Pride Year Interview
Even if our blog article on the subject of Pride Months was created with contacts from the LGBTQIA+ community, it is of course only one way of looking at things. That's why it was our team from STOP THE WATER WHILE USING ME! a concern not only to write about the community, but also to talk to it. For example, about what contribution companies can make today to support the LGBTQIA+ community all year round. In our interview, we spoke to our former colleague and long-time companion Jana Bier about rainbow socks, activist role models and the CSD.
Where do you think the LGBTQIA+ community stands today? What has already been achieved and what still needs to be done?
phew Good question that probably everyone would answer differently - depending on the social environment and - quite banal - place of residence. I think a lot is already going in the right direction in the big melting pots of this world. Our community receives the attention it needs for important (political and social) issues and support from a wide variety of corners, such as educating brands and companies like you. Unfortunately, tolerance towards any kind of sexuality can end as soon as you reach the next (large) city limit. Therefore, in my opinion, the educational work should be started much earlier, namely exactly where people meet for the first time, collect their first social experiences or learn "what is right and wrong". The educational institutions in our country must be held much more responsible and give every child a picture of society from the very beginning that does not date back to 1990. If a child is given the feeling early on that it is allowed to be as it is and is therefore just as valuable as all the other children, and if sexuality were no longer an issue that someone had to "out" about, then we would be in such a society have to deal with much less suffering in adulthood.
In your opinion, why is it not enough for companies to color their logo in bright colors once a year?
I find it strange that our community is "celebrated" (reduced to a rainbow) once a year. For 11 months, most brands and companies don't give a damn about how they create an inclusive, anti-sexist, feminist (...the list goes on) place for the LGBTQIA+ community where every employee feels comfortable and safe. And then comes June, and boom: everyone is suddenly so open and, uh... colorful!? Clowns are colourful. Our community represents diversity, openness, tolerance, respect and above all love. Aren't these values that companies should take up the flag instead of coloring a logo for four weeks? Only to then go completely "back to business" again from July 1st, thus suggesting that everything is now going "normal" again.
What can companies do to bring about real change?
If companies want to do something for the LGBTQIA+ community in the long term, diversity should not be a summer mood, but a basis of their own corporate culture. There are enough options - starting, for example, with gender-sensitive language that makes everyone feel addressed, seen and respected.
It is also important to offer members of the LGBTQIA+ community a platform all year round and not just book the queer influencers (if at all) in June to market meaningless Pride articles. It is not difficult to tell from the outside whether a company really invests a lot of work, time or money (e.g. in organizations) to support the LGBTQIA+ community permanently - and who just wants to be there and appear tolerant.
What commitment would you wish for from each individual?
In most cases, it starts with realizing that there will still be discrimination against a sexual minority in Germany in 2021. Recognizing one's own privilege as a heterosexual person and not being exposed to this discrimination, and working to ensure that everyone (oh yes, utopian: in this world) feels the same way, would be an important step for every individual. I keep meeting people who can't imagine having to justify their own sexuality. Or even to be excluded or to experience violence. There is a lack of empathy to understand how it must feel to hide one's own sexuality, to deny it or even never to be able to live it out for fear of the points mentioned. Being aware of this fact and allowing a brief change of perspective is a basic requirement for an open dialogue, which society always needs.
How do you feel about the CSD yourself? Go or no go?
GO. Diversity and love should always be reasons to take to the streets, demonstrate and celebrate together. It is a visibility that is still needed in this society that there are infinitely many people who belong to or support the LGBTQIA+ community. As far as branding or even political party appearances are concerned, what has already been said applies: We need deep, honest openness and tolerance - no rainbow washing .