Pride: The journey and the destination
It’s June. And every year, the month of June is known to people across the globe as Pride Month, a month where LGBTQ history is celebrated. For countless people, especially those of the LGBTQ community, having pride in who you are entails an arduous process of learning to be proud of your identity in the first place.
Although June commemorates the destination of LGBTQ Pride, less credit is given to the journey that many have taken (or are still on) to get there. It’s a long process of self-discovery, acceptance and eventually, self-love; and as the saying goes, “It’s the journey, not the destination”. For many who take on this journey, meeting various people along the way is what teaches them the most about themselves and the world. In other words, diversity enriches our lives with new perspectives and solutions to challenges.
The journey within Distilleri
Throughout its own journey as an agency, Distilleri remains a diverse place – not just in ethnicity, gender or sexuality, but as an interdisciplinary agency where our abilities often intersect. In the event of a disagreement, we talk it out and listen actively to each other, in order to understand each other’s point of view and find a common ground. During brainstorms, each person’s unique background shapes the ideas they contribute. It’s this diversity within the agency that lets our solutions resonate among a range of clients and audiences.
Take New Balance’s Pride collection, for instance – imagine if we didn’t include LGBTQ perspectives for a PRIDE initiative. Instead, the conversations held between LGBTQ and straight voices in the same room formed so many new learning points for everyone during our brainstorm, that we ended up recreating that moment for the campaign itself. If we couldn’t embody the meaning of diversity, New Balance’s brand philosophy of being “fearlessly independent” would have never been truly realised.
Then there was TADA, a ride hailing service that prides itself in putting its drivers first. The vast majority in the room were simply passengers, so it wasn’t easy trying relate to drivers – until those of us who had first-hand experience in the gig economy spoke up. In overcoming the learning curve of elevating a brand with a driver-centric selling point, we were able to craft a message that made drivers feel seen, while giving passengers the confidence to support an ethical service that gets them to their destination on time.
Those were just two examples of how we’ve had to answer tough questions, even do some mental gymnastics to derive distilled solutions, and the differences we found intimidating ended up teaching us valuable lessons. By embracing these differences and understanding each person’s abilities and values, we create and reinforce systems of support. That’s our way of being proud of our hires, our talents, and our future.
As people, we’re inherently apprehensive of what we haven’t encountered, but facing the unknown and rethinking our status quo is how we grow. Similarly, Pride Month is a celebration of not just differences, but the adversity it takes in order to reach that goal of Pride. Pride in being born different, feeling different, living different; for the LGBTQ community, this comes at a heavy price.
Pride Month isn’t solely about the destination, it’s also a reminder that being proud is a constant journey; we’ve made great progress but there’s always more to learn and achieve. Rising to the challenge of acknowledging our rights and wrongs, successes and failures – that’s the key to carrying conversations and inciting continuous positive change, towards an inclusive society that welcomes everyone for who they are.