Hilton and charity organisation, Minus18, have announced a nationwide partnership that aims to give more LGBTQIA+ young people in Australia the right to free, inclusive and empowering school formals – launched last week by queer icon and advocate, actor, model and DJ, Ruby Rose during Sydney’s WorldPride. hilton LGBTQIA+ Australia
Hilton’s support will see an expanded footprint for Minus18’s Queer Formals program, enabling it to roll out in new cities and regional areas nationally from 2024, with the hope of providing LGBTQIA+ youth nationwide the opportunity to experience their school formal as their authentic selves.
Ruby Rose has come on board as an ambassador to champion the partnership to raise awareness of the discrimination and exclusion LGBTQIA+ teens experience at school formals – from how they dress to who they bring as a date.
“As a queer person who came out at a very young age, I cannot overstate the importance of this cause. I am so overjoyed to be part of the partnership with Hilton and Minus18 to drive awareness around the need to provide more inclusive spaces for LGBTQIA+ teens. I remember, as a teen, finding an ad for the Minus18 events in a free newspaper. I don’t think I missed an event after that. At the time it was one of the only communities I truly felt free to be myself,” said Ruby Rose.
“The steps Hilton and Minus18 are taking will be life-changing for thousands of kids and young adults. We must never underestimate the impact inclusion and acceptance has on both young people in their formative years. Attending a school formal as your true self is a rite of passage that every teen deserves. Queer high schoolers too often don’t have the right support network when navigating who they are. It’s time to change this,” she said.
Hilton’s Rainbow Formal Gala Event: Supporting Minus18’s Mission for Inclusion hilton LGBTQIA+ Australia
As part of its support, Hilton also staged its Rainbow Formal gala event, which was held this Wednesday, 1 March 2023 at Hilton Sydney on George Street, headlined by singer Delta Goodrem. The event aims to support Minus18 to raise vital funds and awareness for its future events, educational programs and broader mission to create inclusive environments for young LGBTQIA+ Australians.
“Hilton’s inclusive culture keeps diversity at the centre of everything we do, and we are committed to creating a positive impact on the communities we operate in and providing a welcoming stay for all who come through our doors. As a global hospitality company, we are delighted to have this opportunity to support Minus18 in their efforts to change the lives of even more LGBTQIA+ teens in Australia,” said Paul Hutton, area vice president and head of Australasia, Hilton. “Everyone deserves to attend their school formal with pride. We look forward to seeing what we can achieve together with Minus18, and the backing of Ruby Rose.”
Since 2010, Minus18 has been supporting more than 5,000 young Australians every year through life-affirming events, with thousands more accessing digital resources, and peer education created by the LGBTQIA+ community.
“With Hilton and Ruby Rose behind us, our programs will have considerably more scale and reach, helping thousands more young people gain access to inclusive spaces – like our Queer Formals,” said Micah Scott, chief executive officer, Minus18. “With two in three LGBTQIA+ youths in Australia still today experiencing abuse for who they are, creating inclusive spaces has never been more important.”
Hilton’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Efforts in Australia and New Zealand
As part of the company’s commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion efforts, Hilton will roll out gender and sexuality training with Minus18 for all team members across its network of 23 properties in Australia and New Zealand. This aims to make every Hilton property in the region an LGBTQIA+ inclusive space and complements existing global Diversity & Inclusion training required for all Hilton team members, including training on Unconscious Bias.
The company’s more than 400,000 team members globally are encouraged to bring their full, authentic selves to work. WorldPride celebrations in Sydney will be led by Hilton’s dedicated team. Events include hotel celebrations, team education sessions, as well as representation at Mardi Gras Fair Day and the Pride Village celebrations near Oxford Street.
Hilton, Ruby Rose and Minus18 are calling on the Australian public to support LGBTQIA+ teens’ right to inclusive spaces, including Queer Formals, by donating to Minus18. For more information, visit asiapac.hilton.com/standwithpride/