SHARING LGBTQ+ PERSPECTIVES IN AUSTRIA
Friday 16 October 2020
Almost 100 employees participated in UniCredit Bank Austria’s LGBTQ+, gender identity and expression at work discussion, which took place as part of D&I Week
Speakers shared moving personal experiences at the event, opening up about how they recognised what and who they really are. Participants discussed how they learned to rely on their own feelings and not to attach importance to other people’s opinions.
The stories of how speakers came out and became happy with who they are were particularly inspiring. Project Manager Michaela Kinast said: “Although I do not belong to the LGBT+ community, it is important to me to stay on top of the challenges that this community faces. I have attended many events like this to broaden my horizons. However, this event was the most helpful I have ever been to so far.”
Experience that gives courage
Some of the panelists shared their struggles of having to keep their private lives a secret and how they decided to “come out” so they could tell colleagues about their weekends or vacations. They shared both the good and the bad experiences they had in doing this and how all of us can create a supportive environment for all.
External guests from Pride Biz also described how they prepared colleagues for their journey through their gender transition, starting with small and actions to ease into the change such as wearing earrings or feminine sunglasses etc, after which they felt more comfortable to fully share their news. Luckily, they had only positive experiences. We also discussed what it means to be intersexual and how it brings linguistic challenges because every personal pronoun is either male or female. Seen in this light, our language must also become more open.
What we can do as allies
The event concluded with advice about being as open and inclusive as possible, and giving everyone room for personal growth – at work as well as in people’s private life. Parents can make sure that they recognise their children’s needs early on, encourage and support them. As colleagues, we can value each other, pay attention to our language and treat each other with respect and as equals without judgement.