At the back of the court ruling in 2018 decriminalising homosexuality in India, the first edition of the Times Out & Proud campaign was launched with a mission to build a more inclusive and equal society where the LGBTQ+ community can live without fear and discrimination. This campaign went on to set a new reference point in both reader engagement and global recognition.
Bombay Times in collaboration with Pride Circle and FCB India is now launching the second edition of the landmark campaign, titled ‘Out & Proud @Work.’ The follow-up campaign highlights one critical and oft-overlooked aspect of their lives: the issue of earning a livelihood. The community faces different forms of prejudice at and outside the workplace that marginalises its potential, qualifications, and/or personality, and leaves them underpaid, unnoticed, and unwanted.
‘Bombay Times Out and Proud @Work’, will use inspirational stories to make the point about the discrimination faced by the LGBTQ+ and the need for a fair and inclusive workplace. The partnership with Pride Circle will bridge the gap between job seekers and available employment opportunities, creating a more inclusive workforce. The initiative also seeks to involve those beyond the LGBTQ+ community by encouraging open dialogue on this important subject.
The initiative will be amplified across print, television, and digital platforms. The campaign film for ‘Bombay Times Out & Proud @Work’ takes place in a company town hall and features Akshay Verma, Co-founder, Fitpass, highlighting how discrimination seeps into our workplaces. The film has been created by FCB India, and leaves viewers with a burning question: “Are we truly inclusive?”
Commenting on the Bombay Times Out & Proud @Work campaign, Neeti Chopra, Brand Director, Times Metro Supplements and The Economic Times, said, “As many working professionals chart their careers, those in the LGBTQ+ community are lost in the shadows simply because of their gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation. With the launch of ‘Bombay Times Out & Proud @Work,’ we hope to rally the ecosystem and all its stakeholders to be more inclusive and welcoming of this community. Bringing important issues to the fore and diverse perspectives to address this is a tangible way of driving change. We have seen time and again that our readers are enthused by such initiatives and come out strongly to support them.’’
Speaking about the campaign, Swati Bhattacharya, Creative Chairperson, FCB India, said, “There’s no form of violence more subversive than financial violence. And there’s an unbearably high incidence of it on the LGBTQ+ community in India. When we deny someone a livelihood, we deny them a life – and that’s what this bias at work across India’s workplaces is doing to thousands every day. The Bombay Times Out & Proud @Work campaign isn’t just a call for conversations, it’s a call to action – which is why we’re not starting this campaign at the beginning of Pride Month, but at the beginning of the financial year.”
Speaking about the initiative, Srini Ramaswamy, Co-founder, Pride Circle said “24 years on from the first pride march in India, and over 4 years of decriminalising Section 377 of IPC, the efforts of LGBT+ equity & inclusion are far from over. Even today the members of the community persistently face discrimination, harassment, bullying, microaggressions, and even rejection from jobs despite having the necessary skills and education. One way to help address these is by embracing authentic allyship, both as individuals and as organizations. Pride Circle plays that role and advocates and creates an environment for people to be their true authentic selves. We believe in empowering the LGBTQ+ community through skilling, employability, and entrepreneurship programs while enabling organizations to foster a culture of belonging.”