TEACHER CORNER | Empowering LGBT in the workplace

By Camilo E. Arriedo
TIII TIC of Mananao Elementary School
Rapu-Rapu East District
Albay Division

In Philippine society, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community face many challenges. The sad truth is that while we are progressing in many fields like science, technology, communication, and transportation, many people still discriminate against LGBT.

This becomes a problem particularly in the workplace. Studies show that people perform much better when they can be themselves. When LGBT have to hide their true selves because of fear of judgment, their work performance consequentially takes a nosedive. The result: poorly-prepared presentations, sloppy reports, and a general feeling of anxiety and discomfort.

Fortunately, there are ways to make the workplace a more welcoming and inclusive space for LGBT.

First, workers can agree to support everyone. This goes beyond gender and sexuality, but also on issues such as educational attainment, social status, religion, or skin color. Everyone must be made to feel like he or she is able to provide worthy contributions to the group. Furthermore, the same rules and regulations must be made to apply to everyone, and no one should be singled out just because he or she is different from the rest.

Second, workers can also agree to communicate openly with each other. If criticism must be given, it must always be constructive, and not done merely to put down the feelings of the person criticized. Further, office gossip, especially about private and personal matters, should be avoided at all costs, as it does nothing to help the productivity and camaraderie of the group members.

Third, workers must strive to get to know each other. This allows them to develop understanding of each team player. Avoiding stereotyping, and instead accepting each person as a complex being who has strengths, weaknesses, successes, and failures, is very important.

These may be small steps, but they are crucial if we are truly serious about sending the positive message of love and respect. The bottom line is we are all humans who are merely trying to deal with the challenges we face every single day. If we can make things better for other humans by allowing them to be who they are, then the world will be a kinder, and ultimately, infinitely better place.