Michael Brown MMRS, Chair of #MRSpride and Head of Insight, UM

Today, I am excited to announce an initiative that I hope will unite the LGBTQ+ community across the research sector: the new #MRSpride network will launch on 30 May with an event brought to you by the formidable combination of MRS, YouGov and IPG Mediabrands.

The event has been designed to provide a platform for LGBTQ+ research content – from consumer insight to methodological best practice - as well as to elevate leaders who will inspire junior talent in the sector. 

The network’s inaugural meeting has an exciting agenda, with contributions from leading research and media industry figures including Joshua Graff, Vice-President of LinkedIn EMEA and LATAM, Jan Gooding, Chair of Stonewall and President of MRS, and Alison Camps, Deputy-Chairman of Quadrangle and Co-Chair of Pride in London. You can register your interest in the network here to receive the full agenda when it is announced on 3 April.

“The prospect of bringing together a large group of LGBTQ+ community members, and our all-important allies, is an exciting and important one, and one I look forward to making a reality and to toasting!”

Hosted by IPG Mediabrands at  offices in Clerkenwell, the initial event will be open to all MRS members, Company Partners and non-members. We encourage members to extend the invitation to junior colleagues who might find the event meaningful.

As researchers, our craft is to work towards discovering the truth. This can be elusive and, in the age of misinformation, can feel like a precious commodity even within ourselves: 62% of graduates, say Stonewall, go back into the closet after entering the workforce.

When mentioning my involvement in creating this new network to a colleague, she remarked on how there might be an affinity between LGBTQ+ people and researchers. The basis for her hypothesis was that it’s likely that empathy and curiosity over-index in our community.

Of course, generalisations are precisely the thing that robust research exists to challenge. However, given the abundance of negative generalisations that have so often tried to undermine LGBTQ+ identities, why not entertain a positive one?

To see if my colleague’s idea carried water, I took to YouGov Profiles, a powerful audience insight platform containing hundreds-of-thousands of participants’ views on a wealth of topics.

The statistically-significant difference in agreement with certain attitude statements amongst LGB people compared to a nationally-representative audience attest to there being truth in the idea of our community having a tendency towards curiosity and understanding:

  • “I like to surround myself with a diverse range of cultures and ideas” (67% of LGB agree vs. 57% of nat rep)
  • “I believe people like me have the power to help influence important changes that shape the future” (49% of LGB agree vs. 39% of nat rep)

My colleague’s hunch was true.

Our sector has a unique responsibility to discover, understand and amplify the voices within society. This duty is even more pressing towards minority groups, whose thoughts are less considered in mainstream discourse. Could it be that, as minorities, the LGBTQ+ community in our sector is in an important position to use our craft, experiences and empathy to help society understand complex questions of identity and injustice?

As for the future of #MRSpride, our vision is to form a steering group of LGBTQ+ research professionals and allies who will shape the network. Ideas for future initiatives include forming an online community, mentoring and a UK event roadshow. It would be great to hear from anyone who would like to be involved.

For now, however, we’ve been working hard to create a fantastic inaugural event for #MRSpride, and thanks to the generous sponsorship of YouGov, we have an evening of stand-out content and fun to look forward to.

The social aspect is significant, seeing as a huge section of the research sector work for businesses that don’t have LGBTQ+ employee resource groups (or, indeed, they might be freelancers), and so the simple act of meeting others from the community is vitally important.

The prospect of bringing together a large group of LGBTQ+ community members, and our all-important allies, is an exciting and important one, and one I look forward to making a reality and to toasting! I hope to see many of you there.

Register your interest here 

Contact Michael via MRS.pride@mrs.org.uk

Get the latest MRS news

Our newsletters cover the latest MRS events, policy updates and research news.