Event Recap: Connecting with the LGBTQ+ Community

By: Megan Peterson

Earlier this summer PRSA Detroit met at Affirmations – a welcoming space where people of all sexual orientations; gender identities and expressions; and cultures can find support and unconditional acceptance. A place where they can learn, grow, socialize and have fun – in Ferndale.

There, a paneli of three – each heavily involved in the LGBTQ+ community – spoke about societal realities, current market trends, the political landscape and more.

Speakers included Affirmations Youth Program Manager Lilianna Angel Rees, Equality Michigan Deputy Director L. Michael Gipson, and Between the Lines/Pride Source Media Group and Publisher, Co-Publisher Jan Stevenson.

Jan Stevenson

Jan Stevenson

All three panelists discussed the community’s current climate. The most impactful message: PR pros, now more than ever, need to be allies to the LGBTQ+ community.

The second biggest takeaway from the meeting: If you don’t know, ask. If you don’t know what’s acceptable, or how someone prefers to be identified, find out. The trio provided many pieces of collateral to attendees including a NLGJA stylebook, noting the importance of using appropriate titles and phraseology, complete with rationale and elaboration.

Market trends were also shared, including those related to marriage and travel. Marketers, it was communicated, have tremendous opportunities to promote client products and services in these two industries. In fact, Jan Stevenson noted that the LGBTQ+ community has created approximately     $52 million in spend in the wedding industry since the legalization of marriage for same-sex couples.

L. Michael Gipson

L. Michael Gipson

Michael Gipson also reflected on the number of injustices, politically and lawfully, that are taking place currently across America, including violence and discrimination. All speakers advocated for PRSA Detroit chapter members to vote wisely on future legislations in order to be active allies to the LGBTQ+ community.

Many thanks to Affirmations for hosting PRSA Detroit, and to the speakers who educated our group on how to proceed in our careers with knowledge and understanding.

Lilianna Angel Rees

Lilianna Angel Rees

 

Megan Peterson is a Digital Communication Specialist at Tweddle Group, a Detroit Economic Club Young Leader member, a national/Detroit chapter member of PRSA and a PR volunteer for The Lake House in St. Clair Shores.