Lessons in Pride

By Ed Bowler
June 2024
Ed talks about Pride at Fluid

As one of our managing directors, a creative copywriter and general brand voice bloke, you’d be excused for expecting a flowing and eloquent reflection of our shared DEI commitments and my feelings towards Pride.

So you’ll also be excused for feeling a little disappointed as you scroll into a confession-slash-admission… that I continue to feel inspired, humbled, educated and proud as my colleagues lead the way on behalf of the agency that (I think, just a teency bit) they might love.

First let’s navigate the swirling self-doubt and imposter syndrome, starting with some brutally honest questions for Fluid as a brand, business, employer and team.

Are we the best example of what we could be when it comes to diversity?

No we’re definitely not.

Are we on an honest, transparent and ever-evolving journey to always become better?

Yes, absolutely.

Does our team feel a strong sense of belonging and inclusion in our agency?

I’m proud to say they do.

Does Pride matter to many of them in ways I hadn’t quite appreciated or understood?

Yes, it really does.

Ed talks about what Pride means to him and how business leaders can support their team

Now for the personal lessons and reflections… have I always had an affinity with Pride? No. Not at all.

You see, I’ve always respected it. Largely due to a strong and stubborn belief that the world would be a much better place if everyone was able to be their true selves. But the month / week / day often passes me by.

That’s changed this year. And it’s thanks to the colleagues that make Fluid so brilliant. In particular, the things I’ve learned from them as we discussed how to mark the occasion in a way that would feel a bit more substantial, uniting and unique than adopting the veneer of a rainbowed logo for a few weeks.

Aside from being described rather wonderfully as ‘a big gay Christmas’, these Pride chats have further opened my mind to the experiences that so many colleagues have had, where they’ve simply not felt a sense of safety or belonging before joining Fluid. Where they’ve felt the need to hide themselves. Where they’ve questioned whether they were safe. Repeatedly and unbelievably and horribly regularly.

They all know we’ve got more to do as a business. We’re nowhere near the benchmark or beacon that we’d one day like to be. But in their minds, Fluid’s honest, open and ever-evolving ambitions around inclusion are something to celebrate and promote. Something to be proud of.

Maybe most importantly, the fact they’re willing to share their stories with the wider team (and wider world) encapsulates the very best of what we aspire to be as we keep gently reminding each other to live and breathe our values more boldly every day. Courageous. Honest. Caring. Those three feel particularly relevant.

So this year we’re leaning into all those values, with our people leading the way - whether they’re part of the LGBTQ+ community or not.

That’s why you won’t find us joining the rainbow logos that so often reflect a temporary colour-wash in the corporate world.

Instead we’re doing something a little different. Baring our stories and vulnerabilities to each other and whoever else is interested. And sharing the many big and little ways we’re trying to make Fluid a place where anyone can belong and be their true self. Without a second of hesitation or a moment of regret.

If you have a little poke around our website or socials, it won’t be hard to find inspiration and insights from colleagues much better placed to share them than me. Hell, maybe there’ll be a helpful lesson or two for other business leaders too.

Visit our Fluid Pride page