We’re celebrating LGBT+ History Month by highlighting the vibrant individuals who inspire the Thinking Hat team.
It’s no secret that diversity drives creativity, innovation and change. In fact, it’s an absolute essential to both our industry and society.
The LGBT+ community champions diversity and does the necessary work to uphold it. They bravely share stories that help people feel welcome, comfortable and empowered, all while kindly educating allies and the rest of the world on how to be more accepting.
This LGBT+ History Month we’re putting spotlights on LGBT+ figures who have inspired us, helped us learn or helped us feel accepted.
Inspiring Matt Fox, Senior PR Executive
Even today, for black lesbians and gay men in South Africa, it can be life-threatening to be yourself.
I want to celebrate one of South Africa’s most-loved artists, Queen of African Pop, MaBrr Brenda Fassie.
Known for her rock star persona, sexual fluidity and anti-Apartheid activism, Brenda Fassie is a cultural icon who would be flying a Pride flag if she were here today. The genderqueer role models I look back on, like Brenda Fassie or the androgynous Queen of Disco – Sylvester, inspire me to play an active role in normalising queer expression, and to not spend my life limiting how I show my true self to the world.
Inspiring Maneesha Bhangle, PR and Content Executive
I’d like to celebrate the talented rapper Kevin Abstract who’s part of the stereotype defying boyband Brockhampton.
Rap is a genre which has for a very long time refused to embrace anything ‘gay’ with it being deemed as anti-macho and even being used as a slur.
Kevin’s lyrics speak volumes addressing this issue particularly with his single ‘junky’- “why do you always rap about being gay , because not enough n****’s rap and be gay.”
I admire the way he uses his platform to speak his truth whilst paving the way to normalise Hip Hops growing acceptance of the LGBT+ community.
Just Like Us Charity
Inspiring David Segurola, Head of Strategic Communications
I’ve loved working alongside the amazing team at LGBT+ education charity Just Like Us over the last few years – they’re my inspiration for this year’s LGBT+ History Month.
The charity brings student ambassadors into schools to run workshops on LGBT+ diversity and inclusion, using their personal stories to discuss themes such as coming out, gender identity, and homophobic bullying.
We teamed up with Just Like Us, PinkNews and Amazon for the LGBT+ Reading Roadshow, a campaign bringing specially curated books and diversity workshops to secondary schools around the UK. And we can’t wait to get back on the road!
Inspiring Teresa Beeley, Account Manager
Sally Ride was NASA’s first female astronaut, going into space in 1983 and still holding the record as the youngest American Astronaut in space at 32 years old. Her duty was to operate the robotic arm on the Challenger SPAS-1. In 2001, she founded Sally Ride Science, a non-profit organisation which promotes STEM literacy, with a particular focus on getting girls interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
Although she was married to a man until the mid-1980s, by the time of her death in 2012, Ride had been in a 27-year loving relationship with a female partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy.
Ride will be remembered as the first woman to go into space, but her legacy is carving out opportunities for younger generations of women in a challenging industry.
Inspiring Claire Creagh, Senior Digital Strategist
I’m celebrating Munroe Bergdorf, the trans-gender model and activist.
I first heard her on a podcast, and she spoke in such an eloquent and engaging way about BAME and LGBT+ issues, she offered a new level of understanding to me. She inspired me to admit to myself how little I know, and to really make a commitment to listen and learn more from others if I want to be a good ally.
She’s also so bold in her conversations and a bit of a bad-ass, taking on giant brands like L’Oréal and holding them accountable – and succeeding! Not many models have the courage to risk their careers by speaking up.
Inspiring Amaresh Bhangle, Senior PR and Content Executive
I would like to celebrate the YouTuber, Comedian and Talk Show Host, Lilly Singh. Singh has been an inspirational figure for many reasons, but her breaking down walls surrounding diversity in the entertainment industry is something that has to be applauded.
Since posting her first video in 2010, Singh has been a powerful and much needed force in the entertainment industry. Growing up there wasn’t really much representation of Indians in the media outside of the typical stereotypes of call centre clerks and owners of convenience stores (looking at you Apu from The Simpsons!), so seeing a self-made person of colour dominating the scene was something that was really important for my generation.
Since coming out as bisexual in 2019 Lilly Singh has broken even more barriers for her communities, becoming the first bisexual woman of colour to host a late-night show on a national broadcast channel. A huge milestone in an industry which is dominated by straight white men.
Responsible for inspiring Felix Leach, Account Manager
As a big Hip Hop fan, I want to highlight Frank Ocean this LGBT History Month.
As one of the first male Hip Hop and R&B stars to come out openly as LGBTQ+, he’s an iconic figure for the queer community. Making music in an era of rampant homophobia in his industry, including from his own label and bandmates at Odd Future, he opened up a new conversation for young black men around sexuality, paving the way for future artists to embrace their identities.
“Channel Orange”, his seminal debut album that openly addressed male love interests made him a queer icon, and it’s hard not to see its influence in albums like Tyler The Creator’s “Flower Boy”, and in artists like Lil Nas X.
Ocean’s bravery in not conforming in the face of extreme cultural pressures is something to admire and to celebrate.
Beyond these wonderful individuals, we also love working on Diversity projects like the LGBT+ Reading Roadshow – if you want to chat to us about work get in touch!