Recentering and (Re)imagining our own Queer-Inclusive Futures.
Updated: Mar 8
How can we in 2023, as leaders and change-makers, re-imagine inclusion efforts in times of chaos and (re)create new organisational cultures that serve and protect those marginalised individuals most affected by inequalities?
By Maylis Djikalou and Jade Fraser
As a global society, 2023 promises to be one of the most challenging years of our modern-day existence. We're currently navigating the combined effects of pandemics, war, political unrest, poverty, natural disasters, an imminent recession, climate change, alongside racial injustices, anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiments... and well, sadly the list goes on.
From our own community research, 'mental health' came out on top as what most concerns LGBTQ+ individuals going into this year, alongside 'the cost of living' and 'trans rights'.
2023 asks us to reflect on how we resist, how we re-imagine, and how we create meaningful strategic change that has an impact on businesses - starting with an approach that places the individual at the centre.
the act or process of altering a reality
There is a dependence between leadership, culture, and inclusion. A lot of companies have macro goals to combat inequality, but we need to help change-makers dig deeper to explore practical ways in which this can be done in real terms.
Transforming the status-quo can not be optional, but how can we, as leaders, find the strength, the resilience and the solutions we need to bring about real sustainable change?
1. We need more disruptive thinking, radical ideas, and the recentering of co-created community-led solutions.
As we are faced with solving these increasingly complex and layered issues on both a global and local scale - we must question the effectiveness of our current tactics. As we search for new solutions and pathways forward it's important that we invest in both 'blue-sky' creative thinking as well as more practical ways to empower and enable people to (re)imagine a more sustainable and inclusive future, where no one feels left behind.
relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something.
"Nothing about us without us" came into the public consciousness for the first time during the 1990s, originating as a slogan used during the Disability Rights movement. However, it has become a more widely-adopted phrase that communicates the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members of the group affected by that policy. This is a cornerstone of the importance of inclusive decision-making.
The current culture wars are pushing polarising narratives which put those shielding LGBTQ+ communities on the back foot, often reacting to the toxic distraction of the hour. But what happens when thought leaders come together to visualise the future, reimagine what's possible, and bask in the rays of intergenerational wisdom to re-focus on the issues at hand, instead of being pulled back into a ferocious whirlwind of division and distraction tactics.
By investing in spaces where leaders can come together and co-create solutions that are community-led, we can gain a deeper understanding of the global challenges we are facing on a daily basis, either at work or in the community, and discover the most effective tools and techniques to target the root cause of these issues within organisations and beyond.
2. We must listen and learn from intersectional global and local perspectives wherever possible.
We cannot forget that people's life experiences can be infinitely varied. The path towards a more inclusive future requires that we first listen to the voices that remain largely unrepresented or unheard.
By centering intersectionality, we commit to understanding individual experiences, so that this complexity is built into the solutions provided in workplaces, and beyond.
Through intra-community research and initiative we are more likely to build organisational cultures that foster inclusion and belonging for all historically marginalised groups.
"When we centre intersectionality, everything is about connection. Connecting what I’m experiencing, leaning into how the same issue might be framed and feel for someone else, and how that comes across in the language through which we can bring these topics forward." - Maylis Djikalou
3. We must see people in their fullness and humanity.
Workplaces that place emphasis on supporting personal as well as professional growth, open up a pathway to understanding how we can move forward as a collective. When employees feel seen in their humanity, they are better placed to resist and break down the layers of bias and discrimination holding them back.
However they cannot do this alone. They must exist in a reality where Leaders lead. If one is to be empowered to make change from within their organisation, they need to feel energised in all other parts of their lives, too. Businesses that make their employees feel seen, while allowing them to heal and grow, will enable their people to feel whole, and therefore more likely to succeed with adding value to the organisation.
"We don't have to separate the parts of ourselves that are otherwise defined as work or home. We can look at ourselves as fully sentient beings that move through spaces and time and who have an important role to play in creating positive social change wherever we find ourselves." - Jade Fraser
4. Keep prioritising Allyship - learning, unlearning and taking action (while removing anything performative).
A fundamental part of embracing allyship work is leaning into the discomfort of unlearning. Throughout history, marginalised, and historically excluded communities have worked in partnership with allies to make necessary gains in the protection of Human Rights, and the advancement of equity and equality.
Now more than ever, as toxic culture wars rage around the world, it's important to recognise that we can all be Allies to each other. We can all mobilise and take action collectively, playing our part in a bigger movement for social change.
True allyship requires action and continuous unwavering solidarity. It is not about convenience or optics - this would be considered 'Performative Allyship', 'Surface-level Activism' or 'Virtue Signalling' - none of which are helpful.
True Allyship also requires us to take personal responsibility to educate ourselves about truths which have been long been denied to us in order to propagate supremist ideology. When the allure of silence creeps in we must reach to uplift those truths so that we're not spectators of subjugation.
"Allyship is such a powerful force because it shows a willingness to fight and advocate on behalf of other people a noble yet necessary human quality. You see everyone benefits when people adopt a genuine ally mindset, one of care, curiosity and commitment: in business we see wellbeing improve we have greater engagement and higher performing teams, which all leads to tangible business benefits of increased innovation, and increased retention." - Jade Fraser
5. We need to harness the power of the collective and create intra-community support systems.
As we step out into a world that’s facing many global challenges it can feel overwhelming for the communities most affected, but also for the businesses who have a collective responsibility to support them and redefine this era for social change. Through intersectional exchanges, we can harness the power of the collective and share expertise on how to mobilise more effectively and create structural, legal and systemic change in businesses and beyond.
It is so important for Queer Leaders and Allies to create bonds across communities, industries and movements as we navigate these challenging times learning about shared experiences and differences, between themselves and others, in an environment specially tailored to them.
We must create community spaces for Leaders, Advocates and Allies to embark on a journey of stimulating thought partnership with other like-minded individuals so that we can be the architects of our futures.
"Leaders and change-makers need to engage both on a journey of self-discovery and development, but also create space for finding joy and support from leaning into, learning from, and connecting with others." - Maylis Djikalou
6. To truly innovate, we must continue to find ourselves, even in the midst of social unrest, uncertainty and chaos.
Innovation, ideation and creativity come with providing both safe and brave spaces for radical thinking, discussion and reflection - placing utmost importance on encouraging participants to hold space for themselves and others.
an environment in which a person can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other harm.
a space that encourages constructive but often challenging dialogue. Recognising difference and holding each person accountable in coming to new understandings.
Reward and encourage the vulnerability of your people so that they can be expansive, exploratory, and courageous in their discovery of self.
"As a community, it's really important we give each other permission to self-inquire. The closer Leaders are to themselves, the more empowered they can become to make a bigger impact outside of their own orbit." - Jade Fraser
7. Become a We Create Space corporate partner - to support you, your leaders and your organisation.
We consult with 100+ Businesses, ERGs and Change-Leaders providing bespoke corporate solutions. Through consultancy we design shared learning experiences, produce DEI insights and craft bespoke content that support individuals with strengthening their roles as change-agents within their communities and organisations.
Together in safe environment we assist clients in building out their toolkits for empowering advocacy, activism, and allyship within their workplace and communities through thought-provoking webinars, workshops, conversations and panel events.
If your organisation is interested to learn more about our services or how we could help, please get in touch with us at email@example.com
While you're here...
Did you know we also organise FREE community events throughout the year? As a community-led social enterprise, we offer a variety of ways to get involved - both online and in person. This is a great way to network and learn more about others' experiences, through in-depth discussion on an array of topics. You can find out what events we have coming up here. New ones are added all the time, so make sure you sign up to our newsletter so you can stay up to date!
View our 2022-2023 Community Survey Findings here.
View our 2023 Community Action Plan here.