Pride month: Recognising the power of being heard
By Vicky LeeJun 20201 min read
As it’s Pride month, the Rainbow group at GoCardless wanted to share stories and insights from within our community. This week we hear from Vicky Lee, Software Development Engineer.
In my experience, I have always had to “come out” at work. People don’t realise how often their gender or sexuality comes up in conversation. For example, it’s a very normal occurrence for a straight woman to mention her husband, whereas if a gay woman mentions her wife, it’s considered “coming out”.
We live in a cisnormative and heteronormative society, and the workplace is no different. This tends to lead to people making assumptions and using the wrong pronouns for people or their partners. In this case, correcting them would also be “coming out”. Therefore, it has felt unavoidable throughout my career.
Fortunately, I have never had to hide my true self at work. However, if I ever did find myself in a toxic workplace where I didn’t feel I could be openly gay, my first response would be to leave immediately.
Listening to the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community
Choosing the right company and culture is important. When looking for a new role, I wouldn’t even consider joining a company that has a reputation for mistreating members of the LGBTQ+ community.
That doesn’t mean I look for a company that pushes the most publicity for Pride month; there are different ways to show support for the community and I find some more meaningful than others.
While it’s nice to see public gestures from companies, it has to be backed up by equal treatment for their own LGBTQ+ employees. This means listening to the opinions of these employees about their experience of working for them, as well as non-LGBTQ+ employees’ attitudes to working with them.
By opening the conversation, you ensure that not only the LGBTQ+ community is heard but that the non-LGBTQ+ people are educated and informed. So that additionally, you can acknowledge instances of homophobic and transphobic behaviour and handle them correctly.
At GoCardless, we know how important it is to have these discussions even though they may be difficult. We recently held a How To Be A Better Ally panel, where the speakers included people from marginalised groups, to share experiences and ideas.
Finding your tribe
I am lucky to have support, inside and outside of work. Internally, I have formed connections with other LGBTQ+ people, which has made me even more comfortable to be my true self.
Plus, I have allies both at work and beyond, who want to be informed and empowered to call out homophobic behaviour.
Above: Some of the lovely people from GoCardless' Rainbow Group