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Celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month in the UK

Jamie talks about the significance of LGBTQ+ History Month and recognizes that while there is still some work to do, we must celebrate the achievements made to date and how far the LGBTQ+ community has come.

Jamie Barrell
Jamie Barrell

In February, LGBTQ+ History Month is celebrated in the UK. For me, this is a time for LGBTQ+ people to take a look back in history and see how far the community has come and recognize those who paved the way for us to have the rights that we have today. This month is not only important for our community but also for those who are not, it is a time to learn, a time to listen, and a time to embrace those who may be different from you.

The most important time in LGBTQ+ history for me is every time a country decriminalizes homosexuality or legalizes same-sex marriage. It is still illegal to be LGBTQ+ in 70+ countries and this makes it even more important that throughout February we not only look back, but we look forward to all the work that still needs to be done. We need our allies to support us and advocate for us so that we can create change and live our lives as free and as equally as possible.

I have been so fortunate to lead Égalité (Publicis Groupe’s BRG for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies) for the UK for 2 years now. The people I have met, the events we have put on, and the opportunities that have come my way have made my time working with the BRG so rewarding. Last year I was shortlisted in the Top 10 Future Leaders category at The British LGBT Awards 2020 which was a very surreal but proud moment for me. Inclusion and Diversity is such a passion of mine and with the help of our amazing Égalité board members, we hope to continue to create an impact through education, community outreach, advocacy, and business development. We want all employees to feel like they can truly be their authentic selves within the workplace and embrace who they are.

“It is still illegal to be LGBTQ+ in 70+ countries and this makes it even more important that throughout February we not only look back, but we look forward to all the work that still needs to be done.”

Publicis Sapient has given me and other employees a platform to drive such amazing and thought-provoking events. Here’s a list of what we were able to achieve in 2020:

•       Introduced Gender Neutral Toilets in Publicis Sapient London Office

•       LGBTQ+ History Month Email Communications Campaign

•       Pride Inside Global Program (1,700 attendees)

•       Formed UK Board

•       6 impactful panel discussions, including Queer Black Lives Matter, Are We Being Kind to the LGBTQ+ Mind?, Can Data Be an Ally? and Transgender Day of Remembrance

•       4 Social Events

•       BRG Collaborations, e.g., Egalite x EMBRACE: Supporting Black Queer Organizations

•       Raised £1096.00 for World AIDS Day and the National AIDS Trust

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”  – Audre Lorde

Jamie Barrell
Jamie Barrell
Learning & Talent Development Lead
Jamie is based in our London office and has been leading Égalité across Publicis Groupe for 2 years. Jamie is extremely passionate about Inclusion & Diversity and spends his spare time reading material on these topics. He is also obsessed with miniature sausage dogs with hopes to own one in the future. Jamie was born in the UK but grew up in South Africa and moved back almost 10 years ago (definitely not for the weather).

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