How to be an ally to your non-binary colleagues

CR speaks to three creatives to find out how to create a supportive working environment for everyone, and the responsibility the creative industry has in telling stories that go beyond the binary

LGBTQ+ identities have always existed, and with the help of the internet and social media, access to these communities has become easier and safe spaces have been able to flourish. This, combined with shifts in societal attitudes, means more and more people have been empowered to publicly adopt a gender or identity that feels more personal to them. 

Gender identity is complex and while it’s more visible, that doesn’t necessarily translate to opportunities, support and understanding for non-binary people. Despite being one of the more progressive industries, even the creative world has been slow to becoming fully inclusive, not just in relation to the physical working environment, but also in terms of its output. 

Ultimately, it’s time for both creative agencies and brands to treat inclusivity as more than just a buzzword to add into its decks. Here, CR speaks to three creatives for their advice on how to truly become an ally to non-binary people, what makes for a positive working environment for everyone, and the responsibility this industry has in telling stories that go beyond the binary.

Puberty by Laurence Philomène


“The commercial world has a long history of playing on the stereotypes of the LGBTQ+ community,” says art director Paddy Paddison, who works with their creative partner Joe Moloney at TBWA\London. “Creative agencies have a responsibility to make sure the work they’re presenting is based on authentic portrayals of our lives and experiences. Not just presenting ‘palatable’ representations.”  

Paddison highlights how important it is to remember that these communities still exist on the other 364 days outside of Pride. “Creative agencies should be presenting inclusive work all year round and it’ll probably stand out more if it’s not surrounded by everyone else’s rainbow campaigns.”

Photographer Laurence Philomène agrees: “The biggest mistake I’m seeing a lot from brands lately is inclusivity on a superficial level – for example, a campaign from a brand that promotes diversity in the LGBTQ+ company but that does little beyond visual representation,” they explain.