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The Role of Technology Companies in Advancing LGBTQIA+ Rights: Insights from VMware Experts


The Role of Technology Companies in Advancing LGBTQIA+ Rights: Insights from VMware Experts
Every June, Pride Month takes place to honor and uplift the LGBTQIA+ community. The theme for 2023, 'Strength in Solidarity,' emphasizes the cultural importance of the community while recognizing the individuality of each person and the immense power we possess when we join together for a worthy cause.
Pierric Chabat, Marketing Manager at VMware, emphasizes that Pride Month is not only a time for celebration but also an opportunity to reflect on the struggles and progress of the LGBTQIA+ community. He emphasizes the importance of continuing to celebrate Pride Month to acknowledge the efforts and challenges faced by individuals who fought for our right to exist openly without fear.
Anca Titu, Manager, Deal Management Team and Pride@VMware Ireland co-chair at VMWare, highlights that Pride Month is a chance for allies to participate and support the LGBTQ+ community. She believes that being present and showing support is a meaningful first step toward becoming an ally.
James Hogan, Senior Director, NEMEA End-User Computing, agrees that being an ally is crucial and achievable. He encourages asking genuine questions and expressing interest as part of the learning process and mutual support within the community.
Pierric, Anca, and James discuss their personal perspectives on Pride, the significance of allyship, and why they believe technology companies like VMware are well-positioned to promote equality.
Q: What does 'Pride' mean to you? Why is it important to celebrate Pride Month?
Pierric: Pride, to me, represents the freedom to be authentic and proud of who we are, shining a light on the diverse individuals within our community. It is unfortunate that many parts of the world still deny this basic right that we enjoy in my privileged living environment.
Anca: To me, "Pride" signifies solidarity, safety, equality, and affirmation. Solidarity is crucial as we inherently seek connection and acceptance from those around us. Even small acts of support can make a significant difference.
Safety and equality are fundamental human rights, but unfortunately, they remain elusive for many LGBTQ+ individuals. It is our responsibility to work towards turning this dream into a reality. The affirmation provided by Pride Month holds immense importance for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.
James: Pride, to me, signifies the freedom for individuals to express their true selves without fear of judgment and the importance of inclusion. While I acknowledge the progress we have made as a society, it's crucial to note that my perspective comes from being a straight privileged male. Celebrating Pride shouldn't be limited to just one month but should be a daily practice. I appreciate having Pride Month as an opportunity to truly honor our unique qualities and remind everyone of the ongoing journey ahead.
Q: How can employees show support for the LGBTQIA+ community and become allies? Are there any specific activities or events for employees to demonstrate their support?
Anca: One way to begin supporting the LGBTQ+ community and becoming an ally is by being present and showing support. Participating in VMware's Pride Month events provides a great opportunity, as they offer a variety of activities including trainings, speaker series, and enjoyable events. Additionally, the PRIDE@VMware POD is always seeking to expand its community. There are numerous ways to get involved, stay informed about events and service-learning opportunities, and even join the POD as an active member. As this year's theme emphasizes, there is strength in solidarity.
James: I always consider whether our company is seen as a place where individuals can bring their authentic selves to work. While we have made progress, it's important to continuously challenge ourselves. By empathizing and understanding others' perspectives, we can gain insight into what still needs to be accomplished. This is why allyship is incredibly important.
Pierric: Educating yourself and conducting thorough research is vital. Each person has different experiences and boundaries, so it's essential not to make assumptions but instead ask questions respectfully. Simple acts like using someone's correct pronouns or not assuming the gender of someone's partner may seem small, but they can have a significant impact on someone's well-being. If you have the means, consider donating money or your time to charities and organizations that support the LGBTQIA+ community and advocate for their rights. If you witness harassment or encounter uncomfortable jokes or unsolicited comments, it's important to speak out against them. We should not tolerate discrimination in any form.
Q: What role can technology companies like VMware play in advancing LGBTQIA+ rights and promoting inclusivity on a broader scale?
Pierric: Technology companies such as VMware have the power to influence and set a positive example for other organizations. They can go beyond legal requirements and ensure that LGBTQIA+ employees receive the same rights, protections, and benefits as their heterosexual counterparts. In some places, there are no mandates for companies to provide equal benefits like parental leave, family planning assistance, or comprehensive healthcare. It is crucial for corporations to create a safe environment where everyone can bring their authentic selves to work.
Anca: Technology companies like VMware can make a significant impact in supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as other marginalized groups. Firstly, by establishing effective diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, they can foster an inclusive and safe culture where employees can truly be themselves. This benefits both individuals and the overall company. Secondly, VMware provides resources such as mental health support and Take-a-Break days, advocates for self-identification, supports legislation for LGBTQIA+ rights globally, and has internal policies that ensure equality and support for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Q: What advice do you have for LGBTQIA+ individuals aspiring to pursue a career in the technology industry? Are there any recommended resources or communities to assist them on their journey?
Anca: I encourage anyone interested in a tech career to take the leap, as it can be an incredibly rewarding path, especially in a company like VMware that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. When it comes to resources, annual reports that assess companies' diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts can provide insights into their culture. Additionally, dedicated communities like myGwork, which VMware has partnered with, offer valuable professional connections and support for LGBTQIA+ individuals.
Pierric: The technology industry is one of the most inclusive industries I've had the privilege to work in. While there is still progress to be made globally, the IT field is rapidly becoming more diverse and inclusive. I have always felt comfortable being my true self in the workplace and have been open with my colleagues about being part of the LGBTQIA+ community.