A Talk With Ben And Sion: Influencers With Real Impact
For those of us who are masochists and want to find ways to be jealous of someone’s traveling lifestyle, Sion and Ben (the @theglobetrotterguys) are perfect examples. This couple is adventurous, exuberant, and proud of who they are. From their travels and true experiences that embrace the variety of adventures in the LGBTQ+ community, who could better do it than these two incredible people who embrace their own truths?
Sion and Ben are year-long PRIDE supporters, as they live, eat, and breathe it every day. But this month, they are making sure everyone knows where they stand. Viral Nation asked them what people should know about what PRIDE means to them. They offered clear and insightful answers as influencers that help provide insight for others looking to support companies, communities, and people willing to embrace people of all identities.
An Interesting Background
Sion and Ben are internationally known influencers who create a compelling travel blog that combines travel with experiences, and their social platforms are key in connecting audiences to their blog. They embrace their relationship and life experiences through their travels while others learn how they can do likewise. When a story is created with the kind of pictures they capture, who could possibly resist? Not many – and that’s the point. It doesn’t matter who you are; the experience of travel is all-encompassing. We all experience awe and inspiration. They are able to create a community experience as they share their travels with others.
That is why it is no surprise that they have similar responses that many influencers have when addressing companies and people who want to support the LGBTQ+ community.
“Pride is so much more than glitter and rainbows,” Sion and Ben explained. “It’s all too common for people to see a Pride Parade and think everything is OK for the LGBTQ+ community. Some people think it’s all sunshine, rainbows, and parties – but that is very far from the truth.”
Discrimination is still a part of everyday life for millions of LGBTQ+ people globally. Whether it is based on comments and slurs in the street, or based on someone’s very existence being classified as illegal in certain countries, the dangers are very real. There is more to PRIDE than celebration. There is still work to do.
“Pride can mean validation, feeling free, celebrating survival, being accepted and respected,” they said. “It is so important to have a community who honors those who have worked so hard to get us this far.”
June marks events in the U.S. and around the world for Pride Month. Through parades, positive discrimination, and visibility on social platforms, the LGBTQ+ population has gradually emerged, shaping public view and strengthening social changes. It is important to recognize that global support through international platforms has given the LGBTQ+ community greater visibility, particularly in conservative societies where members have realized their rights. That has resulted in a stronger acknowledgment of LGBTQ+ rights, such as fairer gender relations, the rights revolution, and a better self.
“Ultimately, for us, PRIDE means having the freedom to openly be ourselves, celebrate all the progress that has been made, and call into action everything that still needs to be done,” they said.
Support Through Diversity & Inclusion
How can people use their influence to support diversity, equity, and inclusion? Sion and Ben say some of the most impactful things someone with influence can do are be visible, heard, and share calls to action regarding diversity, equality, and inclusion.
“A common problem for those within the LGBTQ+ community is a feeling of loneliness and isolation, especially if they do not see themselves represented in the media,” they said. “If people use their influence to include LGBTQ+ people around the world and give them a voice, this can have a huge impact on someone who is feeling marginalized.”
We all have a responsibility to be active when it comes to diversity, equality, and inclusion, and they encourage people not to stand on the sidelines when they see injustice. Instead, allies need to stand up, speak up, and question personal intentions, as well as everyone else’s.
Sion and Ben offer recommendations for brands to become more inclusive internally and externally.
“Externally, brands need to understand and be aware of the concept of ‘rainbow-washing’ or pink-washing,”’ they explain. “It is no secret that there is a lot of money in the LGBTQ+ market and it does not sit well when a brand appears to slap a rainbow logo on for Pride Month, potentially cash in and leave it at that. This approach feels shallow.”
There’s so much that brands can do to be more authentic and supportive. Sion and Ben recommend the following:
- If running a product line for Pride Month, give 10% of the profits (or more) to a local LGBTQ+ charity.
- Include LGBTQ+ people in marketing/content all year round, not just during Pride Month, which can appear tokenistic. This will resonate with this audience on a much deeper level.
- Each company should demonstrate their work and the policies they have in place from a D&I perspective, clearly and proudly on their website.
- Internally, companies should display inclusive recruitment processes. For example, do employees have to choose male/female only on their application?
- Companies can celebrate diversity by recognizing significant cultural events such as Pride Month, IDAHOBIT, and other similar celebrations. This could be an internal event, an internal communications piece, or a series of meetings that help others avoid their own microaggressions.
- Companies also need to ensure all staff members receive high-quality D&I training.
The position of the LGBTQ+ population continues to be a useful measure of human rights status in our society, especially since it is a vulnerable minority. Through combined educational efforts for individuals and company culture, going beyond old prejudices and ignorance shows that those in the LGBTQ+ community occupy the same spectrum of life and society. Everyone, as part of a united society, should help build an equal community. Sion and Ben are perfect examples of how influencers can teach others how to be more empathetic and supportive to the larger LGBTQ+ community, locally and globally. If companies want to attract consumers, the best way to do so is to actually create inclusiveness rather than simply giving it lip service. Real inclusiveness benefits everyone.