SYDNEY, Australia – 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 today by queer icon and advocate, actor, model and DJ, Ruby Rose during Sydney’s WorldPride.
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."
“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.
As part of its support, Hilton has also announced its Rainbow Formal gala event, to be held this Wednesday, 1 March 2023 at Hilton Sydney on George Street, headlined by singer Delta Goodrem. The event will 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."
As part of the company’s commitment to advance 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/
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 19 world-class brands comprising more than 7,100 properties and more than 1.1 million rooms, in 123 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list and been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for six consecutive years. Hilton has introduced several industry-leading technology enhancements to improve the guest experience, including Digital Key Share, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book confirmed connecting rooms. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the more than 150 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can't buy. With the free Hilton Honors app, guests can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out, all from their smartphone. Visit stories.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.
Minus18 is Australia’s charity improving the lives of LGBTQIA+ youth via life-affirming events, leadership programs, and education for the whole community. Through a preventative model of mental health support, Minus18 tackles social isolation by creating fun-filled spaces where LGBTQIA+ young people belong and are celebrated. Youth are at the forefront of the charity’s events – and through this it equips LGBTQIA+ young people with the skills they need to be the leaders of tomorrow. For schools and workplaces all across Australia, Minus18 provides LGBTQIA+ inclusion training and free digital resources to create a world where LGBTQIA+ young people are safe and belong.