“There is a great and profound difference between being accepted and being celebrated, and in an environment like Audible, the latter is truly felt during events such as this,” says Joseph Ostanski, Content Operations Specialist, of Audible’s Pride Month celebrations. For Audible’s annual Pride happy hour, held virtually this year, Ostanski created a signature Rainbow Sangria cocktail and mocktail that employees could make at home.
“The amount of care, fun, and inspiration demonstrated in something as simple as bringing people together for drinks comes alive as a celebration of who we are and what we do, and is a wonderful experience that reverberates growth and positivity with every event,” he adds.
Along with the happy hour, our Pride celebrations included a candid conversation with comedian and cartoonist Mo Welch, whose Audible Original Come Out Come Out debuts this fall. As Welch spoke with Audible editor Christopher Farley and took questions from employees world-wide, she shared her personal obstacles and triumphs as a queer actor and comedian in an industry that can often pigeonhole LGBTQIA+ talent.
Audible also offered Diana Nyad’s The Swimmer as our monthly free listen on Alexa for June, shared a series of short animated love stories based on our LGBTQIA+ content on social media, and promoted our Hear My Story collection of LGBTQIA+ listens. We teamed up with GLAAD to sponsor their Black Queer Town Hall and to create a three-part interview series featuring spoken word artists like Staceyann Chin. And we participated in ABC’s virtual broadcast of the New York City Pride celebration. Together with NYC Pride, we produced an Audible Original, Why We March, featuring memories of the NYC Pride March and exploring what NYC Pride means.
The Audible PRIDE Impact Group, which promotes respect and goodwill for our LGBTQIA+ employees through events and talks year-round, also helps guide the company on how best to support the LGBTQIA+ community through our content and community initiatives, including a recent statement and donations in support of transgender rights.
“This is the difference between an impact group and an affinity group,” says Audible PRIDE co-leader Sam Neuman, Director, Corporate Communications, about the active role the group plays in the company. “There is still so much work to be done, locally and globally, and I am thrilled to be part of an intersectional team of advocates working to make our world inclusive and welcoming for people of all sexualities and genders.”
Audible’s Pride events extend around the world throughout the year, tying into the timing of local celebrations and marches. Employees from Sydney to Mumbai marched in local Pride celebrations, and Audible UK launched an editorial page this June to highlight some of the incredible fiction and nonfiction about the LGBTQIA+ experience. The UK team is also working on new Audible Originals, including a horror tale with lesbian protagonists set in the wild Yorkshire moors and a queer themed, based-on-a-true story pirate adventure.
“Working on this project has meant a lot to me,” says Richard Noble, Audible UK’s Director of Communications. “I acutely remember growing up and coming out and having very few resources to help explore the LGBTQIA+ experience. As I researched more and more titles while developing the editorial list, I revisited some stories I had read, but in brilliant audio versions and discovered a whole spectrum of LGBTQIA+ titles I have enjoyed and learnt from in the last few months. In fact, the whole project has widened the scope of my knowledge and left me hopeful for the future. It’s so exciting to me that the next generation of queer youth has such a rich range of audio content to engage with across so many genres.”