I was fortunate to attend an event about 2 weeks ago put together by Shelley Spector and the Museum of Public Relations celebrating "The LGBTQ Experience in Public Relations: Stories that Shaped our Profession, Our Values and Our Future."
In case you want to learn more about the Museum of Public Relations, you can read a past Panel interview with Shelley here:
What made this particular event so interesting was that it was the first event celebrating the LGBTQ PR movement. Shelley shared:
“In the textbooks, it’s the story of three white men…and this is something that needs to be corrected. It’s a story we need to hear, and to preserve. At the Museum of Public Relations, we believe a more inclusive history of our field can attract and retain a more diverse slate of young people, and that’s one of our goals tonight.”
In the keynote, Scott Widmeyer, Chief Strategy Officer, Finn Partners shared his insights and experience:
“And to think, 40 years ago I was beginning my career in state & national politics…this was still a time when gay people were not public about their sexual identity in the workplace…back in the 70s, It was a quiet conversation people had. Fast forward today, I’m reminded of that old slogan, “you’ve come a long way, baby!”… But there’s still progress to be made.”
His speech touched on the pivotal Stonewall movement, 50 years ago:
“Thanks to Stonewall, our community began to coalesce…we have to go back and thank those pioneers who really started the movement from Stonewall. Local groups formed, newspapers began to proliferate, and in 1970, the first pride parades started.”
And how history tied into what's possible today:
“Tonight, it’s also important we thank pioneering organizations like the National Gay & Lesbian Taskforce. Then HRC in 1980, GLAAD in 1985, and Chiqui & Cathy who will be speaking later were very involved in building GLAAD. And also the Victory Fund in 1992. The work of these groups and others at the local level to organize around transgender healthcare, anti-bullying, and more…a small group of individuals leading the way, igniting the movement, and creating supporting organizations, that really sums up into the 1990s.”
His key message?
“Do not give up. You must be spirited, convincing and truthful to clients, giving them the best guidance possible. Keep advocating.”
The entire evening was educational, and featured such accomplished professionals as Chiqui Cartagena, Del Galloway, Cathy Renna, Bob Witeck, Troy Blackwell, Dr. Erica Ciszek, Jim Joseph, Drew McCaskill, and Dr. Brenda Wrigley.
You can view the entire event as an archived livestream (*presentations start around 11:30 in) here.