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TIA Team Celebrates: Pride Month

Samuel Butcher
Written By
Samuel Butcher
Published On
Jun 06, 2022
A photo from Toronto Pride, feature a large crowd walking down Yonge Street in Toronto, and 5 people holding large coloured balloon letters that spell PRIDE.

At The Influence Agency, we celebrate all diversity, and that includes LGBTQ2+ and of course Pride Month! We’ve showcased a number of amazing creators throughout the month of June on our @nfluenceagency socials through our Behind The Gram Series, blogs, and more, and now we wanted to turn the tables and allow our amazing team members to comment on what Pride means to them, how they navigate allyship, and much more!

We’ve given our TIA Team staff a series of questions, written by our Executive Producer, Brigitte Truong, and have asked them to answer the three questions that stand out, resonate, or are most important to them when it comes to Pride Month.

Here’s what they had to say!


Questions:

1) What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Pride Month? 

2) In your own words, how would you define “Pride?” 

3) What does this annual occasion mean to you? 

4) What do you value most about being part of the LGBTQ2S+ community? 

5) How do you choose to celebrate Pride Month every year, and what will this year’s celebrations look like? 

6) Tell us about a memorable Pride experience that will forever go down as a MOMENT in your life.  

7) Who, in the LGBTQ2S+ community, is someone you admire and why? 

8) How can brands do better when it comes to inclusion in national or global marketing campaigns? 

9) What can we all respectively do at home to honour and celebrate Pride month?  

10) If you had to choose a walkout song to usher in Pride month your way, which song would you choose?

Answers:

Michael Landry, VP of Strategy

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Pride Month?

Celebration

If you had to choose a walkout song to usher in Pride month your way, which song would you choose?

Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now

How can brands do better when it comes to inclusion in national or global marketing campaigns?

Promote inclusivity and amplify diverse voices even when it’s not June.


Gabby Frank, Lead Photographer

In your own words, how would you define “Pride?” 

Pride is an extremely exciting time! It’s being proud of who you are and celebrating the beautiful LGBTQ2S+ community 🙂 Pride is honouring the Gay Liberation Movement and recognizing the impact we have in the world.

Who, in the LGBTQ2S+ community, is someone you admire and why? 

I admire my cousin, Jess. She’s someone who will speak up for anyone, anywhere, anytime. I have so much love for her and am so proud of everything she is doing for the community and raising awareness of issues worldwide. Jess is an outstanding role model and could become your best friend within seconds. Thank you for being YOU, Jess <3


Tom Yawney, VP of Business Development

What can we all respectively do at home to honour and celebrate Pride month?

To treat people how we want to be treated, and to judge people by the content of their character. If everyone in the world could be their authentic selves without fear of judgment or shame, what a happier and more peaceful place this would be. I think we can all do our parts to give the people around us space to be themselves.

Who, in the LGBTQ2S+ community, is someone you admire and why?

I have played competitive sports most of my life, and I’m a big fan of sports in general. But it also happens to be a place where there is a tremendous amount of progress needed, as it relates to openness and acceptance. I admire Luke Prokop who came out as gay in 2021, becoming the first player under NHL contract to do so. I admire his courage, and I was happy to see the support he received from the hockey community.


Jess Copeland, Brand Director

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Pride Month? 

Inclusivity and Celebration. I’ve always recognized this month as one to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQ2S+ community as well as a symbol of inclusion.

Who, in the LGBTQ2S+ community, is someone you admire and why? 

Raia “Coach” Carey because she is one of the most positive, uplifting, and authentic people I know. Raia chooses to lead with love, empathy, and compassion over everything else. I think everyone could benefit from knowing and learning from someone like Raia. Also, if you don’t already, follow her! (@Coach.Carey

How can brands do better when it comes to inclusion in national or global marketing campaigns? 

The LGBTQ2+ community doesn’t exist only for the month of June. If brands genuinely want to be inclusive within their campaigns, it needs to be a year(s) long effort. I would also say a campaign isn’t just about what appears in front of the camera. Who are the people conceptualizing these campaigns? Who are the key decision-makers? The photographers & videographers? The makeup Artists and stylists? Representation matters at all levels of these campaigns.


Stephanie Palasti, VP of Client Success

Tell us about a memorable Pride experience that will forever go down as a MOMENT in your life. 

My most memorable Pride experience was attending Pride for the first time in 2019.  We worked with Pride Toronto on their campaign that year and attended events throughout the month of June along with the Pride Parade.  The feeling of being there with everyone, celebrating love in all of its forms, and watching the parade and live performances will forever be one of the best experiences of my life!

How can brands do better when it comes to inclusion in national or global marketing campaigns? 

Support causes in the LGBTQ2++ Community and does so all year long instead of just in the month of June.

If you had to choose a walkout song to usher in Pride month your way, which song would you choose? 

Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody


Jessica Moy, Senior Social Media Manager

In your own words, how would you define “Pride?” 

Freedom. The freedom to love who you want to love and to be accepted for who you are.

What can we all respectively do at home to honour and celebrate Pride month?  

To honour and celebrate Pride month at home, it can be as simple as giving your local LGBTQ2+ influencers and communities a follow on Instagram. If you want a suggestion, Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre could be a start (@BuddiesTO). They are the “largest and longest-running queer theatre in the world” who develop and present voices that question sexual and cultural norms. They are all about celebrating differences and on their Instagram, you’ll be introduced to so many local LGBTQ2+ performers, playwrights, and creators. Once Buddies is able to re-open their theatre doors I highly recommend checking out a show or two. 

If you had to choose a walkout song to usher in Pride month your way, which song would you choose? 

Be Me – VINCINT


Noah Parker, VP of Operations

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Pride Month? 

I think about how far we have come as a society is not just respecting, but celebrating our differences and freedom of sexuality, choice, and expression. We have come a long way on this front in my lifetime alone, and yet we still have a long way to go in truly eradicating prejudice towards the LGBTQ2+ community around the world.

Who, in the LGBTQ2+ community, is someone you admire and why? 

I really respect Lil Nas X as a successful artist in the world of hip-hop and rap music – which has historically evoked notions and verbose of homophobia – for unapologetically being open and confident in his sexuality very early on in his career despite going against the grain in a world full of machismo and bravado around what a male rapper is “supposed to be”. He was really the first rapper to really step out of those boundaries and stereotypes, and really can be seen as a validation point and trailblazer for more LGBTQ2+ rappers to follow in his footsteps. 

How can brands do better when it comes to inclusion in national or global marketing campaigns? 

I think inclusivity in both personnel decisions and opportunities for LGBTQ2+ within an organization, as well as with representation in a brand’s marketing and advertising strategy is something that needs to be minded all year round as opposed to the month of June. Too many businesses piggyback the timeliness around pride to show their support and appreciation but it really comes down to a foundational consciousness for equality of representation in the DNA of an organization to affect and impact real change.


What does this annual occasion mean to you?

To me, Pride is about celebration and education. It’s for teaching the world about the history of the community and breaking down barriers that still exist. It’s about bringing awareness of the inequalities that still exist. It’s about having a good time and uplifting the community.

What do you value most about being part of the LGBTQ2+ community? 

I value the relationships I have built over the years with fellow members of the community. Growing up in a small rural area of the UK, it took time to realize that there are other kids out there that feel a little different – discovering the community can literally be a lifesaver and you’ll find friends for life!

Tell us about a memorable Pride experience that will forever go down as a MOMENT in your life. 

The first time I went to Pride was by accident in Miami. I was blown away at the number of families that were there watching the parade and the genuine joy I saw from all the spectators. I learned so much about what Pride is and it was awesome to see the diversity of everyone participating.


Amaara Dhanji, Senior Social Media Manager

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Pride Month? 

Love is the first word that comes to mind when I think of Pride month. The freedom to love, the right to love, and the celebration of love!

Who, in the LGBTQ2S+ community, is someone you admire and why?

There are a lot of people within the community that I admire, but personally, I admire the friends that I know and have come out to me. They are some of the strongest people I know and I have been so privileged to see their journey of acceptance of themselves and how they identify. I really, really admire and love them! 


Danielle Howson, Senior Content Manager

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Pride Month? 

The first word that comes to mind when I think of Pride is Community. People bond over shared experiences, both good and bad. When you’re surrounded by others who have gone through the same or similar experiences as you, it makes you feel seen for your 100% authentic self. Having the ability to find a group of friends like that in your life is a privilege not many people have.

What does this annual occasion mean to you? 

As someone who struggles with imposter syndrome on a daily basis, this isn’t an easy question to answer… but I think that might be the point. Pride is about having the freedom to be unsure, to question, to figure out where you belong. I value that freedom endlessly. And to anyone who is struggling, I see you.

How do you choose to celebrate Pride Month every year and what will this year’s celebrations look like? 

This year’s celebrations will look a little different than in the past. Before, it was an entire weekend of Pride activities. My friends and I would join all the other celebrators on the streets of The Village and have the times of our lives without a care in the world. And while we do have to be a little more careful this year, we’re still going to (safely) gather for a Pride picnic and just enjoy being surrounded by people we love for the first time in over a year.


Jackie Tambosso, Client Success Manager

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Pride Month?

The first word that comes to mind for me when I think of Pride is community! 

How can brands do better when it comes to inclusion in national or global marketing campaigns?

Be as inclusive as possible and support causes, organizations, and people who are part of the LGBTQ2S+ community on an ongoing basis, not just for one month. 

If you had to choose a walkout song to usher in Pride month your way, which song would you choose?

Respect – Aretha Franklin


Elijah-Blue Vieau, Director of SEO

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Pride Month?

It’s technically two words, but the first thing that comes to mind is Self Love.  To me, pride is a great reminder to take the time to love yourself, and all of the unique ingredients that make you who you are. Be proud and shine bright. Come as you are. When we love ourselves, and in turn love each other, we can continue to achieve great things together.

What can we all respectively do at home to honour and celebrate Pride month?

Speaking up with words and actions, especially with those in your family or close circles that might not feel the same way about Pride or the LGBTQ2S+ community that it supports. Being an ally involves communication and participation at all times, not just on select occasions. It means educating yourself and helping to educate others.


Ace Bitar, Client Success Manager

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Pride Month?

LOVE: Listen, Overcome, Value, and Encourage.

In your own words, how would you define “Pride?”

Pride to me means being proud of who you are and celebrating the best part of yourself for the world to see.

What does this annual occasion mean to you?

This occasion means a lot to me because this will be my first year being able to experience and attend Pride as someone in the community. I can’t wait to experience the togetherness and love everyone has told me about.


Samuel Butcher, Creative Director

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Pride Month?

Togetherness. That word embodies Pride the most because LGBTQ2S+ people feel a sense of family and belonging, especially when together during Pride. Pride and the act of celebrating it as someone who identifies as part of the community or as an Ally brings so much pure joy, raw emotion, and excitement, which should always be cherished, no matter what.

How do you choose to celebrate Pride Month every year, and what will this year’s celebrations look like?

After the last two years of the Pandemic, Pride events (here in Toronto) were cancelled. I am looking forward to celebrating it with all of my friends, celebrating my sexuality, and dancing the night away to all the gayest POP bops that we haven’t been able to fully enjoy over the last two years because of the pandemic. I am excited to let loose and be free and hug my friends as tight as possible! I have been going to Toronto pride for the last 12+ years, and I think this year will be the best one yet!

If you had to choose a walkout song to usher in Pride month your way, which song would you choose? 

Want Me by Baby Queen or Colours Of You by Baby QueenThese two songs are featured in the new Netflix original series called Heartstopper; a British coming-of-age romance series developed for Netflix based on the webcomic and graphic novel of the same name by Alice Oseman. Highly recommend you watch this during Pride Month and then play the Spotify Heartstopper: Official Mixtape to get you fired up for all of the festivities in store for Pride 2022 weekend!


We hope you have enjoyed taking the time to read this piece, and think more about what it means to celebrate Pride, how you can celebrate all people during Pride Month, and supporting the LGTBQ2+ communities.


If you’d like to learn more about what we do here at The Influence Agency, feel free to contact us today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Samuel Butcher is the Social Content Manager at TIA. He is passionate about all things creative & content. In his spare time this vegan-foodie can often be seen travelling and soaking up the sun while capturing amazing photography with his keen eye! You can follow him @smbtchr

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Samuel Butcher is the Social Content Manager at TIA. He is passionate about all things creative & content. In his spare time this vegan-foodie can often be seen travelling and soaking up the sun while capturing amazing photography with his keen eye! You can follow him @smbtchr



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