Whether you are running a specific programme to engage with LGBTQ+ audiences or simply hoping to grow LGBTQ+ representation in your existing screenings, it’s really important to remember some key things to make sure you are sensitively and appropriately programming, promoting, and welcoming audiences in your cinema.

  1. Work with LGBTQ+ people themselves, whether it’s working with community or national organisations or with people within your own organisation.
  2. Employ a more diverse workforce at all levels. Welcome diverse groups in your job applications and your mission statements.
  3. If you can, get training delivered to staff about how to engage sensitively with audiences, and for a better understanding of the experience of LGBTQ+ people.
  4. Consider that people have multiple identities so communication needs to work for LGBTQ+ people across your whole programme, and don’t presume that you will only have an LGBTQ+ turnout for your targeted programming.
  5. Get LGBTQ+ people to audit your venue to give feedback about how the space feels, about signage, and about the customer service experience.
  6. Make sure you take feedback on board and actually use it, and share your reasoning across the organisation.
  7. Consider the tone of your signage – can you be gender neutral?
  8. Think about lesser told stories – not just the obvious films… Are you including lesbian and trans stories? Think about the filmmakers and if they have credibility.
  9. Get LGBTQ+ people to programme and give insights into marketing and audience development. (Best practice with any consultancy is to pay people!)
  10. Revise your communications with LGBTQ+ insights – what kind of language do you use? Are you welcoming? Is there subtle prejudice in the way you communicate that needs to be considered?
  11. You’ll need to do more community and social marketing. Engage with charities and relevant LGBTQ+ organisations.
  12. Use gay bars and clubs/venues and LGBTQ+ centres for your print advertising. If there are Pride events in your calendar, go along…
  13. Consider your survey. Do you have all the necessary fields for gender and sexuality? It’s a lot better to ask people to self-identify rather than to designate fields around gender.
  14. Could you be gathering deeper, qualitative, useful feedback – can you make yourself available to audiences for interviews/conversations afterwards?
  15. Think about opening up a dialogue and your audience will recognise the efforts you are making, and champion you to their networks. Even social media polls can be useful.
  16. Make it known that you’re trying to improve and willing to listen and learn.