Pride 2023 #NeverMarchAlone: Nic Keaney

29 Jun 2023

“I didn’t consider being open about my sexuality at the beginning of my career but If I could go back to my younger self now, I would encourage embracing a more authentic self-expression…”


Who are you and where do you work? 

Nic Keaney, Managing Editor of PinkNews-the world’s largest LGBTQ+ Digital Publisher.

Tell us about your background and career journey so far, how did you get to where you are today? 

As a multimedia content specialist working at the intersection of News, Big Tech and AI., I began my career as a journalist/tv producer at ITV News and Sky News. However, my passion for geo-politics and international affairs soon meant I was promoted to international News editor at Sky News, covering conflict zones, terrorism, and breaking news worldwide alongside incredible broadcast journalists like Alex Crawford, Stuart Ramsay, and Tim Marshall.

These several years covering international breaking news ultimately caught the attention of Dataminr, a real-time breaking news alert tech company that hired me to help establish their London office. This transition into tech and product eventually landed me a role at Twitter, where I was the EMEA Curation and Trends lead, managing a team of mostly ex-journalists responsible for contextualising and amplifying Twitter’s most impactful and visible conversations, debunking misinformation and escalating hate speech targeted at marginalised communities. However, with the leadership changes at Twitter….well, I don’t think I need to explain what happened next

Do you feel your career in the Industry was affected at all by your sexuality? If so, how did you overcome it?

I don’t think my entry point into the industry was impacted by my sexuality but only because I never told anyone. I didn’t have a strong sense of self in my early 20s nor trust in the industry’s acceptance of non-heterosexuality. Moreover, it was a time when newspapers were actively trying to ‘out’ high profile figures or questioning their sexual orientation, treating it as a scandalous secret. Consequently, I didn’t consider being open about my sexuality at the beginning of my career but If I could go back to my younger self now, I would encourage embracing a more authentic self-expression. I find a lot of hope in the progressive attitudes of Gen Z, and I am certain that generation will play a significant role in driving positive change.

What does Pride mean to you? And how do you and your business get behind it?

Pride, to me, has always been a platform for protest. Unfortunately, we are now witnessing the weaponisation of Pride to further cultural divisions and create rifts within the LGBTQ+ community. Trans people continue to face demonisation in the media and are exploited for political gain by those who once held misguided beliefs that being gay or lesbian was a choice.

I am privileged to work at PinkNews, the world’s leading LGBTQ+ media brand, where our journalism serves as a daily protest against injustices faced by the community.  Most recently, we exposed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s derogatory remarks towards trans women through exclusive leaked footage as well as exposed the transphobic, misogynistic and homophobic Twitter ‘Likes’ of Take That’s Howard Donald who was subsequently removed as the headline act of a Pride event. This is how we show up for the community.

This year marks 20 years since Section 28, the law that banned ‘promotion of homosexuality’ was repealed. How far do you think we’ve come in those 20 years, what more can we be doing to promote support, inclusivity and education on LGBTQ+ communities in the workplace?

As far as we’ve come in 20 years, we’ve also started to regress. Political figures are weaponising divisions in the LGBTQ+ community for their own gain and legacy media is prioritising clickbait over truth. Workplaces need to focus on strengthening legal protections, implementing more inclusive policies, fostering employee resource groups, encouraging allyship and most importantly, evaluating progress. It’s not going to change overnight – ongoing efforts are needed by everyone to create inclusive and supportive workplaces for all employees.

What advice would you give to anyone out there, personally or professionally to aid the promotion and support of LGBTQ+ communities?

-Educate yourself: Take the initiative to learn about LGBTQ+ history and current issues. Understand the challenges we face as a community and why inclusivity and equality matter.

-Speak out: Use your voice and platforms to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ issues and amplify marginalised voices.

-Vote for LGBTQ+ rights: Keep on top of legislation affecting the LGBTQ+ community and support political candidates who champion equality to promote positive change.

Nic Keaney – Managing Editor, PinkNews. 

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