When queer people celebrate their identities, there is often a backlash – this open vocalisation of sexuality is frowned upon. This behaviour is rather common in offices and other workplaces and is a product of heteronormative and traditional upbringing. Normal conversations on how a couple spent a weekend, or about someone’s married or parenting experience, are invariably heterosexual in character and the sexuality expressed therein is a matter of pride. Which is unlike how queer relationships are looked at.
Social conditioning prevents most people from accepting queer sexuality. It is still largely looked at as being ‘unnatural’, so, celebrating it is understood to be a pointless act. In a world where the existence of queer folks is challenged every day, the need to perform and assert one’s identity is pressing. Like everyone else, physical, mental and social security is very important to us. Which is why, in the lead up to the Queer Pride March in Bengaluru, a few corporate teams from the city are organising a workshop called ‘Queer At Work 2.o’. The main idea here is to help build a positive environment for queer individuals everywhere, especially in spaces of work.
The objectives of this workshop include helping queer people come out at their workplace, providing ideas to the allies working for queer inclusion in a professional environment, and exploring ideas on how to start, and also deal with the consequences of, queer engagement at the workplace.
I had a conversation with Swaroop, a senior HR professional, about the workshop. He speaks about the factors that hold Indian companies back when it comes to LGBTQIA+ inclusion, the queer-friendly policies that exist in some organisations today, and the ways of approaching organisations about queer sensitisation. He also shares success stories of queer-inclusive business firms.
The ‘Queer At Work 2.o’ is scheduled to be held at Urban Solace starting 3:00 pm on 28th October. Here’s wishing you all a Happy Pride Month!
Written by Shilok Shivanya.