PRIDE MONTH – Celebrating the Courage To Be True To Yourself

20 July 2021

PRIDE MONTH – Celebrating the Courage To Be True To Yourself

The month of June is globally celebrated “Pride Month”. Perhaps you’ve noticed more rainbow colors everywhere?
It is a time when people around the world celebrate diversity and show support for LGBTQIA+ rights and community. Various events, movements and campaigns take place, calling for change in order to create a society where people of all gender identities and sexual orientations can “be themselves,” with pride.

In celebration of Pride Month, we, TBWA\HAKUHODO held a month-long internal event “PRIDE MONTH – Thinking on Being Myself,” to learn, think and discuss together about the LGBTQAI+ community, about diversity, and the courage to be true to yourself.

「Peace Pirates」 presents – PRIDE MONTH

Following “Gender Week” in March, “PRIDE MONTH” was organized by Peace Pirates – a diversity promotion working group formed by voluntary members.
Divided into the three steps of “Knowing, Understanding, and Taking Action”, the goal of the event was for each individual to take action by learning, contemplating and understanding diversity, identity, and LGBTQIA+ through a variety of content, including Disruptor Series, training, discussions, and weekly letters.

PRIDE MONTH – Celebrating the Courage To Be True To Yourself

According to the post-event survey, about 95% answered that there was a “change in their awareness”.
Some participants shared heartfelt comments with Peace Pirates saying, “Pride Month made me realize that I don’t have to be actually LGBTQ+ to talk and think about this topic,” or “I now feel closer and related to LGBTQ+ people – it’s a huge change for me.”

In his message to all members, our COO Chris Iki expressed his thoughts on PRIDE MONTH as following:
“PRIDE seemingly focuses on issues around LGBTQIA+, but at the core it’s really about accepting and embracing “differences” across humans. It’s OK to have different preferences in terms of lifestyles, sexual orientation, identity and beliefs. But, it’s NOT OK to discriminate, degrade, exclude and alienate simply based on “differences”. If anything, this is the one thing I hope every one of you took away from the discussions and activities from this month.
While PRIDE MONTH may be celebrated only for a month, the notion of PRIDE is something that we should have in our hearts and minds throughout the year. I’m an ally…are you?”

【Contents of TBWA\HAKUHODO “PRIDE MONTH” (※some are omitted)】

<Knowing> DEI Seminar – Let’s talk about Diversity

In order to understand the themes of LGBTQIA+ and “self identity” that PRIDE MONTH focus on, we started off the month with a company-wide training session on DEI. With the highest participation rate among all sessions during the month, we talked about the importance of “psychological safe spaces” in teams, and “unconscious bias” in our daily life through examples from advertising.
Participants’ comments include: “I was able to understand clearly that DEI is not an incidental condition, but a must,” and “It was a reminder to myself that mutual understanding is the most important thing in a team.”

<Understanding>Disruptor Series

PRIDE MONTH – Celebrating the Courage To Be True To Yourself

Guest: Makeup artist, buddhist monk KODO NISHIMURA

Theme: “Myself & Creativity”

Kodo Nishimura, with his many faces as a makeup artist, monk, and LGBTQ+ activist, shared his journey to finding his own identity. In his life, Kodo says that “getting information”, “meeting people”, and “going to various places” were the three key ways to find and liberate his true self.
In the latter half of the talk session, he talked about what he tries to pay attention to on a daily basis in order to be creative, and his thoughts on advertisements that encourage people, giving us an opportunity to rethink the importance of inclusive and positive messaging.


Theme: “The Growth of Rainbow Pride Parade – Becoming a PRIDE Branding Platform”

Shinya Yamagata, who was one of the founding members of “Tokyo Rainbow Pride” and currently serves as an advisor of NPO Tokyo Rainbow Pride, has grown Tokyo Rainbow Pride from a small event to a huge platform of corporate sponsorships.
From his story we could deepen our understanding of the importance of creativity in changing people’s perspective and moving society forward by being “ally” who protect the psychological safety of minority people.

<Taking Action> Discussion sessions

PRIDE MONTH – Celebrating the Courage To Be True To Yourself

Theme:TH Library × Peace Pirates Live!「LGBTQIA+C ー Books to Read in an Age of Diversity!」

TH Library, a group of book-loving TBWA\HAKUHODO members and Peace Pirates, a group dedicated to promoting diversity, collaborated for a “book club” session introducing books and culture that help people to learn and think about LGBTQIA+ and diversity!
In the session five guests from various departments recommended a book that they would like to read in this age of diversity. We discussed LGBTQIA+ from the different perspectives of the guests, including music, manga, history, fashion, or Netflix contents.

Participants commented, “It was interesting to see how each person’s “likes” were the entry point to the diversity discussion,” “It was very stimulating to see so many different people delve into a certain issue through different filters,” and “I got to know so many books that I would not have discovered on my own – so excited to flex my mind and try new books.”

Advertising is something that is seen by so many people and has the power to change people’s perspectives. That is why advertising agencies are required to know and understand that there are various “differences” and to take action. Through creativity and advertising, we at TBWA\HAKUHODO will strive to create a world where everyone is safe to be true to themselves.

We will continue to address not only a variety of DEI issues – please stay tuned for our continuous efforts and action!

Communication Team (