The LGBTQ Experience In Public Relations

Today, The Museum of Public Relations organized first of its kind event titled ‘The LGBTQ Experience in Public Relations: Stories that Shaped Our Profession, Our Values, and Our Future’ in honor of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall Uprising. The event that took place at Wells Fargo had the panel explores how PR was utilized to frame the narrative and drive action in the gay right’s movement over the last half century while also addressing how far the industry has to go to protect gay and lesbian professionals from being discriminated at work place.

Stonewall Uprising, also known as the Stonewall Riots was a series of riots between the New York City police and the Stonewall Inn gay bar patrons that began on June 28th, 1969. Fighting the stigma behind LGBTQ and the community’s prolonged unjust treatment, the riots which were a response to police’s raid on the gay club, paved way to many others in United States and from around the world joining the fight and eventually, the formation of Gay Liberation Front: group that advocated for equal gay community. On riot’s one year anniversary, June 28th 1967, the first gay parade was organized and eversince, the gay right’s movement is honored. And this year, The Museum of Public Relations, brought an exclusive panel discussion that forwarded Stonewall Uprising’s mission of uplifting the LGBTQ community.

In her report, “We are people, not transactions”: Trust as a precursor to dialogue with LGBTQ publics, Erica Ciszeck, stated how despite 10 million American adults identify as LGBTQ, and LGBTQ millennials rising from 7.3% in 2017 to 8.1% in 2018, organizations still need to figure out how to talk to LGBTQ customers. Erica, who would attend the event, said, “The need of the hour is to make the PR industry more inclusive and encourage a conducive environment for the LGBTQ community.”

In his speech, Scott Widmeyer added that “Today and in the near future, our sector in PR and communications can make a huge difference in helping thought leaders, pharma, government communicating important messages about their products and their and issues that are inclusive, that are thoughtful and that are progressive.”

The panelists, who themselves faced challenges as LGBTQ professionals, highlighted how bias still exist in the public relations industry despite its drive to achieve greater diversity. The panel composed of PR professionals from a wide range of generations, ethnic backgrounds and geographies. Following the keynote speaker: Scott Widmeyer, Chief Strategy Officer, Finn Partners, the panelists who took the discussion forward were: Troy Blackwell, director, PRSA-NY Big Apple Awards, Chiqui Cartagena, author, former senior vice president, Political and Advocacy, Univision, Del Galloway (host and master of ceremonies), vice president, Communications, Wells Fargo, Jim Joseph, global president, Burson Cohn & Wolfe, Drew McCaskill, senior vice president, Global Communications, Nielsen, Cathy Renna, managing partner, Target Cue, Bob Witeck, founder and president, Witeck Communications, Dr. Brenda Wrigley, associate professor, Curry College and Emerson College.

Post learning from the experiences and never told before personal stories of the above mentioned distinguished leaders and hearing their views on the topic, the attendees got the opportunity to engage in a networking reception.

Thank you everyone who attended and also ones who watched the event live on Facebook. Here are the pictures from the event: