BLOG SERIES LAUNCHING:
Hello everyone! I am really happy to announce that this very blog post inaugurates our brand-new blog series dedicated to Ecce Homo’s community allies, that is, all those LGBTIQ+ community-based organizations around the world that are proud members of our Corporate Social Responsibility program! In the following weeks, we are going to meet the five queer organizations that are part of Ecce Homo’s family by learning more on their histories, their initiatives, and the communal spaces they create around them.
Despite being on the market a little over half a year, we have already managed to seal deals with five organizations, not a small feat considering that the building of our CSR portfolio has run parallel to the Covid-19 pandemic and the heavy restrictions that have been put in place worldwide in response to the later. Communications have been slow, initiatives have been frozen, community spaces have been shut down, in a nutshell... queers on the verge of a nervous breakdown! All jokes aside, the past year was one full of feelings of frustration, pessimism, fear, grief, and loneliness, since not only has the Covid-19 control measures exacerbated LGBTQ+ health inequalities, but also, they have put added strain on queer mental health. As a queer firm, member of the community ourselves, we have felt it in our very own bones, all the economic strain, the housing instability, the psychical distancing, the emotional draining.
For all these reasons, we felt the urgency to take all these gloomy feelings and make something good out of them. Along the way, we have come to realize that this process of building these alliances has been a much-needed bright rainbow ray in the midst of a grim and never-ending winter. To be sure, it was hard to navigate the diverse and multi-layered landscape of queer activism on European level. With the vast majority of the LGBTIQ+ organizations put ‘on hold’ under lockdowns, the dominance of homonormative profit-driven politics, the multicolored and nuanced differences among national contexts, even mapping this political landscape seemed like a herculean task at first.
Quite aware of the uneasy relationship between queer entrepreneurship and queer community, and with the specter of pink washing hovering constantly over our heads, we were very diligent about picking our community allies. From the moment we set off for this adventure, we had very clear guiding principles to show us the way. We aspire to build a network of LGBTIQ+ organizations that are community-based, thriving and well-established among peers, well-respected by the members of the communities they support, fairly small in size to avoid those that felt corporate-like, but big enough for our humble contribution to make a difference, providing a range of services that alleviate major problems the queer community faces in its multiplicity, and covering as much ground as possible! So far, Ecce Homo’s family includes five such organizations based in Greece, Bulgaria, and UK that work tirelessly with LGBTIQ+ people facing sexual and mental health issues, trans and gender non-conforming persons, queer refugees and migrants, and queer sex workers to name but a few.
After all, the CSR program has been there for us from the beginning! It has always been one of the key motivations behind this project and its constant driving force since then, an inspiring -in the face of hardship- reminder that Ecce Homo is something much bigger than us, that Ecce Homo is all about community and solidarity. A core part of our corporate DNA, an officially written term on our founding Charter indeed, our CSR is not a secondary supplement to our profit-driven activity, a marketing gimmick if you like, but a long-lasting and substantial commitment to supporting the LGBTIQ+ community all around Europe. But how does our CSR work?
On the one hand, Ecce Home takes up the role of media sponsor on behalf of these queer organizations by spreading via its social media (check our Twitter!) and blog (here we are!) their message. Most importantly, 5% of the price of each purchase (before VAT) is donated by Ecce Homo to one organization of customer’s choosing. Thus, the consumer chooses an organization from a list of ones of different subject matters and across Europe in an attempt to cover as many issues -that the queer community in its diversity faces- as possible. We want to make it perfectly clear that this amount does not fall on our customers in any way, and it is rather withheld from the firm’s income.
On the other hand, by providing the human capital of the Ecce Homo’s team members and covering -entirely or partially- the costs, we are to organize ourselves -or in collaboration with queer organizations that stand up for the LGBTIQ+ folks- in-house activities, such as workshops, webinars, street work projects, etc. Such an initiative was the alliance between Ecce Homo and Positive Voice, the Greek Association of People Living with HIV, in the context of which we produced and distributed to the Greek LGBTIQ+ sex workers in need free face masks when the pandemic was raging in Greece.
As we speaking Ecce Homo is working towards expanding its CSR reach to USA. New community alliances with queer organizations are in works! Stay tuned to our Twitter, our social media platform specifically dedicated to CSR! This way you will be kept informed of both the ceaseless development of our program and the activities of the organizations you chose to support via your purchase.