Celebrating Pride 2024

Since our founding in 1989, diversity and inclusion have always been cornerstones of the VSI Group. Our commitment to these values ensures that our staff reflect the vibrant and diverse communities we serve. 

Pride Month has its roots in the courageous actions of individuals who marched for rights and equality. Despite the progress made over the years, celebrating Pride is still necessary as many in the LGBTQIA+ community continue to face discrimination, prejudice and inequality. 

At VSI, we are proud to foster an environment where everyone can thrive as their authentic selves. We are excited to highlight the voices and stories of our global team members as they share what Pride means to them. 


One of the highlights for me in 2023 was reading the heartfelt testimonials that were shared during Pride month last year. The perspectives and depth of them were so meaningful that it made me appreciate our incredible team even more. VSI is absolutely committed to fostering an inclusive environment and I want every one of our teammates to feel comfortable working here. I sincerely believe that having a diverse team brings out the best ideas and best outcomes. Thank you to all who participated in this year's Pride campaign. You truly are role models for our team.

Mark Howorth

In what ways do you express or celebrate Pride? 

In my early years, I did not have many opportunities to actively engage in Pride celebrations. However, upon coming to the UK, Pride became a prevalent topic of discussion and festivity. One of the ways I express and celebrate Pride is by participating in events like the 2023 London Pride parade, which was a profoundly exhilarating experience for me and marked my first attendance at the event. I was thrilled to witness people from diverse backgrounds worldwide come together to celebrate differences in such an inclusive way. 

This experience inspired me, revealing that Pride encompasses more than just a parade; it involves creating safe spaces where everyone feels seen and valued, regardless of their identity. It is about fostering understanding and empathy, challenging stereotypes, and dismantling prejudices. Celebrating Pride is not just a once-a-year event but a daily commitment to equality and inclusivity. 

Ruifeng Li (he/him) - Vendor Management Intern (London)


How can allies best support the LGBTQIA+ community? 

For me, it comes down to ‘be kind, listen and take action where you can’. You don’t have to understand someone’s identity fully to respect it, and a little goes a long way! Feeling heard and respected is the most important thing: everything else stems from that. 

It can be as simple as normalising asking for someone’s pronouns and sharing your own (yes, even when you’re cisgender), or calling out discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community. If questions are welcomed, ask them, but respect someone’s privacy. 

And of course, support LGBTQIA+-friendly businesses, if you can. It makes a real difference! 

Inge van Balgooij (they/them) - Translator (Amsterdam)  

What does Pride mean to you? 

Pride for me is an opportunity for all of us to come together and celebrate inclusivity in the LGBTQIA+ community. It is a public way of acknowledging, accepting, and embracing everyone’s uniqueness. By celebrating Pride, we announce to the world that we hear these communities, we support them, and we recognise their continuing fight for equality.  

Seeing the joy and happiness that Pride brings every year is why this event is so special – it is a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate free from judgement, while also sending the important message that there are many parts of the world where the LGBTQIA+ community are still persecuted simply for being who they are. For as long as this still exists, we have a duty to stand together at this time of year, and always, to show our love and support for all of those around us. 

William Russell - Managing Director (London) 

What changes would you like to see in society to create a more inclusive and accepting environment for LGBTQIA+ individuals? 

Acceptance can only begin if society is willing to listen with compassion to the experiences and perspectives of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Despite the benefits of the internet and social media, people still find difficulties communicating freely, especially about identity and sexuality, for fear of judgement or persecution. 

An improved society might use technological advancements to actively seek self-education, investigating the language and personal stories of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

As creatures of habit, familiarising ourselves with previously unknown words and phrases could be a method of paving the way to an aware and accepting culture. 

Compassion’s the crucial element in all interactions, not just for fair dialogue, but for recognising when debate is not necessary. The more society can listen and acknowledge even when it may not fully comprehend, the more it can still offer support with integrity, love, and kindness, the closer we come to fostering a truly accepting culture. 

Sophie Harbour (she/her) – Junior Office Manager (London) 

In your perspective, what is the essence of PRIDE? 

I am proud to be gay because every day lived is a day survived, a lesson of resistance. And even with so many forms of oppression, I can still smile and want much more than society has imposed over the years. I'm proud because I deserve myself, I feel myself, I see myself. I realise that what is most special about me is what is in every other person: the capacity to love. My existence is my militancy. 

Luciano Simi (he/him) – Post Production (São Paulo) 


What do you think can be done to address negative stereotypes? 

Negative stereotypes are harmful, often coming from unfounded generalisations and oversimplifications. Meaningful change starts with education, empowering us to take action, and challenge negative assumptions about LGBTQIA+ communities. By increasing visibility and building awareness through different channels, e.g. open dialogue with family, friends, and social media, is a first step in addressing and dismantling harmful stereotypes. Exposure to the unknown is one of the best antidotes to ignorance as it broadens our experiences and perspectives. When prejudices are frequently challenged, it becomes clear that negative stereotypes have no true basis which broadens our understanding and acceptance of differences. 

Gosia Adamowicz (she/her/hers) – People and Culture Assistant (London) 

Why is acceptance important and how can we all work together to create a more accepting society?  

Acceptance is important first of all because LGBTQIA+ people who are accepted by their families and communities are significantly less likely to attempt suicide. But aside from that, the variety of different human experiences and expressions is what makes the world interesting! As a business centred around telling stories across cultural and linguistic barriers, we should accept and celebrate opportunities to learn about and connect with people different from ourselves. We can work together to create a more accepting society by listening to people whose experiences are different from our own, by advocating for acceptance within our social groups, and by supporting organisations and political policies that uphold LGBTQIA+ rights. 

Megan Carter (she/her) – Bookings Coordinator (London) 

Who do you think is responsible for taking action on inclusion issues? 

I think that everyone is responsible for taking action on ensuring everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community feel safe and included. Especially as identities are complex, it’s good to be aware that people can still be figuring out their identity and they will need patience followed by respect if they decide to change their identity. Some ways at work you can be inclusive is to ensure there is a culture of openness, if you are ever unsure or do not know, it’s always polite to ask a person’s pronouns rather than assuming. Overall, it’s important that allies and others within the LGBTQIA+ community continue to show support, spread awareness and educate others so actions for inclusion can be put in place. 

Jessica Eady (she/her) – Casting Supervisor (London) 



What does Pride represent to you personally?

Pride is the relationships and community we build. It should be present daily. Queer and Trans people have been put in a position where we must fight for ourselves and each other. And that fight includes the important task of simply making sure people’s basic needs are met in an increasingly hostile climate. Especially the needs of those most at risk in the community, such as my trans siblings and BIPOC folks. Pride is work. It’s educating yourself and seeing those who are different from yourself eye to eye as valuable individuals. It’s daring to oppose oppression from the very top of society. It’s bringing someone a hot meal or a warm jacket or a shoulder to cry on. It’s seeking joy in the everyday to honor those who fought for us before we were even born, and those who have yet to come. Pride is defiance against the things that seek to separate us. Because in a world with so many strides left to go, we must always, always hold on to one another.

Abigail Salcido (she/her) – Dubbing Producer (Los Angeles) 

At VSI, we take great pride in recognising and endorsing Pride Month and all that it represents: the visibility of the LGBTQIA+ community, the pursuit of equal rights, solidarity and celebrating all the accomplishments made so far. Our support, however, extends far beyond the designated month of celebration. Here at VSI, we foster a culture of inclusivity and respect, and celebrate diversity throughout the entire year and organisation. All this is what makes VSI such a wonderful place to work, to be able to share with a beautifully diverse team and grow resting assured our differences will be accepted.

Sita Cerdan
Chief Human Resources Officer