I’ve always spoken openly about my sexuality. That’s because when I joined Wipro, I was already married to a woman.
I had never suffered prejudice directly. But I always heard the jokes and comments. Once I heard a colleague make uncomfortable comments about women and LGBTQ+ people, but never directly to me, such as:
- Jokes where the word “gay” was an offense to another person.
- Comments about the kind of haircut a woman chooses. “If women wear short hair, they look like men.”
- Comments around women’s bodies. “If a girl works out a lot, they’ll look like men.”
Offensive comments often are part of jokes. Sometimes, people may not recognize a joke as offensive -- it is part of the culture.
Fortunately, I’ve learned to value myself and to stand for my truth and beliefs. So, when I heard the latest offensive joke, I responded in a thoughtful and organized way, raising the issue with my direct manager.
While I will always fight against such jokes and comments, I don’t truly believe I’ve succeeded in changing someone’s perspective. Sad to say, many people have their minds closed with formed opinions. But I believe I’ve done what was in my power to do at the time, and that’s to fight for a more respectful workplace, even if it takes small steps at a time.
For people to be allies, they must put aside their prejudices and leverage the good part of every human being -- highlight their qualities, respect and applaud their professional skills, and value their talents.
All of us must be free to be our authentic selves without having to hide. Wipro stimulates this freedom and that is very positive and meaningful to me. I am proud to say that while the LGBTQ+ community suffers a lot with society’s biases, we are fortunate to be respected and supported at Wipro.
We need to end any kind of comment that may offend or harm other people’s self-esteem. Everyone must be respected and Pride Together!