“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes”, such a profound way to start a conference don’t you think? (all credit to Michael Albert Brown, the founder of MRSPride for this fantastic start.)
I was lucky enough to attend the second annual MRSPride conference ‘Show Up!’ in London a couple of weeks back (blame Covid for the late publishing for this blog!). It proved to be one of the most interesting and thought-provoking days in in my market research career. The conference focused on the need for LGBTQAI+ inclusion and representation not only in research. but much further than that.
The wealth of knowledge and insights that were shared on the stage was impressive and valuable, so trying to streamline my top insights down to a bullet point summary is proving to be a challenge…BUT being a person who NEVER shrinks aways from a challenge, here goes…
Starting with the reality check…
1. I was shocked and saddened to learn that 70% of trans people experience transphobia when accessing health services. Something so basic as healthcare should surely be welcoming and accessible to all, shouldn’t it.
2.Only 63% of those in the LGBTQAI+ community felt that addiction support services, such as alcohol support, were actually supportive – significantly lower than those identifying as cis/heterosexual (82%).
From those figures alone, it’s clear that there is still a lot of work to be done to encourage and motivate a real change in perceptions and inclusion, so when getting out there and talking to people of the LGBTQAI+ community, we need to make sure we’re being inclusive and non-assuming…This moves me, nicely, onto my next two points…
3. Timing your sensitive questions is key in a survey. Asking participants a question that may be so personal to them, and then screening them out can leave them feeling dejected and judged. Clearly, not something we ever want participants to feel – especially participants we really want to hear from!
4. We need to stop trying to categorise people into the “other” box; this can apply to everything, from gender to ethnicity. We need to stop putting other people in such limited boxes and welcome the diversity out there in society!
5.Finally, possibly my favourite point of conference…the word ‘expansionism’. Never heard of it? Neither had I until that day in London, but now I know it and it’s meaning, how can I look back? ‘Expansionism’ (in my very basic layman’s terms) simply means, everyone is included. Instead of the idea of letting different people join an ‘inclusive’ club, why not just expand it? Why not just widen and broaden that so-called “exclusive” group? Why not focus on the similarities we have rather than the differences? The possibilities instead of definitions? ‘Expansionism’ doesn’t take anything from anyone…we are all one and all important; surely that’s something we need to work towards?
Thanks to the fantastic presentations that took to the stage and giving me my five key points, there are definitely some considerations I’ll take on board for future research projects, from thinking about the sample profile to how to engage with those under-represented audiences. Ensuring that everyone feels a part of that expanded group is surely the best and only way forward.