Queer Creative Talent ... and Where to Find Them

Authentic perspectives from the LGBTQ+ community

Everyone nods their heads and yeses you to death each year when Pride Month articles are written and talks are given about hiring queer creatives, visual artists, copywriters and adland folk. The goal is to get the best, most authentic work when the time comes to shoot a spot or produce a campaign that includes LGBTQ+ individuals.

"Obviously we'll put the right talent in front of the camera," they say. But then they forget about the people behind the scenes. The ones who should be on that brief from before day one. The idea people, the artists, the strategists, the producers. I'm talking about the creative forces from the LGBTQ+ community that shouldn't be used as a last-minute signoff, but provide checks and balances throughout the process.

In 2024, queer talent faces even more challenges as many marketers—reacting to last year's boycotts and backlash from a vocal minority—have become overly cautious about integrating queer voices into their LGBTQ+-focused projects. Meaning, it would really help to hire LGBTQ+ talent and vendors now!

It seems a mystery to most on where to find such talent. If you aren't hiring it internally, fix that ... and then read on. Here are some of the best and brightest from the LGBTQ+ community. People who should not just be on any brief, but who can specifically bring authenticity, clarity and ownership to the work that affects them the most.

Kindra Meyer, freelance executive creative director, verb. (she/her)

An award-winning creative director with a "superpower for storytelling," Meyer is the self-proclaimed "Bi Boss Barbie'' of advertising (and life!). She has worked across every category, and her POV on creative through the lens of women in the world and the LGBTQ+ community resonates across her work, writings and interviews.

From digital experiences, media stunts and activations to film, 360 campaigns and influencer partnerships, Kindra has done it all T-Mobile, Hulu, Microsoft, YouTube and Ford, to name a few.

"My work has won over $50 million in new biz, nabbed some of those shiny award things, generated billions (in Dr. Evil voice) of impressions, broken a few world records, let me tour with Jefferson Starship and get hit on by Cher," she says.

Arya Davachi, senior experiential producer, The SpringHill Company // programming director, Do the WeRQ (he/him)

As Arya likes to say, his day job at the SpringHill Company is to manage, resource and execute against all of the company's experiential work. His "gay job" at Do the WeRQ is to showcase the organization's values and ideals through "engaging and thought-pushing programming," while pushing for change and progress within the industry for LGBTQ+ people.

Arya's mix of agency and in-house experience—spanning the aforementioned, plus VMLY&R COMMERCE, TBWA/Chiat/Day, SAG-AFTRA and others—helps bring his clients' ideas to life. That commitment to pulling double duty shows how far he will go to make sure the LGBTQ+ community is felt and seen in all the work that he does.

Chloe Stokes, visual senior designer and illustrator, Block (they/them)

Chloe's work is bright, exciting and handcrafted, across branding and identity, illustration and graphic design. Their instinct to showcase those around them may come from their time spent as both a journalist at The GW Hatchet or while working at the Human Rights Campaign as an editorial and digital media manager. At the HRC they helped organize and curate pieces around the LGBTQ+ community.

James Sorton, executive producer, Magna Studios (he/him)

According to Sorton, being "out" at work is his superpower: "I've enjoyed feeling different and as I've gotten older, have learned to embrace it, and feel empowered by it. Having an outsider view can make you better at your job, and it sets you apart from the mainstream."

He uses this superpower to ensure the work that he and his teams create is never a "box-ticking exercise," but a message delivered through authenticity. Sorton has also used this thinking as a judge on many panels throughout the years, most recently on this year's Cannes Lions panel for Film Craft.

These are all amazing individuals who are producing work in Adland at the intersection of talent and authenticity. But what organizations are specifically focusing on upholding that same level of care when it comes to infusing LGBTQ+ points of view with the work? And what groups are helping to organize such talent for folks to find them? Let's dig in...

Do the WeRQ, a platform dedicated to the creative potential of the LGBTQ+ community

Their mission: Increase queer creativity and representation in the marketing industry. This means inclusion, connection and brand experiences that drive sustainable, visible change for those still left out of the field.

Whether it's through panel discussions, campaigns, thought pieces, judging panels or general outreach, Do the WeRQ brings its full self every time to enhance creativity through the community's experiences. Most recently, the organization hosted a town hall discussion around bisexual representation in advertising and media.

Queer Design Club, a directory for talent

The Queer Design Club helps coalesce profiles in order "to promote and celebrate all the amazing work that happens at the intersection of queer identity and design worldwide—from LGBTQ+ designers' contributions to the industry to design's role in queer activism throughout history."

In the vein of Blacks Who Design, Latinxs Who Design and Women Who Design, the Queer Design Club puts the spotlight on LGBTQ+ designers from the branding, UX/UI, illustration, graphics and experiential spaces.

Queer Ad Folk, an ongoing series from Campaign U.S., highlighting and interviewing queer members of the advertising and marketing community

The brainchild of John Osborne, group creative director of Cossette, and Oli Rimoldi, creative director of Mother, the Queer Ad Folk interview series and social pages were developed to "showcase LGBTQ+ talent out there thriving in adland so that everyone can see people like themselves in the boardroom and beyond."

Not only does this wonderful series spotlight talent, but it fights the self-doubt many new LGBTQ+ folks in the advertising industry face about their role within their chosen industry—or even their own agency. Hopefully these stories that continue to be shared are enlightening for those individuals and for non-members of the LGBTQ+ community.

From producers to copywriters and agencies to organizations, these people and places are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tapping into a rich tapestry of experiences, talent, and creativity that this community has within it. 

And if you're still a bit lost, then ask! These and many more resources (including myself!) are available to help advertisers looking to focus on LGBTQ+ storytelling to deliver their projects and missions in the most truthful way possible.

Find a queer creative today, and let's advance our story.

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