Ayer tuve la oportunidad de conversar sobre los retos en los medios de comunicación, inclusión laboral y derechos de personas LGBT con activistas y periodistas de México, Estados Unidos, Cuba, Sudáfrica, China, Argentina, Nicaragua, Brasil, Suecia, El Salvador, Guatemala y seguro otros países que ahorita se me escapan.
Tantas cosas interesantes sucediendo en nuestro mundo. Tanto que hacer. Tantos con quienes trabajar y de quienes aprender. Gracias a ILGA por el espacio y mucho éxito el resto de la semana en la conferencia.
Hoy y mañana estaré participando en mesas de discusión sobre medios de comunicación, homofobia e inclusión laboral en la Conferencia Mundial de ILGA.
ILGA es la Asociación Internacional de Lesbianas, Gays, Bisexuales, Transgénero e Intersexuales. Cada dos años lleva a cabo una reunión en una ciudad diferente. Esta vez es en Ciudad de México y vienen activistas, periodistas, políticos, representantes de organizaciones de varios países y voceros de comunidades LGBT.
El pasado 18 de octubre tuve la oportunidad de participar en el Youth Council Summit, un encuentro nacional de jóvenes que integran los consejos juveniles que asesoran a la Embajada de Estados Unidos en México y sus consulados en varias ciudades. Platiqué con ellos sobre la importancia de la diversidad y la inclusión de personas LGBT en sus proyectos, tomando como ejemplos lo que han hecho varias universidades, empresas, organizaciones civiles y grupos religiosos en los últimos 7 años.
El pasado 9 de octubre, la empresa JP Morgan lanzó oficialmente el capítulo mexicano de Pride, su red de empleados LGBT + aliados. Por invitación de los organizadores del evento, participé dando una breve conferencia.
Hablé sobre la importancia de ser abiertamente LGBT en el trabajo, información de la Encuesta Nacional de Homofobia y Trabajo, ejemplos de homofobia y discriminación laboral, por qué ser una empresa que respeta y celebra a sus empleados y clientes LGBT es un asunto de negocios, y la relevancia de tener compañeros aliados.
Aquí la información que John Murray circuló, y que publico con su autorización:
PRIDE chapter launches in Mexico (Oct. 14, 2014)
In a show of the firm’s support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees, J.P. Morgan recently launched a PRIDE chapter in Mexico, the firm’s second PRIDE group in the region.
PRIDE, the firm’s business resource group for LGBT employees and allies, supports workplace equality and enhances an inclusive work environment and career growth opportunities for LGBT employees. A Brazil PRIDE chapter was launched last year. The Mexico launch coincided with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Chief Communications Officer Joe Evangelisti both ranking among the top executives on a list of Top LGBT executives and allies. (OUTstanding leaders)
Companies have found that supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace makes employees feel more committed, satisfied, productive, healthier and closer to their job. A Fortune report from 2011 also noted that 92% of companies reported that diversity policies and equal benefits led to good business results. Supporting diversity also helps to recruit and retain top new talent.
Best practices from Brazil
Eduardo Cepeda, Mexico senior country officer and senior sponsor of PRIDE Mexico, kicked off the Mexico PRIDE launch event last week, noting that the group has already been instrumental in helping to secure enhanced benefits for employees and their domestic partners, including access to employee health insurance benefits for domestic partners, time off from work for issues involving a death in the family of a domestic partner, adoption, maternity and paternity leave. Previously, such benefits were not available in Mexico to same sex domestic partners.
“When I heard there was interest in launching the group in Mexico, I raised my hand to volunteer to be senior sponsor, a role I will play with great pride,” Cepeda said.
The group has already attracted 54 employees as members, including all members of the Mexico Management Committee, representing 19% of the firm’s employees in Mexico. Nearly 100 employees attended the launch event. It has leveraged best practices from PRIDE Brazil in terms of messaging, membership recruitment and events.
In addition to Cepeda, the PRIDE Mexico leadership team includes Iliana Flick as Human Resources sponsor, Andrea Lerdo of Legal and John Murray of CIB LATAM Marketing as co-chairs, and members Luis de la Serna of Treasury Services, Jorge González Aceves of Trade Support, Alvaro Muñoz of CIB Operations and Salvador Rosas of Compliance.
At the launch event – which featured beverages and souvenirs from J.P. Morgan client Jose Cuervo – a local LGBT activist discussed the issues faced by LGBT employees in Mexico’s labor force, noting that according to Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) National Survey on Homophobia and the Labor Force in Mexico (Encuesta Nacional sobre Homofobia y el Mundo Laboral en México), 55% of LGBT workers in Mexico are not open about their sexual orientation at work, 24% have been fired or denied employment for being LGBT, 35% have experienced discrimination from their manager or co-workers, and just 15% took action about the discrimination. Of that 15%, 45% resigned from their job, the activist said.
According to the National Human Rights Commission survey, 51% of Mexicans feel they work at a place where they can be open about their sexual orientation, but 42% do not feel this way.
Coming out at work
The activist also spoke about the critical role of LGBT allies, noting that allies at work are critical as they display unwavering support, are sensitive to LGBT staff issues and help to ensure equality and fairness are uniformly enforced across the firm.
To close the event, two Mexico office employees spoke about their personal experiences with coming out to colleagues, Salvador Rosas of Compliance and John Murray in CIB Marketing.
Rosas talked about the impact of a rumor regarding his sexual orientation that circulated at the company he worked at prior to J.P. Morgan. He said the lack of understanding and support “had a domino effect on my career during my final two years in that company,” adding that the support J.P. Morgan provides to LGBT employees is tremendous.
Murray explained how, while at a J.P. Morgan offsite in New York in the 1980s, he was “outed” by a gay colleague who was also attending the event. “The bank was very different then,” Murray said. “There was no email, my department had a single shared computer, there was a large monstrosity called a word processor that used eight inch disks. There were also no diversity program, no BRGs in the 1980s. At that time, to be young and gay in New York meant you faced a stigma, as AIDS was new and associated with the community and some people were genuinely afraid to be near gay people.”
Murray said he was nervous after his colleague’s comments, but the team manager immediately showed visible support and leadership. “I am sure that if my manager at the time was not supportive, or worse, if he started to treat me differently or exclude me, I would be working someplace else today. I still keep in touch with him, now that he retired from the bank and lives in South Carolina and still feel lucky to work at a great institution like J.P. Morgan.”
Andrea Lerdo of Legal closed the event by quoting Sir Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants,” a reference to regional and local managers who supported the PRIDE Mexico effort. “It is due to them that we have the luck to work in a place where respect and inclusion are the pillars of the corporate culture. She encouraged the participants at the event to become “giants” themselves in order to help others understand more about LGBT rights and inclusion.