How authentic representation takes the wind out of the sails of prejudices

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Belonging is a basic human need that we all have in common – regardless of sexual orientation, gender, religion or origin. Realistic representation and participation in society, business, politics and the media play a big role when it comes to the feeling of true belonging. For Pride Month 2021 we are looking at the representation and inclusion of the LGBTQIA community at thyssenkrupp.

In an interview with Jan Rohde, Junior Expert Employer Branding thyssenkrupp AG and Alexander Trumm, Digital Implementation Manager thyssenkrupp Plastics, we talked about representing the LGBTQIA community within the thyssenkrupp Group and the need for more authentic representation in society as a whole.

The importance of authentic representation

Representation – Why is this important to the LGBTQIA community?

“You grow up in a world in which” gay “is still an insult and only through visibility, i.e. representation, can you educate future generations to break down prejudices,” says Jan Rohde, Junior Expert Employer Branding at thyssenkrupp AG.

Many people in the LGBTQIA community still have the feeling that they cannot live their identity openly and freely. As a result, a lot of energy is often spent on not showing sexual orientation for fear of the possible consequences, such as losing one’s job.

A situation that brings with it great psychological stress. That is why the following applies among colleagues in the LGBTQIA community at thyssenkrupp: As long as everyone in a society does not feel that they can be themselves, the debate must be about increased representation.

“You’re a queer?!”

“It would be nice if at some point it became normal that there are people with different sexual orientations in our society and the whole thing is no longer an issue or subject of discussion,” said Rohde. “But as long as people are still being discriminated against, there is a need to stand up for LGBTQIA communities and their representation.”

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Alexander Trumm, Digital Implementation Manager thyssenkrupp Plastics, also sees a need for further clarification: “I find a good indicator that there is not yet full acceptance in our society is the moment you pause for a moment or the embarrassed break when you leave your Partner speaks and the other person notices that you are not a straight man after all, as you might have assumed. The fact that this information still throws many people out of their mind for a moment shows the need for further clarification. “

The thyssenkrupp LGBTQIA network

This is exactly what countless colleagues at thyssenkrupp are committed to creating an authentic representation and inclusion of the LGBTQIA community in various formats. Above all, the thyssenkrupp LGBTQIA network, which arose from the commitment of a handful of colleagues.

It all started with the desire for an informal lunch to exchange ideas within the LGBTQIA community. Then the idea was put into action. The initiators went out and invited colleagues who were interested or could be part of the community. In the beginning, the network consisted of only six to seven people who met regularly for lunch without an official agenda and exchanged experiences. But soon there was more to it.

Round tables and open dialogues

Human Resources Director Oliver Burkhard showed interest in the LGTBQIA get-together. A joint meeting gave the previously informal group a more formal structure. The members of the network and the HR director talked about the wishes and goals of the community and how events such as Christopher Street Day could create visibility at a higher level. For example, to get together with non-members of the LGBTQIA community, to celebrate together and to break down prejudices.

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