I believe part of our collective journey to ending systemic racial prejudice is white people taking the time to own, understand and take action to rectify the wrongdoings of our past and present.
For the white LGBTQ+ community, it is no different.
In an industry where 94% of British journalists are white, I realised quickly that this vast inequality and misrepresentation does not discriminate when it comes to LGBTQ+ media. When I took on the role of CEO of GAY TIMES, I also found myself in an overwhelmingly white workforce.
Although our organisation made major steps in profiling the stories of Black LGBTQ+ People and Queer People of Colour, we knew these needed to be told by more Black LGBTQ+ People and Queer People of Colour.
Although we made steps in hiring more project-based LGBTQ+ Black and QPOC creatives, we knew the make-up of our core, long-term workforce needed to diversify further. Recent events immediately highlight the need for transparency in this journey.
Today – I want to affirm our commitment to better represent the diverse nature of our global audience in our staff and nurture the future generation of diverse queer talent. This is something both I, and all GAY TIMES employees are fiercely passionate about.
Our global audience is truly diverse – LGBTQ+ people across 180 different countries enjoy, learn from and share our media. Although we started this journey many months ago, today, we are renewing our commitment to accurately reflect the make-up of our audience across our teams. We will do this by continuing to both commission and directly employ more Black LGBTQ+ people and Queer People of Colour.
I am also making a commitment today to publish our own impact in editorial diversity – focussing on our content, production and editorial make-up and diversity in commissions – no later than the end of 2020. A first for the LGBTQ+ media industry – this will continually update our audience on the steps GAY TIMES is actively taking in our commissioning, hiring and development processes.
Beyond our core staff, I also want to take this opportunity to address the lack of opportunity for younger diverse talent to develop their media careers because of the over-reliance on low or non-paid interns in our industry. A system that undoubtedly favours white, cis-gendered privileges.
Today, I am also announcing a separate, multi-year internship program, where we will invest over £100,000 into future queer talent specifically for Trans & Non-Binary youth and Queer youth of Colour.
GAY TIMES: FUTURE NOW is a rolling internship programme designed to nurture talent with London-Living-Wage pay and travel subsidies. It launches today for new interns starting July 2020.
To the existing people in our company, I want to thank you for your relentless dedication to this mission and for shaping a new future standard for LGBTQ+ media.
At GAY TIMES, our mission has been, and always will be, to educate, inform and inspire LGBTQ+ people to live to their truest, highest self. A mission we know will help our diverse community change the world for the better.
Finally, I want to call on the predominantly white LGBTQ+ magazines, media organisations, Pride committees and boards to join us and make a commitment to change.
This is my published commitment as the leader of a recognised media organisation – and a statement that I have always been, and will continue to be held accountable to.
CEO, GAY TIMES