NYX Cosmetics provides a safe space for Gen Zs to come out

Who: McCann Canada and NYX Cosmetics, with It Gets Better Canada, part of the It Gets Better Project launched by American author and activist Dan Savage to uplift, empower and connect LGBTQ+ youth. PR by McIntyre Communications.

What: “The Safe Space Session,” a virtual counselling session for Gen Zs around the world who were considering coming out. The session was led by Bill Ryan, a licensed social worker and internationally recognized expert in sexuality, gender, sexual education and homophobia.

When & Where: The online event was timed to coincide with National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11.

Why: NYX Cosmetics has made diversity, inclusion, accessibility and empowerment one of its core brand pillars. As of June 1, all of the company’s Canadian stores are certified safe spaces, defined as “a place or environment in which any person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment or any other emotional or physical harm.”

NYX Cosmetics Canada general manager Keon Zhang said that the goal of the Safe Space Sessions was to further extend the company’s commitment to providing safe spaces by reaching out to Gen Z, most of whom feel more comfortable coming out online.

How: In the days leading up to the event, LGBTQ+ influencers within NYX’s current influencer roster shared their coming out stories on social media and issued private invitations to join the virtual safe space session. The session provided counsel to Gen Zs considering coming out, with honest discussion about how to navigate through this important moment and providing a supportive forum for people to discuss their own personal situation and coming out plans.

The session also featured surprise appearances by several well-known LGBTQ+ celebrities, including Queen singer Adam Lambert; Canadian YouTuber star, actress, model and transgender activist Gigi Gorgeous, and a former RuPaul’s Drag Race competitor Jackie Cox. The celebrities shared their own coming out stories, answered participants’ questions and provided some counsel based on their own experiences.

And we quote: “When you hear feedback from young people who say things like, ‘This is one of the most real connections I’ve ever felt in my whole life,’ you know you’re doing something important. As creative agencies, we have the power to create cultural change and make a difference in the world with work like this.” — Josh Stein, chief creative officer, McCann Canada

Chris Powell