Travelling with PRIDE
To celebrate PRIDE month, we spoke to Mark Horwood from Flight Centre Travel Group – Independent. Mark has been in the travel industry for 15 years and says during the past few years he has noticed a huge shift towards greater acceptance of the PRIDE movement.
What does travelling with PRIDE mean to you?
"Travelling with PRIDE to me, is travelling like anyone else and being accepted for who I am. Taking my family to places that are inspirational, breath taking, amazing, crazy and in general fun, while allowing us the opportunity to explore and understand diverse cultures. At times, this can be dangerous no matter who we are. Everyone should have the opportunity to explore the world and feel safe at the same time, regardless of how they identify."
How has the travel industry developed?
"During the past five or so years I have noticed the travel industry has developed greater acceptance of and openness towards the PRIDE movement. My partner Andrew and our two children, Harper and Grayson are frequent travellers. I noticed a shift in the past few years in how the airline staff would address us and the kids. It was the small things like; taking a mental note of Andrew and I having the same last name or how the kids would address us as "Daddy and Dadda". When the airline staff engaged Andrew or me, they referenced us as the parents of our two kids or when engaging our children, they would refer to us as their Dads. Gone was the assumption that if you have kids, surely there is a Mum involved. To me this meant the world. Something so small and subtle that was sending such a strong message to my children that same sex parenting is normal and acceptable."
Do you think DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is being discussed more in the industry?
"As a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) champion for Flight Centre Travel Group Australia, I’m always promoting what this means to me and to the company, when conversing with friends, family or when networking people. Yes, I am the one that raises this topic, the majority of the time, but my audience is always keen to understand and know more. This wouldn't have even been a point of discussion five years ago, so this shows that the landscape on how we work and accept others is changing within society.
It's not just Flight Centre Travel Group that is focusing on D, E & I.
The past few years I have started noticing a massive shift in the travel industry. Especially under the PRIDE banner. More and more airlines and suppliers are jumping onboard the PRIDE plane (see what I did there!) by displaying and celebrating everything that is PRIDE, especially during the month of June. This celebrates not just internally their people but promoting and celebrating their customers, other people in the travel industry that recognise themselves as being part of PRIDE and not to mention those that are big advocates for PRIDE. Year on year the celebrations get bigger and bigger."