For WorldPride 2021, leaders from global corporations dedicated to promoting an inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ professionals gathered virtually and in person for L’Autre Cercle’s Odyssey for Equality project at the Human Rights Forum in Copenhagen. One of those leaders, Duc Dao, Delivery Lead at Maven Wave and a key member of Wavelength (our community for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer+ employees and allies), spoke on a panel shedding light on transgender inclusion in the workplace.
Joined by other speakers from Microsoft, APCOM, Pride Circle, PFLAG China, and Atos, Maven Wave’s parent company, Dao joined the critical conversation around “What should the workplace look like for LGBTQIA people in 2031?”
L’Autre Cercle, the French non-profit behind Odyssey for Equality, has representatives in 21 countries spanning five continents to carry out its single mission: establishing inclusion in the workplace. Despite current pandemic challenges, the journey to seek answers and define the future for this community during WorldPride and beyond continues. And though there have been great strides toward inclusivity, there’s still much work to be done.
To learn more about the important topic of transgender inclusion in the workplace discussed during WorldPride at L’Autre Cercle’s Odyssey for Equality, we sat down with Dao for a deeper dive and his top takeaways from this eye-opening event.
LGBTQ+ Disparities Across the World
For Dao, a pivotal moment during the event was listening to heartfelt testimonies from refugees who identify as LGBTQ+ and learning more about what’s going on in other parts of the world, especially in more oppressive communities.
Q: Duc, could you tell us more about the challenges LGBTQ+ refugees who spoke at WorldPride face?
One of the biggest challenges that remain is how far behind some countries are regarding LGBTQ+ rights in the workplace and in general. It really opened my eyes to learn what these individuals have gone through, what’s going on in their countries, and what they’ve experienced in their circle of family, friends, and society. I also learned how these experiences have affected their transition from their assigned gender at birth to their true identities. Hearing those testimonies made me realize how lucky we are here in the United States and how much freedom we have as opposed to some of these more oppressive regimes such as Russia, China, and Afghanistan. As much as we like to say that progress has been made, many communities are still experiencing the kind of oppression that we have fought for so long. It’s really disheartening that it is still going on, but it was good to hear their stories and learn what it really meant to them and that they are able to share their stories right now despite everything that’s going on in their respective countries.
Q: Let’s talk further about some of the world leaders that joined the conversation. What insight did they provide?
European Union and United Nations Representatives joined us to discuss the triple exile of LGBTQ+ refugees. What that means is these people sought refuge somewhere else and were deported back to their countries of origin for citizenship reasons, leaving a somewhat free country to go back to their homeland, which is an oppressive country. We heard stories about how they adapted to that and then they were able to flee yet again. Clearly, this is not just a single issue they are experiencing; it’s more of an ongoing issue throughout their entire lives. They are continuously fighting to be free, and nothing is ever guaranteed for them, so they always live within this bubble of fear that they could be sent back.
Embracing the Transgender Community
Another key takeaway from Dao’s WorldPride presentation, aside from learning how this community overcame all of the obstacles, is that they don’t want people to feel sympathy, empathy, or pity for them because where they are right now is where they’re happy.
Q: Duc, can you tell us what you’ve learned about the transgender community and what they want the rest of the world to know?
What was most refreshing to learn is that even though the transgender community has been through so much, they don’t want people to feel apologetic. They want people to start embracing them for who they are because they are happy where they are. Most times, when people think of the transgender community, they think of the oppression they’ve experienced and the lack of acceptance within their communities and family. Despite this, they want us to know they are comfortable in their own skin. With so much negativity in their lives, they don’t want that to be their identity. They are their authentic selves and living their best lives.
What Will the Workplace Be Like For Transgender People in 2031?
Dao’s WoldPride presentation took a closer look at the existing problems with inclusion in the workplace in 2021 and what policies need to be implemented globally to make workplaces more inclusive in 10 years.
Q: Can you share an overview of your WoldPride presentation?
We took a look at what the ideal situation for the LGBTQ+ community should be by 2031 and what needs to take place in order for that to happen. The presentation involved hearing and learning from representatives from different countries who stepped into the spotlight to speak about what they are doing in their day-to-day to be more proactive in changing some of these non-discrimination policies. It was really refreshing to hear and, hopefully, by 2031, we can live in a world where everyone feels accepted and included for who they are. It was super powerful.
Committed to a Culture of Inclusion
Dao’s participation at WorldPride is just one example of Maven Wave’s commitment to raising awareness for the LGBTQ+ community and creating a safe environment where all employees feel a sense of belonging, acceptance, and pride. Following his return from this empowering experience, Dao is already working with Wavelength members to expand its reach and membership by onboarding allies outside of the LGBTQ+ realm to get involved, create new policies, and expand on healthcare initiatives.
Up next for Wavelength is its quarterly “Read, Watch, Listen List” internal discussion around the movie Luca, one of Disney’s first LGBTQ+ films. With a lot of controversy around the film, the conversation is highly anticipated.
Stay tuned for more updates on Wavelength and how Maven Wave is committed to fostering an inclusive environment that increases LGBTQ+ visibility and equality in the workplace. To learn more about our company culture and career opportunities, click here.
Get the latest industry news and insights delivered straight to your inbox.