January 22, 2024

Founder's Letter: Ecommerce Pride in 2024


Joshua Hobson

Dear Ecommerce Pride community,

As we stand on the threshold of 2024, I find it necessary to reflect upon the current state of LGBTQ+ rights both domestically and globally, and how these have impacted the first year of Ecommerce Pride’s run.

It deeply concerns me to witness the regression in attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community, particularly regarding the treatment of our trans family. 

  • There have been debates in both the UK media and the political environment regarding access to healthcare for transgender individuals, limitations or expansions on legal gender recognition, and laws governing bathroom or sports participation based on gender identity.
  • Landmark legal decisions or court cases are shaping the landscape of LGBTQ+ rights across the world. Decisions on discrimination in the workplace, healthcare access, or education based on gender identity are having far-reaching implications for the rights and protections of our community.
  • Societal attitudes and movements can profoundly impact trans rights. The Increasing number of transphobic, homophobic and loud discriminatory voices in media and public discourse advocating against trans rights have continued in 2023.

The rise in discriminatory actions, coupled with unsettling events worldwide, has cast a shadow of fear over our community. The struggle for equality and acceptance persists, with setbacks affecting our sense of safety and belonging.

Adding to this challenge is the reluctance of many within the ecommerce industry to vocally rally behind LGBTQ+ causes and charities. It has been more difficult than expected to onboard new members, increase our event turnout and raise more funds for charities. This reluctance, in part, is also due to the economic climate, making it harder to garner financial support needed for initiatives like Ecommerce Pride when budgets are understandably tighter.

Admittedly, these circumstances have impacted my drive and motivation. The realities we face have made me question the feasibility of continuing our efforts with Ecommerce Pride.

However, after introspection and conversations with members of our community, I've reaffirmed the importance of our mission. Now, more than ever, we must persist in our commitment to create a welcoming and empowering space within the ecommerce landscape for LGBTQ+ individuals. Whilst we are only one industry, our actions and our efforts ultimately can improve people’s daily lives. 

Our objectives - fostering a vibrant LGBTQ+ ecommerce community, offering valuable resources to brands and companies, and supporting local and national LGBTQ+ charities - remain pivotal. These objectives are not just aspirations; they're our collective responsibility.

To ensure the sustainability and accessibility of Ecommerce Pride, I propose several changes in our operational structure and our activity. These changes aim to streamline our processes and enhance our reach and impact. Some of the proposed changes include:

  • All companies can now become a member of Ecommerce Pride for free, and join our cause to support our community.
  • We will own and host two major events in 2024 - our Conscious Commerce Evenings - and these will bring together speakers from all areas of positive change including female empowerment in the industry, sustainability and ecological impact, mental health impact of ecommerce practices and more. 
  • Our casual meetups will return monthly and will be the cornerstone of our ongoing events strategy, to bring our community together and foster a safe and welcoming environment.
  • Our blog will become active and will share regular ecommerce and LGBTQ+ topics such as personalisation and gender, the role of AI and the impact on the community, internationalisation into anti-LGBTQ+ countries and more.

Together, with your unwavering support and dedication, we can navigate these challenging times and emerge stronger. Let's recommit ourselves to the vision of a world where every individual in our ecommerce community, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, feels validated, empowered, and celebrated.

Thank you for your support in Ecommerce Pride.

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