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Celebrating Pride at 383

It's Pride month, and we're chatting to some of our LGBTQ+ 383ers about their experiences at work, and what employers can do to better support their teams.

Daniel James, Unsplash

It’s the best month ever… Pride month! June marks the start of pride, a month to celebrate, educate and explore LGBTQ+ topics.

In June 2018, Stonewall released a report highlighting how LGBTQ+ brits felt about being public in the workplace. They found that one in five LGBTQ+ individuals were targets of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues in the last year, because they were LGBTQ+.

Their report also found that 35% hid or disguised that they were LGBTQ+ in order to protect themselves from discrimination.

These statistics provide us with valuable insights that many workplaces still need have a lot of work to do when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights.

Technology is a part of our daily lives, and it’s imperative that those building the tools are representative of the people using them. Including LGBTQ+ voices is highly important to ensure that we’re creating an equal world full of equal opportunities.

At 383 project, we’re working towards creating a more inclusive, supportive and welcoming environment for our LGBTQ+ team members. To us, it’s important that our colleagues feel comfortable to share and celebrate their identities, without judgement.

Alongside in-house workshops, open conversations, and reminders around inclusive language, we’re always searching for new ways to support our LGBTQ+ colleagues, during Pride month and beyond.

We wanted to take this as an opportunity to highlight and uplift some of the LGBTQ+ voices within our organisation. Say hello to Amanda (she/her), Senior Designer, Natalie(she/her), Senior Operations Manager, who joined me, Charlotte (she/her),  Social Media Manager, to chat about our experiences at work. We all identify within the LGBTQ+ community.

Have you always been out in the workplace?

Amanda: In varying degrees! When I first met my now wife, it was something I felt at the time I needed to keep on the DL. It was information I chose to share with those I was closest to. It wasn’t something I ever denied, I just didn’t as openly shout about it as I do these days.

Charlotte: Sadly not. I haven’t always been in what felt like accepting or supporting environments. In previous roles, I have heard slurs passed off as ‘banter’ (fyi, homophobia/transphobia is never funny) and comments towards same-sex relations that made me hide away from sharing myself with the workplace.

As time went on, I came to believe that these micro-aggressions in the workplace were common and I had to deal with them going forward. However, after joining the 383 team, in a short time I have never felt so comfortable to share my sexuality, relationship and who I am as a person.

How does 383 support you as an LGBTQ+ member?

Natalie: 383 has always encouraged me to be myself, as well as celebrating Pride month and promoting equality in the workplace.

When my manager had a month away with his family, he took his kids to Disney and brought me back a rainbow Mickey Mouse keyring, as he knows how much LGBTQ+ awareness and inclusivity means to me!

It’s small things like that, that make me feel so happy and comfortable being myself.

How can organisations create a safe working environment for LGBTQ+ employees?

Amanda: Actively promote and celebrate the community – publicly, as well as internally.

Ensure any discrimination is dealt with swiftly and make it clear this behaviour will not be tolerated.

Hiring the right people is also key – our process is thorough, as our culture is so important. Our aim is to ensure we align our morals and values with like-minded people so we can maintain a safe environment for everyone.

What advice would you give to young LGBTQ+ individuals worried their sexuality and/or gender identity may cause barriers in their career?

Charlotte: Your worries are valid, and if you feel uncomfortable sharing your identity, protect yourself first. You don’t owe anyone anything!

Having said that, your sexuality or gender should never be a barrier to stop you from achieving your career goals. If a company is discriminating or creating impossible barriers, they don’t deserve your time, creativity and effort.

Don’t allow others’ ignorance stop you from being incredible!

Amanda: Don’t. Just own it!

Ideas like that will only hold you back. Our fears are just thoughts, and if being yourself does result in any negative reaction from a potential workplace then those are not your people, and it’s better you know sooner rather than later.

There are so many places and people who will embrace you – us for one! (Psst, we’re hiring…)

Finally… Do you feel supported by fellow 383ers?

Natalie: I always feel the right mix of supported but not singled out at 383. At the end of the day, who I am attracted to or date is in my personal life and has nothing to do with why I’m awesome at my job.

We’re here to do work, but it’s lovely to see that it doesn’t matter if our team is gay, straight or anything else – when a 383er gets engaged or has a baby, we celebrate them and their family and this exciting life event all the same!

LGBTQ+ resources

To help educate yourself or find support and information regarding LGBTQ+ topics and issues, below are a few links we recommend you checking out.

Books
The Gender Games, Juno Dawson
Ace, Angela Chen
The Book of Non-Binary Joy, Ben Pechey

Charities
Stonewall
LGBT Foundation
Mermaids

Platforms to check out
Out in Tech
myGwork
Lesbians Who Tech

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