June 14, 2023

Pride Month: LGBTQ in Australia from a Gen Zer’s lens

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Pride Month in Australia is celebrated in June. So for this month, we are speaking to our Australia Igniter Angus to explore a bit more of LGBTQ landscape in Australia and how he sees the culture there.

Angus, Australia

Architect student. Gap year traveller and explorer. Member of LGBTQ community in Sydney.

A lot of brands were literally just sticking a rainbow flag on their product and being like Happy Pride Month! And that's it. It comes off as really inauthentic!

Hi Angus! Please tell us a bit about yourself!

Hi, I’m Angus, 22 years old. I’m from the East Coast of Australia, near Brisbane.

I am gay and I came out in 2018. Currently on my gap year travelling through the UK and other European countries. I have originally studied architecture but deferred to work and travel. By now my main interest is travelling and I chose to do that to have time to understand what I am going to do with my life. I want to figure out my new career goals and where I want to settle down.

What does LGBTQIA+ mean for you?

For me, LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual, with the "+" symbolizing inclusivity for other sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions. It is an umbrella term that includes a diverse range of identities and experiences within the spectrum of human sexuality and gender.

How would you describe LGBTQ culture in Australia?

Australia has made a lot of effort in improving LGBTQIA+ rights over the past five years. One of the significant milestones was the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2017 through a national postal survey. This shows the support for equality and love, starting a social change in Australia.

Since then, Australia has continued to strengthen the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals. Anti-discrimination laws, gender identity, and intersex status, ensuring equal treatment including employment, education, and public services.

My personal experience is also quite similar. Nowadays, it is not so difficult as five years ago, when I first figured out about my sexuality. The development varies across different areas. In big cities, people are in general more open minded compared to smaller places. In where I’m from, it is still difficult, people are really conservative. I would say, it's getting better in general, but there's still a lot of work to be done. I have my family and friends on my side which is good.  

How do you see the difference of LGBTQ culture in Australia compared to the UK?

While Australia has made a lot progress, regional differences exist within the country as I said before. Some states and territories have been more proactive in enacting LGBTQIA+ introducing laws that can support us.

Comparing Australia with the UK, both nations have made a lot of improvements in our rights. The UK legalized same-sex marriage in 2014,preceding Australia, and has implemented comprehensive anti-discrimination laws. Both countries continue to work towards fostering inclusive societies, with ongoing efforts to address remaining disparities and challenges. The UK seems to me have a more developed LGBT culture, we can see more respect and more freedom to express one’s true feelings in public. That is what I am feeling while travelling in the UK.

Have you experienced any challenges in terms of your sexuality or gender identity?

Not really. For me, being gay was initially the toughest thing in the world, and coming out was a real mental challenge for me. However, now that I have been out for years, I couldn't care less about it.

I believe that it doesn’t matter if I like a guy or a girl. There are way more significant issues in the world than one's sexuality.

June is Pride Month in Australia! A time to celebrate the LGBTQA+ community. What’s your feeling about it?

June is Pride Month in Australia, a time to celebrate the LGBTQA+ community. I love Pride Month celebrations and think it's a great thing for everyone, even the people from outside the community. It has evolved from a parade to a celebration of being alive and having more rights. Pride Month is a celebration of love and acceptance, allowing people to love who they want.

This provide a support for LGBT people and help people outside from community understanding us. It also gives the older generation like our parents an opportunity to come around to it. Pride Month is a big party that has a positive impact throughout the year.

In Australia, various parades and events are organized to celebrate and support the LGBTQIA+. The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney is the biggest parade, attracting thousands of people from around the world. It began as a protest march for equal rights and has now become a celebration of diversity and inclusivity.

Other pride parades and events in Australia include Pride Marches in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. These events feature colourful floats, music, and community stalls, creating a fun and inclusive atmosphere. It is also a chance to connect with other people going through similar experiences. Attending these parades is sure to bring happiness.

Is there any brand that does a great LGBTQ+ campaign?

I think Absolute Vodka is doing a great job! They have been involved in many social and cultural initiatives over the years to support LGBTQ+ rights and equality. Tome, they truly supports the community rather than just put a rainbow flag. They believe in inclusivity, diversity, and equal right.

Asa supporting partner of Sydney World Pride 2023, Absolut initiated ‘Absolute Pride tribe’, they invited people to House of Absolut: a touring LGBTQIA+ celebration that unites the people with experiences and parties across Sydney, as curated by LGBTQ artists such as Paul Mac, the Dollar Bin Darlings, Vetta Borne, Sean Miley Moore.

What advice would you give to brands that want to get more involved with LGBTQIA+ consumers?

I’d like to share this video which I think the Vlogger Matt explained very well what kind of  campaigns would put us off. For example, Burger King launched “Pride Whopper” campaign last year with “two equal buns” —either two top buns or two bottom buns —to promote “equal love and equal rights”. Burger King said in the post that the new burger’s “little twist” is “meant to put a smile on our faces and to remind us to treat each other with respect and peace.” Many criticized the company, arguing that the joke was offensive and an example of “rainbow washing” — the practice of companies showing surface-level support for LGBTQ+ identifying people without any specific action that could improve their lives. Another one, is a hat supporting Trump and at the same time supporting LGBT, it doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s important to know with who you are talking about and make sure the brand and everything goes accordable.

I think companies must be authentic and involve LGBTQ people in campaigns. A lot of brands were literally just sticking a rainbow flag on their product and being like Happy Pride Month! And that's it. It comes off as really inauthentic! Brands need to understand our life, our challenges, our efforts and create something that represents us. Look at Absolute and you can understand more where is your public and how to help and engage with them.

Genuine support should extend beyond taking gestures or marketing campaigns. Brands should align their actions, values, and practices with inclusivity. Collaborate with local LGBTQIA+ organizations to understand community needs and support initiatives at the grassroots level. Financially support LGBTQIA+ organizations and initiatives to empower them and further their impact.

Would you like to share your stories with us?

Please contact Fer for more information:f.dossantos@addverve.com


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