to create space for love and acceptance for all and in just a few decades, we’ve made monumental strides. We invite you to SOAR with us to a brighter, more inclusive future.

And always remember, love is love.

Please read on to learn more about our SO Queer Ambassadors, Kabir Singh Shergill and David Marcille.

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