Growing up gay in Ireland has been led me on a very interesting journey. The struggle I felt internally is something that I am sure many members of the LGBTQIA+ community go through that not a lot of heterosexual people will ever understand. In that the same way, I might never fully understand the feelings of someone who is struggling with their gender identity.
A feeling that we all share, from speaking with others, is that of being alone in the world.
The world is a big place, and it can be very overwhelming to think that out of seven billion people on this planet, you are one of 140 million people that is makes up 2% of the population. A recent figure shows that this number is on the rise, but what they don’t speak about is why this number was always so small. There are many factors in which people chose to hide their true selves in the past and continue to do so, whether it be religion, family, and may we not forget the AIDs crisis of the 80’s that took so many people of the community. So, for me to find a place where I felt like I could be myself and feel a sense of belonging is important.
In comes Workhuman, a company that has been in my life for 20 years. My mother has been part of this company since its early days. Myself a relatively new joiner, three years this September, being an employee of a company that values me as a person regardless of my sexual orientation is something that growing up, I wasn’t too sure even existed.
I can bring my true authentic self to work every day and not feel like I need to hold any part of my life back. I recently got married to my amazing husband and this “Life Events” award was shared with the company on our recognition platform, and I received so much support and well wishes – even from people in the company I have never interacted with.
Workhuman fostering culture and cultivating openness allowed a group of the LGBTQIA+ community, from Ireland and Boston, to come together and form Sparkle, our LGBTQIA+ employee resource group.
Sparkle is an acronym for “Supporting Pride, Awareness, Recognition and Knowledge: LGBTQIA+ Employees & Allies.” We founded the ERG to help guide the company in understanding the needs of the employees who identify as LGBTQIA+ and to make sure that all these voices were heard. Our aim as a group is to educate others within the community and our allies on many aspects relating to our trans siblings and even down to the language that is used.
Last year we held a workshop on the importance of pronouns, as well as held talks from the Irish charity “Shout Out” that covered the topics of “Pride” and “Parents & Guardians of LGBTQIA+”. This year I became a co-leader of the group, a tremendous honour and privilege for me. As a group we want to continue with this type of education that can allow all Workhuman employees to be more aware of the things that affect LGBTQIA+ communities and how they can be better allies inside and outside of work.
This year Workhuman sponsored Pride in Rhode Island and Dublin . I am writing this blog the Monday after Dublin Pride took place – and all I can say is a massive thank you to all those who showed up from Workhuman and those who organised the event behind the scenes.
It was an amazing day which started in the office with some breakfast, t-shirt decoration and face paint. We then took a bus to Dublin city centre to join the rest of the Companies in the parade. It was amazing to see some of Workhuman’s customers there too! We cheered and shouted and had an amazing time, I can’t wait to do it again next year.