Claire has always had strong views about the freedom to be who you are. She would get upset and angered if others made degrading comments or judged others by how they live their life. But things took a more personal turn when her own daughter opened up to her about her sexuality. Allyship took on a whole new meaning.
B. is in a unique, but not altogether uncommon position. He is a LGBTQIA+ professional in a global workplace, which means he often must balance how he shares the two versions of himself. “I have truly experienced what it means to ‘be yourself’, without fear. But I also experience what it feels like to hide your true identity away.”
We still live in a world where acceptance and understanding for the LGBTQIA+ community still varies greatly. Antoun has experienced first-hand the importance of creating safe spaces for individuals to express their true selves. His journey of coming out in Syria and joining Roche in Belgium taught him about the crucial role we all play in fostering safe and inclusive environments.
Stuart's workplace coming-out journey reminds him of the valuable role leaders play in allowing others to feel comfortable showing their true colours. “In my own early experience, I saw risk in coming out before I knew that the environment was safe. So the process starts with creating an accepting workplace.”
Any journey of understanding one’s identity is a path filled with obstacles and turning points. For Julie, recognising their non-binary identity was a significant milestone. It's a road they are still walking, a journey of self-love and acceptance. And it's a journey that has led them to a new understanding of the world and their place in it.
Living in Cape Town, South Africa, William shares how his country has a splintered attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community. He observes the coexistence of progress and openness, while at the same time extreme inequality and bigoted views that dominate cultural attitudes.
Padraic says we can all be an ally. It starts with removing any preconceived notions we may have and focusing on the individual person in front of us. “We can all be an ally. It starts with removing any preconceived notions we may have and focusing on the individual person in front of us.”
“When I joined Roche about 14 years ago, I felt like a unicorn. Some colleagues even told me that I was ‘the only one’. But I didn’t face any issues being openly out at the workplace. I initiated OPEN over 10 years ago with some colleagues, as I noticed that not everybody had the same environment in the company nor in society.”
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