Video: How to Find an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Workplace
Min Matson, Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Consulting, PricewaterhouseCoopers: I'm Min Matson, my pronouns are he/him, and I'm a director in PricewaterhouseCoopers' Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practice.
My mom would tell you that I've known since I was three or four that I was transgender, that I was born into the wrong body. When I think about my early days as a masculine-presenting woman in the workplace, I spent a lot of time specifically trying to dress a part. In my closet I had my work wardrobe, which was very specific feminine attire and heeled boots, and then I had my personal attire, which was very masculine attire. I remember one day looking at my closet and thinking that these worlds were never going to meet.
Flash forward several years later after I had started to transition: the first time I was going to work in a button-down shirt and seeing my reflection in the door and having to pause for a moment and almost feeling teary-eyed because I realized that my worlds had met. I was actually getting to go to work as this person that I thought I would be.
How to Find an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Workplace
If I had one piece of advice to offer to new LGBTQ grads, it would be to understand what your personal values are and not compromise those, and look for and find and don't give up until you find that organization that aligns to your own personal values.
What does an LGBTQ-inclusive organization look like? First thing is safety. If I'm going to be living in a state where I know that my identity is not publicly accepted, what are the protections that I will have as a trans person as a part of my employment here? Are there providers available to me that understand what it means to be a trans person?
Community & Connection
I think community and connection are another principle, and some of those things look like employee resource groups, business resource groups, or affinity groups, but it goes deeper than that. Can I say that I know people, that I'm connected to others within my community at my job? Do I see pronouns in the signature blocks of other leaders in my company? For some it might sound like a leap to say pronouns in a signature block signals an ally, but I would say that for those of us who have had to seek safety in whatever ways we can, it seems like a really simple solution for a really complex offering of security.
Ask Yourself: What Do I See For My Future at the Company?
What do I see for my future at the company? And when I think about where I want to be in my career, can I look at that level and say,
I see people like me. I see trans or LGBTQ folks who are proudly representing their identities at those levels that I would love to be at. They honor Transgender Day of Remembrance, and understand what that represents for our community. Pride is more than just an opportunity for rainbow-washing or pink-washing. Pride represents an opportunity to really drive momentum for change for the community.
Organizations are releasing transparency reports. I appreciate reports like this because it gives me a lot of information about how are they doing today? How is the company doing today? What are the goals that they've set for themselves, and what actions are they taking to achieve those goals? And when you put that out into the public domain, there's a level of accountability there that is not there for organizations that aren't willing to be transparent about where they're trying to go.
I don't do this work because I think tomorrow it's going to be better for me. I do the work because I know that there's people on the other side of that work that will be influenced, not just today, this year, next year, but for generations if we can really start to make changes now.