Campaign US- Whats it like to be gay in adland? Industry insiders share Campaign US- Whats it like to be gay in adland?
By Lindsay Stein | June 15, 2018
Ad execs offer takeaways from when they started their careers to now.
With Pride Month in full swing, Campaign US chatted with a few industry professionals to hear their stories about being members of the LGBTQ community in the ad industry.
For the most part, the executives say adland is a welcoming, safe place for gay people, but they offer a few ideas for how the industry can improve and become even more inclusive.
See their answers below.
Michael Houston, Worldwide CEO, Grey
Has your experience as a member of the LGBTQ community in the advertising changed at all from when you started your career? If so, how? If not, why not?
When I started in the business I wasn't a member of the LGBTQ community so, yes, I'd say my experiences have evolved over the span of my career. I'm thankful that when I did come out, I worked in an agency and in a business where it really didn't matter to anyone other than me.
In the business of creativity, the things that make one different are equally those things that make one beautiful and valuable. So, the minute our industry stops actively seeking diversity in its broadest sense, we’re dead in the water. Our drive to diversify is perpetual and if we're doing our jobs right, we'll never get there. Only when we think of quotas is there an end point, while genuinely living an ethos of inclusion is dynamic and ever-evolving.
Do you think more needs to be done in order to make members of the LGBTQ community feel welcome in adland or do you think the industry is already where it needs to be in that regard?
Specifically regarding LGBTQ people "feeling welcome" in adland, I can only think of a handful of industries that might be more welcoming than ours. While I may be on the side of disproportionate good luck, I've only encountered open-minded colleagues and clients in my career. I'd like to believe my personal experiences are not unique, rather indicative of a gay-friendly industry.
I'm looking forward to the day when we stop analyzing how open we are to specific groups of people and start simply analyzing how open we are. Full stop.
Jun 15, 2018