“It was actually when I was already working my first job, also within ABN AMRO that I came out of the closet. Which was scary as hell because it was a white masculine, hetero-normative environment with all the prejudices present you can think of. And although responses were really supportive I found myself in situations where I wondered, wasn’t it better to stay closeted at work? When you are starting your professional career you are in a phase in your life where you are discovering yourself personally but also professionally and in the combination of the two. I found comfort within our internal pride network, with like-minded people, some role models even and this made me realize how important this was and shaped me into the person I am today. And that is why I truly believe there is a need for young @ WP, for young people under 35. But don’t stop reading when you are not in this age range, because we need the other generations as well. The ones who were on the barricades back in the day, we need your knowledge and life experience. And for the older generation, there might also be something to take away, the whole woke culture can use some explanation. So besides cool informative events throughout the year, we will start a 7-month mentorship program in November, where we link mentors and mentees. The difficulties nowadays might differ from the struggles 10 years ago, but the way how to address and overcome them probably has quite some overlap.“
Young@WP is representing the present and future of Workplace Pride by empowering, supporting, and enabling the voices of young LGBTIQ+ professionals in and beyond the workplace. The bar has been set high here, for good reason. The Young community indicated at the International Conference 2022 that “On workdays, we wear pink: attracting and retaining young LGBTIQ+ employees” is an ambitious goal to strive for. The community cannot do this alone. Leaders in organizations are needed to realize this ambition. So it is extremely important to stay in touch with policymakers, DEI departments, and other stakeholders who can genuinely listen to the wishes and needs of young LGBTIQ+ employees. A concrete example of how Young@WP is trying to make this connection is the Mentorship Program that started in September 2021.
This is based on a 2018 study from Out Now Global in which it became clear that 41% of LGBTIQ+ 18-25-year-olds went back in the closet when starting their first job. Women aged 18-35 report being ‘out to all’ at work only 29% of the time while men in the same age range are out 44% of the time. The Mentorship Program targets and supports exactly this age demographic as they enter the workplace. Being a mentor or a mentee is a title that doesn’t necessarily depend on status, age, or professional seniority. Everybody’s experience is unique within the community. A mentee might come from a different background or their identity falls somewhere else on the LGBTIQ+ spectrum. If the mentor is eager to learn from the mentee’s lived experiences as well, we are also providing a reverse/reciprocal mentoring opportunity.
- Empowerment: Offer development opportunities for young LGBTIQ+ people to grow as individuals and professionals.
- Workplace Awareness: Support organizations in raising awareness about the needs and challenges of young LGBTIQ+ people in the workplace.
- Community building: Build strong relationships within the LGBTIQ+ community by offering opportunities for networking within and between generations.
Young@WP Goals 2022:
- Strengthen the community by organising at least two times a year a joint activity. This can be a webinar or a live session at a location.
- Continue the successful Mentorship Programme, by making a fresh start in October 2022
Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, ideas, feedback or request for support