LGBTQ PR Pros Discuss How Their Experiences Shaped Communications

[Editor’s Note: The Museum of Public Relations late last month convened its annual “LGBTQ Experience in Public Relations” event. It was a platform for PR’s LGBTQ leaders to discuss and reflect on the community’s presence at work and in society. Below are edited thoughts from some of the speakers.]

Troy Blackwell, Jr., National Director, Press Advance; Obama White House Alum; Board Member, BPRS-NY & PRSA Tri State

Pride has always been a protest for the LGBTQ community. The celebration was born out of the struggle for equal representation and the need for basic human rights. Not only was being gay illegal, the American Psychiatric Association considered it a mental disorder until 1973. It was the effectiveness of activists, including gay BIPOC, and their PR strategies throughout the gay rights movement, the AIDS crisis and the fight for marriage equality, which gained recognition for us as a social minority group.

As we usher in a new day, PR practitioners and PR firms can be more LGBTQ-inclusive in their communication. PR pros can adopt the use of gender pronouns in email signatures to make sure everyone is addressed accurately and use gender-neutral language when referring to titles…LGBTQ practitioners at agencies and/or in-house can foster creation of an employee resource group to carve out safe spaces and foster a sense of community.

Cindi Creager, Principal, CreagerCole Communications

Having had the incredible opportunity to work in LGBTQI PR for the past 15 years, I stand on the shoulders of PR giants like Cathy Renna, who taught me to do this work. In addition, she showed us the paths yet to pave.

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