Every time I talk about my weekend, dinner plans, future plans, love life and family, I come out. Every day, I come out to colleagues. Despite being comfortable with who I am, I always hold my breath and wait to see if the person continues to see me in the same light they did a second ago despite my gender and sexuality.
People are always surprised by the apprehension I experience to bring my whole self to work because they personally have no problem with LGBTIQ people and have never experienced or witnessed the consequences of when someone is not comfortable with LGBTIQ people. It’s important to remember that being LGBTIQ is not a political stance, it is simply something that you either are or are not.
The problem with passive support is, if you don’t actively support LGBTIQ people then no one knows. Passive support puts LGBTIQ people in a tough place, because they can’t tell how they will be received in the workplace.
That’s where Aurizon’s ALLin initiative sponsored by our Vice President Service Delivery Freight, Catherine Baxter’s Rainbow laces come in. Seven hundred pairs of rainbow laces have been sent to Aurizon depots across the Country for employees to put on their work boots. Swapping the normal laces to rainbow ones sends a clear message – I’m an ally and you are safe to bring your whole self to work’. The rainbow laces are a visible symbol of Aurizon’s support for the LGBTIQ community, demonstrating that the Company is creating a safe and respectful workplace for ALL employees.
I’m proud to work at Aurizon and know every day I can always bring my whole self to work. That’s why I’m the Chairperson of Aurizon’s ALLin Network – a group of more than 100 employees who make up our LGBTIQ & Allies network. We ask our allies to actively support a diverse culture by the following;
Being inclusive is about everyday behaviours and conversations. Don’t make stereotypes and don’t make assumptions. Off the cuff remarks like “that’s so gay” make many people feel uncomfortable.
Being a visible and vocal ally is incredibly powerful in building an inclusive culture. Out yourself as an ally, promote yourself as an ally, and have something at your workbench promoting LGBTIQ inclusion.
Challenge your colleagues and have courageous conversations. Remember the standard you walk by is the standard you accept. It’s ok to ask what do you mean by that?
Educate yourself & others
The LGBTIQ network is constantly updating and providing material to its allies to help them support an inclusive culture. Sign up and check your inbox regularly for updates and tell others!