Now, our Programme Director Zuzana Clark talks about why she has become an ally.
Why am I an ally?
Because fairness is one of my core values in life and something that I fundamentally believe in.
I stand up and speak out for what I believe in, even if, at times, it gets me into a tricky situation.
Learning about the history and experiences of LGBTQ+ people is really important to me so that I can understand the issues that are affecting people in my network and community.
I’m sure we can all think of people we know who identify themselves as LGBTQ+ in our families, friendship groups, work and other communities. These may be people who have often struggled with being accepted or being worried about being accepted for who they are.
Conscious and unconscious biases
In my case, it’s the friend who was bullied at school for being flamboyant, the cousin who was disowned by his parents for being gay because they would lose their church community, the friend who was forced to attend conversion therapy before his parents accepted that there was nothing they could do to change him, the friend who ended up quitting his job because he was petrified about another colleague outing him for asking him out on a date.
Every happy story requires an amount of bravery because there’s still so much prejudice and discrimination in the world and huge cultural differences. It’s no wonder that the LGBTQ+ community is more prone to higher levels of depression and anxiety due to the conscious or unconscious biases they face every day.
There are many more sources of information and support now than there have been in the past, and it’s so important to keep educating and helping each other.
Free to be yourself
I want First Central to be a diverse and inclusive place where everyone feels comfortable to be who they are, to bring their whole self to work and not feel they need to hide any part of themselves, their culture or their beliefs. We should not only be allies, we should act as them too.
Diversity and inclusion is about creating a more equitable and supportive workplace for everyone. Here at First Central, we pride ourselves on taking ownership and developing, and part of that is reaching out and discussing these topics.