For the past few months here at Babbel, we – just like lots of other companies – have been working on our internal Pride programme. This has brought up a topic that I wanted to share as food for thought for other workplace teams organising Pride events and campaigns. That is, what we post on our social media channels when it comes to Pride and all of our LGBTQIA events throughout the year.
We have clear guidelines. Our posts either explain current issues – with links to LGBTQIA organisations, showcase our external speakers and performers or give details of what and when our next event will be. We don’t post pictures from our events, we don’t post pictures of our LGBTQIA Babbelonians and we don’t share names.
We’ve had a lot of discussions about what we post and the discussion always highlights the same point: we do not post anything which puts our LGBTQIA Babbelonians or guests at risk. Safety will always be our number one priority.
It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of an event, of the feeling of celebration during Pride month. If you come from or live in a place of relative safety, and see small – and sometimes large – wins for LGBTQIA rights globally in the news, then maybe you can also forget or not understand how things are in other places or communities.
But I think it’s important to remind ourselves that Pride started out as a protest because people in our communities were not safe. And today, as I type this, so many LGBTQIA people are still not safe, either because their home, community or location isn’t safe, or because – as we have seen with the atrocious attacks on trans rights in recent months – places or communities that were once safe, no longer are. So we cannot take any risks.
As a company with Babbelonians of over 75 nationalities, we are acutely aware of the fact that whilst we might feel safe here, that is not the case elsewhere.
News travels, social media is global, nothing you post is ever free from judgement and we can’t control anything once it’s released out to the world. So one picture on Instagram from a fun event at Babbel has the potential to put someone at risk later down the line because they travel to their home country, because a friend of a friend of a friend of their family might see it, because laws and rules change.
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking: “but our staff volunteered to be photographed!” or “how else can we show how LGBTQIA friendly our company is?” or even “but I’m gay and I don’t mind if people take my picture, so why would anyone else mind?” In response, I’d like to ask you to stop and think. Think about how many times you asked the same person for their photo until they finally agreed; think about what other privileges you personally might have that others don’t; think about whether you thought about safety when you asked for volunteers and think about how you can really support your LGBTQIA colleagues, current and potential, to have a great – and safe – experience at work.
Obviously, we have LGBTQIA Babbelonians – in fact we recently started our LGBTQIA network, the “Queer Collective” and we are thriving! We have some awesome Pride events planned for this month that we cannot wait to share with you in our own, Babbel way. If we can be openly LGBTQIA friendly without compromising anyone’s safety, then its possible for others to do it too. So we encourage you to consider this when you create posts or campaigns this Pride month and also to think about it for your next Pride event and for all the Pride events to come.
From all of us at Babbel, we wish you a happy – and safe – Pride month <3