Framing Equality

We’re working with ILGA-Europe on a project aiming to better understand the narratives around LGBTI equality across Europe, and how we can tell new stories that shift the way we think about family, gender binaries, and sex.

Pride & Prejudice: Six framing lessons from London Pride

This month, people marched across London in the culmination of Pride. But in the lead up to the festivities, the organisers faced some pretty fierce criticism for this year’s Love Happens Here campaign. The PR company behind the campaign apologised after receiving complaints about the centring of straight people’s voices, the use of homophobic slurs and stereotypes, and the exclusion of trans* stories.

Sounds kind of like the opposite of Pride, right?

Tweet showing an example poster, responding "Sylvia Rivera didn't throw bricks at cops for this."

There are some juicy lessons in this experience for a framing geek like me. And they chime pretty well with a lot of the lessons we’ve learnt over the past couple of years in our Framing Equality project (read more here). Read more



Why did a group of people in Russia want to ban LGBTI groups from using the rainbow flag (stolen from nature and the children, apparently), and how have movements like La Manif Pour Tous in France, protesting that sex education must ‘leave my gender stereotypes alone’ (not a joke), gained any serious support?

In September 2017, we’re publishing a short toolkit on Framing Equality for activists and campaigners. It represents the learning we’ve done over the past two years, working with ILGA-Europe on a project aiming to better understand how to interact with the narratives around LGBTI equality across Europe. 

Because we’ve repeatedly been confronted with the reality that change is not a linear process; neither does it come with a lifetime guarantee. Just as slowly as narratives of acceptance and togetherness are normalised; narratives of division and hatred spring up suddenly. So we’ve been interested in how you create change that lasts. How not to just win the single campaign, but the long-term cultural shifts. These types of shifts require changes in the way we think about issues: changes that can only occur when we change the narrative.

In our quest to work this out, we’ve looked at:

  • How people in Europe currently think about LGBTI equality. Here, we were particularly interested in attitudes and beliefs about LGBTI people and related issues that helped us understand the models that people use to reason about these issues.
  • How LGBTI equality is currently framed in Europe. How do advocates, opponents, and the public currently talk about LGBTI equality? What can this tell us about how people think about these issues?
  • What we currently know about the effectiveness of communicating LGBTI equality. What has and hasn’t worked in advocating for the rights of LGBTI people?

In many cases, we may have generated more questions than we’ve answered. But we’ve also found countless inspirational examples of good practice, and lessons from research and practice that can be used as a framework for creating better communications.

All this and more–including how to work this out for your own context–in our upcoming toolkit. Watch this space…

Latest Framing Equality posts: