On Thursday 29 August 2019, the Network hosted a panel to discuss "LGBTIQ+ in the Workplace: Where are we now?" Chief Minister Andrew Barr, Dr Jonathon Zapasnik and Robin Ladwig helped set the scene. ANU Alumni committee members Beth Kerrison and Amy Tielu organised the event with Mathew Warren in support on the night.
Andrew framed the discussion restating the goal to make Canberra the most inclusive and tolerant city in Australia and spoke on initiatives to achieve this. Jonathon focused on life as a new graduate in a busy government agency and the strategies he has developed for coming out in the workplace. Robin, a PhD candidate at the University of Canberra contributed an academic approach speaking on research into gender diverse colleagues in the workplace. Focusing on career development and work pathways and the interrelation to workplace culture and organisational structures.
Importantly, attendees on the night actively joined in the discussion. The point was raised that while great strides have been made in Canberra for inclusion of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) members of the community, Transgender, Intersex, and Genderqueer (TIG+) members have not generally enjoyed the same degree of acceptance and safety.
Having allies among LGB and non-LGBTIQ+ colleagues is a critical and powerful means of normalising inclusion. They set the tone for successful engagement and productive work cultures: visible signs that your new workplace is accepting and inclusive upon entry, mitigates that incognito period where TIQ+ employees gauge the temperament and likelihood of being accepted or treated differently.
Both subtle and overt gestures can be key to setting an everyday culture for LGBTIQ+ inclusion, especially for young or new employees. A culture that standardises events recognising the whole person (Wear It Purple Day, Harmony Day, R U OK Day), enable us to bring our whole selves to work and recognise our colleagues as multi-dimensional people.
Thank you for all for your terrific engagement in the discussion, it was wonderful to see representation from current students, recent graduates, our seasoned alumni, and allies! $100 in donations was collected for A Gender Agenda on the night.
Australian workplaces submit themselves for consideration of how they're performing in measures of LGBTIQ+ equality, and are ranked in the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI). If you want to know how your workplace is performing, check this out to learn what your organisation can do from the everyday adjustments to strategic changes: http://www.pid-awei.com.au/ We start one step at a time!
Upcoming ANU LGBTIQ+ Alumni Events
- The Return Home (Thursday 26 September): In collaboration with Toad Hall, the ANU LGBTIQ+ Alumni Network will host an evening inviting LGBTIQ+ Toad Hall alumni and their allies to hear from members of the community about the challenges of returning to a community or country where being LGBTIQ+ is unwelcome, dangerous or even illegal. The night will foster discussion to share experiences, and focus on equipping members and their allies with tools and strategies to manage this transition.
- The Intersectionality Series (TBC): This series of panels will focus on the experiences of living at the intersection of LGBTIQ+ and other personal aspects including disability, religion, and being a person of colour.
Written by Amy Tielu, Chair of the LGBTIQ+ network, photos by Ben Huang.