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How workplaces can welcome more LGBTQ+ people

  • Posted on June 24, 2021
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
How workplaces can welcome more LGBTQ+ people

Born gay and Black, I grew up in a very male dominant environment. People around me had huge expectations about who I should be and what I should be. In the beginning, I struggled for a long time to meet each one of them – especially in the work environment.

When I was a teenager, I took mechanics course. Despite the area of interest, the pressures of the environment to follow a certain behavior began to deeply affect my self-esteem. I used to think, “There might be something wrong with me.”

Every time when I talked with someone, I just got stuck. The pressure to be someone else caused me a permanent fear that my way wasn't right. I needed to speak in an specific way, sit in a specific way, move in a specific way. This ended up decreasing more and more my desire to be in places and to do my job. After all, people seemed to be more concerned about my manner and my sexuality than my performance.

At the time, to continue this work experience, I was forced to close myself inside. For a long time I believed I was a shy person. Today I am aware that, in fact, I was a person being silenced by the violence I faced on a daily basis.

When I finally went to college, and got in touch with people with similar experiences, I understood that there was nothing wrong with me. The problem was prejudice – the need some people had to belittle me just for who I am and who I love.

It was at this time that I promised myself that I never go back to that reality where I couldn't be honest with myself. This decision made all the difference.

Changing environments

I found Avanade unintentionally when I was using Instagram. In my feed, the wonderful Duda Dello Russo appeared announcing Avanade's internship selective process through 99jobs. At the time, I was interested, but I let it go.

At another time, when I was browsing the same network, I saw Black influencers promoting the same hiring process. So I decided to take a risk and signed up. I've never seen a company go beyond the LinkedIn bubble to actually look for diverse people. It had everything to be a different experience than the first one – and it was!

I was approved and, from the beginning, I had the joy of encountering the environment I always dreamed of: a workplace where I can be the person I really am, without worrying about presenting an edited version of myself. A work environment where people listen, are welcome and become even better for people who are rarely included in the places where they work.

Another change that marked me: In the other companies I worked for, I felt that relationships were much colder, there was no room for me to get out of character and make real connections. But, at Avanade, I feel like I've managed to bond with amazing people and feel comfortable being who I am.

Because of this freedom and real acceptance, I was also able to recover my passion for the work and be my best version. After all, both I and the people who work with me have gained a lot by offering me the necessary welcome and acceptance.

So, if embracing, including and respecting is so beneficial to everyone, why is it still so rare in companies? It is high time for more work environments to really take this lead and truly welcome LGBTQIA+ people, as well as other minority groups.

I leave a piece of advice for companies that want to start making a difference: Break the LinkedIn bubble. Then go beyond the logos with our flag and really embrace the many realities that this acronym contemplates. We are plural and we are looking for inclusive environments. Provide a safe space for us to be heard, without prejudice or threats to our work.

marie-claire latour

Hi Danrley. Thxs for sharing your story. We are very fortunate to have you in the Avanade team . Thx you also for helping us to better understand these challenges. Take care & all the best 

July 4, 2021

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