Tell us about your accomplishments to date?

I have been a core member of our LGBTQ+ employee resource group (ERG) and supported a number of ERG-led initiatives such as internal and external thought leadership through blogs and articles, events, and engagement activities. I am also part of our Parents and Carers ERG, where I try to bring an intersectional lens by advocating for inclusion of LGBTQ+ parents and carers, and supporting parents of queer children. Additionally, I am a mental health first aider (MHFA), and am one of only a handful named LGBTQ+ MHFAs who are open to supporting other queer people with wellbeing and mental health issues.

One of the issues I have been passionate about is enabling better support for transgender and non-binary people within dentsu. By leveraging my connections throughout the company network, I was able to rally together a small but mighty group of other trans employees to share our thoughts and experiences with the ERG and DEI leads. We are continuing to pursue several initiatives such as training, data and insights on employee experiences, and policies to support trans people.

What are the barriers in representing many intersectional identity groups?

In a business environment, the one of the challenges we, as ERG leaders, face is balancing the need for a safe space for individuals within a marginalised group, whilst not becoming insular and excluding allies or those who want to support the marginalised group. Likewise we want to drive intersectionality, whilst also acknolwedging that ERGs have their own specific aims and objectives.

Outside of ERGs and the DEI space, it can be difficult enough to drive awareness and advocacy of single DEI issues, especially amongst those who have no direct lived experience with those issues. So driving understanding of intersectionality is doubly difficult. Adding to that are additional challenges, such as that the voices we need to hear are often less visible, and that marginalised people are living with additional stress and hardship.

Do you think acceptance is improving?

Looking at where we are now compared to 20, 50, 100 years ago, overall acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people has improved. I don’t think there’s any doubt in that. However over recent years we have seen the targeting of minority groups, such as the trans community, for political gain. We have seen some countries introduce new legislation that specifically excludes and even persecutes LGBTQIA people.

Even in the UK, a supposedly more progressive country, we still see poor legal, political, and healthcare infrastructure to support trans and non-gender-conforming individuals. In most countries there is no legal recognition of non-binary people, meaning for official documentation they need to ‘choose’ a gender: either the one they were assigned at birth, or one that they have to go through a complex transition process to be awarded, a process that may not even align with who they are.

What does been nominated in your category mean to you?

I’m extremely honoured to have been nominated. I’m grateful that my contributions have been noticed and valued by others, and it’s fabulous to see the achievements that other nominees have accomplished too. Being a queer parent can feel lonely and it is hard to find other queer parents; I hope to inspire others and show that it is possible to survive and thrive.