New Ford series 'Tough Talks' addresses LGBTQ+ discrimination

Host Gareth Thomas meets with the LGBTQ+ community and allies in 'Ford Presents Tough Talks' to fight discrimination. 

Charlie Martin and Gareth Thomas pose for Ford Tough Talks.
Image: Ford Europe

“One thing I’m always fed up with is people saying ‘well, that doesn’t happen in 2022 because society has progressed and things have changed.’ But the fact that we’re openly having this conversation is the reality of 2022 from lived experiences,” Gareth Thomas.

Creating a more inclusive environment is the goal of the automotive industry leader, Ford, with their new video series, ‘Ford Presents Tough Talks.’ Host Gareth Thomas, the first openly gay Welsh rugby union professional, starts the series by opening up about the common issues people in the LGBTQ+ community face in the automotive industry.

The sports legend hits the road to have some “tricky conversations” and “redefine what tough really means.” The series will advocate for more inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community in historically discriminated sectors.

The first episode is filmed inside Ford’s ‘Very Gay Raptor’ which was created in response to a homophobic tweet on the company’s social media. Ford’s advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community gained attention across the world with the hashtag #VeryGayRaptor.

The first guest appearance in this episode is with Ed Rogers. He serves as a chairperson for Ford Pride, an LGBTQ+ employee resource group, as well as founder and chair of Driving Pride, a group dedicated to “driving out discrimination” in the industry. Thomas and Rogers discuss the difficulties of toxic ‘banter’ and how it negatively impacts many members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Ed Rogers and Gareth Thomas pose together during Ford Tough Talks.

Thomas also interviews Charlie Martin, a British racing driver and transgender rights activist, about the difficulties transitioning while participating in a male-dominated sport. Martin then takes Thomas on a drive in the Ford Raptor involving high-speed driving and hills.

“For me, toughness is often about being authentic to your emotions and what you’re experiencing and being able to show that in an open way with people,” Martin said.

Vice President of Human Resources for Ford Europe, Peter Godsell, shared the purpose of the new series. “As a company, we actively champion all forms of diversity and are a committed and long-standing LGBTQ+ ally. The world is changing and there’s no place for discrimination of any kind, yet the message needs to be reinforced again and again. These videos are just another way to keep pushing the message but in a relatable and human way,” he said.

Ford is just one of the many companies supporting the LGBTQ+ community, during the Pride season and beyond. Take a look back on these Irish LGBTQ+ businesses and organisations that you can help support!

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