“Look what we fought for. Look what we built together.” - Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis, Commander 2016
Wizards of the Coast’s Pride 2021 celebration is bigger and more robust than it’s ever been. For LGBTQIA+ members of our staff, Pride is not a single moment, day, or month—it's a daily lived experience. Pride means so many things to so many communities, and there are infinite ways to commemorate to the people, events, and milestones that have brought us here today. While we’ve achieved much progress for LGBTQIA+ justice in the United States of America since the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City on June 28, 1969, our journeys toward equity continue here and worldwide.
At Wizards, our 2021 aspiration was to create a multi-faceted authentic Pride celebration that uplifts our employees, our communities, and you, our fans. All of our experiences are unique, valid, intersectional, and united to bring inclusion, equity and justice to all queer communities.
The upcoming events, philanthropic merchandise, artwork, and more to be announced were lovingly created and executed by our Wizards Pride employee resource group (ERG), LGTBQIA+ employees, and allies across the company. It was important for us to elevate our messaging and activations to be impactful versus sentimental per valid internal and community feedback. Please check out some of our many exciting activations in this post to see what we have planned this month--—including the C Team’s Pride Special at PAX and the return of our Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons Pride Fundraiser campaigns both benefitting the Lambert House, our sponsorship of Digipride and so much more to reveal throughout the month.
To you, the community—we're here, we’re representing, we’re listening, and we’re acting. Yes, Pride month is so much more than rainbow-covered swag. However, our Wizards Pride ERG is excited to include LGBTQIA+ community-specific Wizards items with proceeds going towards the Lambert House, an LGBTQ+ youth center located in Seattle, WA. This is the first year we're rolling out community-specific, and we look forward to your feedback on what you’d like to see in upcoming campaigns (important note: I intentionally didn’t say “next year,” so stay tuned).
My heart has been full learning about the previous steps Wizards has taken to improve its equity and seeing the tangible progress we've made during the 6 months. While representation is incredibly important, it means nothing if cognitively diverse voices, perspectives and experiences are not valued and incorporated into everything we do as a company. As such, we have a variety of initiatives and programs in place to introspectively examine our processes and enact meaningful changes. Some examples of this work specific to the LGBTQIA+ community would be reviewing of our healthcare benefits, human resources and information technology processes related to employees who are transitioning, and cultural inclusion reviews for new and existing products.
As we’ve said before (and we will say again and again), we believe our games should be accessible to everyone, and inclusive of the variety of lived experiences in you, our fans. The Wizards multiverse should be a place any of us can step into, connect with, or lose ourselves in, no matter who we are, and we will continue this work in perpetuity.
We hope that you’ll join us during this month’s (and every month’s) celebration and honoring of the diversity represented within and by the LGBTQIA+ communities. Thank you for your continued support, feedback, and accountability.
Cheers to you,
Jontelle Leyson-Smith, DEI Director & the Wizards Pride ERG