More Than Gender: PRIDE Celebrates Age, The Different-Abled, And Individuality
"Even if you’re straight, you should still support equal rights, diversity and inclusion."
Are you Bi? Is a question that has been popping-up more often in my Instagram since I started collaborating with PRIDE. Even if you’re straight, you should still support equal rights, diversity and inclusion. Another issue that is raised often is “But you’re a Christian.” Indeed, and which is why “Above all, we love our neighbor as we love ourselves” and refrain from judging.
Pride is about celebrating diversity which includes gender, age, heritage and the differently-abled. I spoke with diversity and inclusion expert Irene Oliver Puerta of Nordic Diversify, who is a non-binary individual of Spanish decent, and it has been by far, the most eye-opening conversation I have had on fighting for equal treatment, compensation and access.
One of the biggest illusions concerning diversity is that it only serves a few. As Puerta pointed out, in some way or another each one of us is a minority: If you’re a white man in Germany who heads a successful company, you are probably expected to enjoy driving luxury cars and shamed for having more feminine hobbies like baking.
If you are an introvert, you will likely be overlooked for leadership roles just because your outgoing peers are the more obvious option. Which one of us have not, in one way or another, felt discriminated simply because we do not identify with society’s ideal image?
Diversity and inclusion is about celebrating differences so that we can all feel safe to express ourselves without being ostracized. It means that your qualification to work won’t be determined by your age, sexual preference, or country of origin, and that any possible handicap you may have will be fairly assessed instead of sentenced. It is about being allowed to love who you choose and live where you want to without fear of attack or harassment. Everyone can practice inclusivity, it doesn’t have to be a picket banner on the street. Puerta shares these simple tips how you can support diversity as an individual:
1) Dare to express yourself freely. When you allow yourself to be who you are, it is easier for you to accept that not everyone is like you.
2) Make friends with people different from you: Invite them into your circle. Expanding your network outside familiars will deepen your understanding of the world.
3) Normalize uniqueness; not every girl likes pink and not all boys like to play sports. Relate to people as individuals instead of reducing them into stereotypes.
4) Support organizations in your community that advocates for diversity, sign pledges and petitions that lobbies for equal rights.
1) Encourage management to add more diversity into your team. Inclusive companies perform best as they are more creative and innovative.
2) For leaders, make sure that there are at least two seats in your board for minorities. Take a chance on assigning them to a managerial position and support them to succeed.
Puerta shared that we have what we call the Glass cliff effect; “Where a minority is hired for a task in precarious conditions and poorly supported environments in moments of crisis or downturns. Promoting this person will make the company look good regardless of whether this person fails at their job, the company would still earn the reputation of “being progressive”, but is free to reappoint a more typical candidate when the minority person fails. If you belong to a minority group, beware of ‘too good to be true’ job posts, and make sure that your job has solid mentoring and good circumstances for your success!”
3) Don't treat minorities as mascots or tokens. A lot of companies splatter PRIDE in their marketing posters and merchandises but if you look at their team, it is explicitly exclusive, for example, dominated by only men from the same nationality and age group, or in Europe, white-washed.
In the Philippines, Niccolo Cosme has been pioneering the PRIDE movement through The Red Whistle and Project Headshot Clinic which he founded to advocate for equality and HIV and AIDS awareness. Cosme is particular encourages citizens to exercise their rights in pushing for more inclusive legislations that protects the rights of minorities to receive equal opportunities, access and protection.
“Let’s all remember that Pride is and will always be a protest. We should continue the fight for equality and inclusion which the LGBTQIAP+ before us have laid for us. Despite very trying times we must move forward and rise up together,” Cosme nudges. To know more and support The Red Whistle and Headshot Clinic, click here.