For me – being an LGBT ally is just like being a feminist – if you believe in equality, you are one.
I’m a feminist, an ally, and I work as part of the Active Inclusion team in the UK, so I have a huge opportunity to proactively use my day job to support my role as an ally for our LGBT community. My big “lightbulb” moment in my active inclusion journey came as part of an LGBT awareness session. One of the statistics which was presented there showed that only 30% of the LGBT community feel comfortable being out at work.
I couldn’t get that statistic out of my head. Imagine having to filter yourself continually during your working day. At least 70% of your waking hours during the week where you can’t be your real self. It really brought home for me how important the “Active” part of our inclusive culture is. It’s just not enough to think that an absence of exclusion is the same as behaving in an inclusive way.
I know from hearing Eloise’s story that a lack of really actively inclusive behaviour can leave those who feel “outside” feeling incredibly isolated and afraid. So my focus as an ally is to be as proactive as possible when it comes to sharing and celebrating the stories of my LGBT colleagues – to let as many people as possible know that at Capgemini you are safe and supported to be your real self at work; that difference is not only ok, it’s wonderful. And for me, I’ve found the openness of some of my amazing LGBT colleagues has inspired more bravery in me – to bring my whole self to work each day, and not a filtered version. #BeTheYou