I recently attended an Out In Tech event hosted by LinkedIn with my colleague Matthew. I’m an open and accepting person of all cultures and communities, but this event opened up an entirely new conversation for me.
LGBTQ+ Community in the Workplace
It raised issues I’d never considered before and gave me an insight into the reality of the LBGT community in the workplace. I’d only ever, selfishly I guess, considered how my own needs are effected in the workplace, sexism, women’s rights, equal pay, maternity policies, and parental leave. I’d never once considered for a moment how a colleague would cope dealing with their transition and the effect this would have on them in the workplace.
I’d never thought before how it must feel to the only gay or lesbian person in the office. And I certainly had zero understanding what a workplace Ally was. I have family, friends and colleagues from all walks of life. I grew up in a small town in New Zealand which has a very strong, proud and inclusive indigenous cultural identity. I now live in London which is one of the biggest multicultural and diverse cities in the world. Matthew Smith, a champion of diversity and inclusion has introduced me to an entirety new way of understanding diversity in the workplace. He introduced me to being a workplace Ally.
A workplace Ally is another colleague who will help, support and encourage you in the workplace. They will offer you friendship, advise and listen to your thoughts, opinions and issues. A workplace Ally is basically someone who’s “got your back.
Are you able to be your true Authentic self?
In the workplace, Identifying with who you truly are in a safe environment is paramount to individuals being able to thrive in their careers, and of course in turn will increase productivity. I believe all Businesses have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment, where employees feel they can share ideas, collaborate, grow, be themselves and not feel threaten or ridiculed. We should be encouraging our workforce to be their true authentic self.
But who is your true authentic self?
I identify has many different things: I’m a strong independent women, a loving wife (who is rubbish at housework), a mother of three boys, proud New Zealander, a daughter, sister, an honest and true friend.
I’m a strong advocate of women’s rights, passionate about gender equality and an ally in the workplace. I’m dedicated colleague, digital marketing professional (who slightly obsessed with social media) and a blogger. I’m ever so slightly sarcastic and a bit of social butterfly.
Identifying with my true authentic self, takes courage and an understanding of your own values, morals and principles. Depending on your environment, it may not an easy thing to do.
Of course there are all the juicy statistics which put a commercial value on diversity and inclusion, but at core heart of it, we all need to expand our minds, we need to hear stories, understand experiences and journeys from people from all walks of lives. Our own professional and personal lives become richer when we are open, inclusive and diverse.
Who is your true authentic self?