Work plays a major role in our lives and we deserve to work without fear or discrimination.
How would you feel if you spent a quarter of your life hiding your identity for fear of being discriminated against?
Sadly, around 35% of LGBT+ staff experience exactly that, according to Stone wall to research. On averageBrits spend 25% of their lives working, and for some that’s time spent not being fully themselves.
Stonewall’s research also found that one in five LGBT+ staff members have been the target of negative comments or behavior at work because of their sexual or gender identity, while 18% of LGBT+ people looking for a job said they had been discriminated against when trying to find a job. .
That’s why, for many companies, diversity and inclusion efforts are paramount. Such a company is Accenturea Fortune 500 multinational company based in Ireland, specializing in IT services and consultancy.
Recognized by Stonewall as one of the best employers for LGBT+ people for the past six years, it actively supports its queer employees, apprentices and interns with a commitment to “ensure an inclusive environment for all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression”.
PinkNews spoke to four of Accenture’s LGBT+ employees about being queer at work.
Rian Leggett (he/him)
For Rian, who is gay, joining a company with excellent LGBT+ inclusion policies was a top priority.
“It played a pretty big role [in choosing where to work] because I wanted to feel comfortable where I was working to be myself rather than having to hide like I had to at school,” he says PinkNews.
Rian joined Accenture two years ago as a technology apprentice. He is now in the final year of his apprenticeship and credits the company’s Pride Network for making him feel comfortable with his work identity.
When he joined, he wanted to be part of the company’s Pride Network, which he says “allows us to talk to other people in the LGBT+ community, so we can connect with people from all walks of life. the company who might not work in the same regions as us”.
“If we need it, in work situations, if we’ve faced any form of discrimination, we know we’re capable of turning to each other.”
The Pride network gave her this “safe space and connection with people”. His first action after joining was to write about himself and his sexuality for the company’s internal blog. Many others have also written their stories, which Rian says “has been very inspiring”.
Rian felt safe at Accenture to date during the first few weeks of his training. “I felt like I could be open with them, I didn’t feel like I needed to lie about my sexuality like I did before, which is great,” he said. -he declares.
Laura Jamieson (her)
For Laura, meeting a welcoming and truly open community at Accenture has helped her realize, explore and embrace her LGBT+ identity.
Before, she was an “active ally”, but says: “Honestly, if I hadn’t been at Accenture, would I have explored this and known that I am bisexual? I don’t know if I would have. I really thank Accenture’s Pride Network for inviting me to share the openness and joy of the LGBT+ community.
“It just created such a safe and accepting environment that it didn’t seem… as difficult as it otherwise might have been.”
Laura is an inclusion and diversity expert, working in HR, consulting and recruitment to drive cultural and organizational change through awareness and inclusion – part of this is encouraging LGBT+ inclusion and helping the community to feel comfortable at work.
When it comes to diversity and inclusion (D&I), Laura believes it’s “a marathon, not a sprint”, and it’s something that “requires dedicated resources”.
“If you’re always looking for a quick fix, you can never achieve systemic change.”
Above all, Laura is passionate about rolling out Accenture’s mandatory anti-racism training and working to ensure trans people are respected and included in all respects, noting the importance of intersectionality in D&I work and encouraging everyone to feel uncomfortable. .
Mario Lamas Saavedra (he/him)
Mario is originally from Mexico and lived in Chicago for a while before coming to the UK.
He feels lucky because when he started his current role three years ago, he didn’t have to come out.
“When I joined Accenture,” he says, “I didn’t tell anyone about it, because I always had this mentality that just because you’re LGBTQ+, you don’t have to shout at all. the world. A straight person wouldn’t have to do that, right?”
For many colleagues, Mario’s sexuality was accepted without the need for discussion. Understandably, he felt compelled to “come out” to a few people due to his travels to different industries, but he found seeing people wearing Pride and Ally Lanyards gave him “a bit more comfort”. .
Mario says that at Accenture there is “representation from all different areas of the spectrum, including allies,” and they seek to “make sure we celebrate them all and have open conversations.”
Intersectionality in particular is a “core value of the company”. Mario says, “We understand that we all have different backgrounds… we all want or represent different things and would love to be in a space where those boundaries are torn apart, and it doesn’t matter who you are. I think it’s part of our philosophy.
Daniella Leon (she/they)
Daniella is a non-binary lesbian who joined Accenture’s Strategy and Consulting graduate program in March 2020. They graduated from UCL, where they studied Modern Foreign Languages, in 2019.
Her work involves making changes to inclusive policies for her clients as well as providing training initiatives to Accenture employees to support them with LGBT+ inclusion. They help allies and cisgender people understand things like pronouns, genders beyond the traditional binary, and more.
She credits the company for “uplifting” non-binary and trans people and ensuring “their voices are truly heard”.
About the training initiatives, they said, “It has helped us because it gives us the opportunity to make our voices heard. The members of the Pride committee are all facilitators of these trainings, and we speak from personal experiences, which allows us to talk to others about what is or is not working and how they can help us directly.
Daniella, who works in HR consulting and strategy and also leads the Pride Committee for Consulting Analysts, added: “We have peace of mind knowing our colleagues know what to do and how to protect us. , for example. whether they witness acts of homophobia or transphobia, or in terms of understanding the nuances between gender expression, gender identity, sexualities, etc.
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