Somewhere between 2020’s DEI reckoning and the violent rhetoric queer people are facing in 2023, the level of support provided to the LGBTQ+ community by brands has taken a nosedive. Look no further than the obvious lack of brand-backed Pride events, advertising and charitable donations this year. It’s a turbulent time that calls for organizations to show up and shell out—particularly in the face of adversity—if they aim to be true allies.
It’s one of countless pearls of wisdom shared in this episode of Event Peeps by Kate Wolff (she/her), co-chair/co-founder at LGBTQ+ platform Do the WeRQ, and founder and ceo at Lupine Creative, and Arya Davachi (he/him), experiential producer and programming director at Do the WeRQ. Wolff and Davachi, both members of the queer community, are in the unique position of not only having to navigate a volatile landscape in their personal lives, but feeling the impact on their respective event agencies’ bottom lines.
“I’ve watched revenue disappear. I’ve watched projects die,” says Davachi. “There’s been an absolute pull-back in a way that, as a queer person in the queer economy, feels scary to me. I do feel a bit abandoned by the culture that for so long wanted to be so present for me and so supportive.”
- Experiential in Color + Pride in Events 2023
- How Jägermeister and the Lesbian Bar Project Blended an IRL Bar Tour with a Metaverse Activation
In light of queer-related brand mishaps this year, including the Bud Light and Target controversies, companies have to be willing now, more than ever, to demonstrate their support for a community that consistently has a target on its back, according to Wolff.
“If you aren’t expecting to be met with some sort of adversity, then you’re actually not in action because we’re standing on the front line of a really hard place, and when you join us on that line, you have to hold it,” Wolff says. “You cannot be surprised when there’s backlash because you’re walking into a very toxic and turbulent conversation… Your new and emerging audiences are already sitting on the line with us. So it’s really about potential growth and also survival for brands as we look into the next decade.”
We also talk to Wolff and Davachi about why they love their “gay jobs,” how brands can recover from queer marketing missteps, how to make queer attendees feel seen—and safe—at events, opportunities for marketers who get ahead of the conversational curve and why it’s essential to invite members of the LGBTQ+ community to “come out, come out however they are.”