Pride@OES is a social employee network celebrating equality, diversity and every shade of the rainbow flag. Inclusive of all, the group welcomes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA+) people and their allies to come together to discuss LGBTQIA+ themes and issues. The group hosts fundraising events and encourages staff to participate in diversity and inclusion workshops to bring awareness and education about the trans and gender diverse community to the company.
At the forefront of the group is club President Jono Rutter, an Accreditation and Process Coordinator who has been with OES since 2017. By his side, is Vice President Dan Truong, a Junior Digital Designer who joined OES in 2019.
Jono and Dan sat down to talk about their responsibilities in the club, why representation matters in a workplace and some of their greatest accomplishments since the group began.
What are your main responsibilities as president/vice president of the club?
Jono: We organise, coordinate and implement LGBTQIA+ events that will educate and inspire an inclusive and diverse workplace environment for our LGBTIA+ colleagues and allies. We also work with many of our amazing pride members in discussing current LGBTQIA+ issues and celebrate sharing our personal stories and experiences on our internal channels.
Dan: And occasionally it means putting on a wig and lashes to spark a bit of pride energy and excitement in the office!
Why is it important to you to have diversity and representation recognised in a workplace?
Jono: Because it signifies that the working environment is welcoming to all. It shows that no matter your sexual orientation or gender identity, everyone is accepted for who they are. We as queer people have fought hard to have the same equal rights, so to see diversity represented in the workplace gives our community empowerment and a sense of belonging. Recognition in our workplace demonstrates empathy, understanding and a willingness to learn.
Dan: People who have lived a queer life fully understand the experience and bring a completely different perspective. And each person has their own unique journey with which they can bring empathy, sensitivity and points of view to the work place that could otherwise be unintentionally overlooked.
What is some of your greatest accomplishments/achievements while being a part of this club?
Jono: I have been a part of many wonderful achievements that the club has accomplished. To name a just a few, we marched for marriage equality in 2017 down Swanston Street, organised trans and gender diverse workshops for staff, raised funds for Wear It Purple day to help queer youth with a pride themed morning tea, assisted in changing the wording for the all gender bathroom signage to ‘All Gender’ for the new Melbourne office and most recently we organised a morning tea in celebration of IDAHOBIT and raised money for Transgender Victoria.
Dan: I’m really proud of the efforts we made recently to promote IDAHOBIT and spark up a movement to bring pronouns and pride visual motifs into the workplace to help make OES feel like a safer and more welcoming work environment for our LGBTQAI+ colleagues. By doing small things here and there, we try to ensure that the supportive nature of the pride group is apparent all year round.
What’s your favourite thing about the club?
Jono: My favourite thing is interacting with our members! Hearing their own personal stories whether they are part of the queer community or they are an ally continues to be so inspiring. We as a pride group have such a unique and close bond that I will always treasure.
Dan: I agree! Our Pride group members are so lovely and so encouraging and supportive of all the work that we do. The support of the pride group enables Jono and I to make sure that Pride isn’t just something that we celebrate in June, but is something that we celebrate year-round. We work really hard to try and make diversity and inclusivity a part of OES’s DNA, and it’s even better that so many of our colleagues outside of the pride group are receptive of all the initiatives that we bring about. We couldn’t do it without them.
What do you like the most about the support and culture of OES?
Dan: The culture of OES is so open and honest. It’s amazing to see how everyone is celebrated for being themselves and not having to pretend to be something that they’re not.
Jono: What I love most is the eagerness to grow, to keep learning and the willingness to strive to be a more inclusive and diverse workplace. OES continues to listen to the many LGBTQIA+ voices and creates a safe space for all queer-identified colleagues to be authentically themselves.