Connection is the focus during Utrecht Pride on Saturday June 1st. While the feeling of connection is so important to combat loneliness, it is not a given for everyone in the queer community. Vodafone is therefore introducing a powerful symbol of connection: the Belong(r)ing. This ring symbolizes an invitation to come together during Pride and express that person's openness to connection. Main sponsor Vodafone is using this campaign to reinforce the message of Utrecht Pride: U Belong.

Risk of loneliness

Movisie research shows that individuals from the LGBTQIA+ community are at greater risk of feeling lonely. A lack of social support and acceptance can lead to feelings of isolation. This is why Pride, as the day of the LGBTQIA+ community, is a great time to connect with each other. It is an invitation to everyone to be themselves and come together in love and pride.

Encouraging connections

Vodafone therefore believes it is important to encourage those connections in the community and to make connection tangible during Pride this year. With the ring as a symbol of connection, Vodafone wants to make the step to come to Pride easier. By wearing the ring, Pride visitors indicate that they are open to conversation and new interactions. With the striking design by Utrecht queer designer Jade Hermans, everyone can see other wearers that are open to new connections and celebrate Pride together. Through this campaign, Vodafone conveys: U Belong, I Belong, We Belong.

Fleur van Beem, Executive Director of Strategy, Insights & Digital Transformation at VodafoneZiggo and SLT sponsor of the internal Queers Connected network, emphasizes, “No one should feel alone, yet individuals in the queer community are more likely to struggle with this. We are trying to address that internally ourselves with, among other things, our Queers Connected network. With the Belong(r)ing, we bring the connection we are trying to foster internally to the rest of the queer community as well. Enjoyment and progress with every connection is at the core of our business, so I'm proud that Vodafone is doing something for the community in this way and making connection tangible.”

Jade Hermans, Utrecht-based designer of the Belong(r)ing and a member of the queer community, explains why she was happy to participate: “Being able to give something back to my community during Pride, the moment of the year where we take center stage, was a no-brainer for me. A ring is already the symbol of connection, but with my design I like to help people to take the first step in making a connection and meeting each other.”

Robert Kalff, chairman of Utrecht Pride, gives his perspective on the initiative: “The U Belong theme of Utrecht Pride this year was chosen to ensure that no one hesitates to feel at home at our Pride. The fact that Vodafone wants to contribute to this in this tangible way we think is a wonderful thing and testifies to our great partnership.”

During Pride, several well-known community members will be present on the station square in Utrecht to connect and convey the idea behind the ring. They will hand out the rings, together with VodafoneZiggo employees.

Not only during Pride Month, but throughout the year, VodafoneZiggo works to create an inclusive society and a positive work environment for queer colleagues. Diversity, equality and inclusiveness (DE&I) in its full breadth is integrated into VodafoneZiggo's business strategy. LGBTQIA+ inclusiveness is an integral part of this.