In March, we celebrate Women's History Month at Great Western Bank.
Within Great Western Bank, we celebrate the cultural diversity of our employees throughout the year, and this month we are celebrating the LGBTQ community. LGBTQ pride is the promotion of the self-declaration, dignity, equality, and expanded visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals as a social group. But GWB Pride goes beyond that sentiment. This month we are setting our promotion under a spotlight; we are lifting our support to a new height; we are taking our inclusive culture and highlighting the ways in which we can come together to frame GWB Pride.
And for us, that picture includes a strong system of allyship. An ally is a person who supports the LGBTQ community and advocates for equality both privately and publicly. One of the most important parts of being an ally is the desire to learn, understand and to help people in the LGBTQ community feel supported and included. By being a supporter and advocate, you are leading by example with the hope that others will follow. Below are six things from GLAAD that you can do as an ally to show your support.
To help us illustrate what this means, we asked one of our employees, Carly Kendle, to share her story. Read Carly’s perspective on allyship now:
This past spring, I had the privilege of being the Matron of Honor at my sister and her partner’s wedding. Not her gay wedding, simply her wedding. As a heterosexual female, it is easy for me to forget the privilege that comes with choosing to get married. A wedding for a member of the LGBTQ community is more than “just a wedding” but it also isn’t a spectacle or a political statement. It’s just two people who love each other celebrating their love. My personal experiences have greatly influenced my allyship and support of the LGBTQ community, but not everyone has had that pleasure.
Chances are, there is at least one or more person in your life who identifies within the LGBTQ community. For a lot of people, learning that someone they know is LGBTQ can cause a range of emotions from concerned, to awkward, to honored. It can be hard to know what to say, how to react, or how to be supportive. The Human Rights Campaign describes it perfectly, in that you should try to think of it as “inviting in” instead of “coming out”. You are being invited in to that part of their life, and this should be celebrated and protected.
I am proud to work for a company that supports and focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our initiatives empower employees to contribute their unique perspectives and promote a positive environment in which everyone feels welcomed, respected, supported, valued, and encouraged to be their full authentic selves. Many of us take this for granted, but there is truly nothing better than being your full authentic self, whether that be in your personal life or work environment. June includes a whole month of Pride events and resources, and I can’t wait to celebrate, listen, and learn.
Macala, a Diversity and Inclusion Council Member explains how we are working to build a richly diverse environment at Great Western Bank.
Alex, a GWB employee for over seven years, recalls the indelible memory of her mom waking her and her sister in the middle of the night to escape their war-torn country of Bosnia when she was just five years old.