Creating globally inclusive teams where everyone feels accepted and appreciated for showing up as their authentic selves is a journey of many milestones. It is accomplished one step at a time by people who are committed to learning and building a more equitable, tolerant workplace. At Poly, we embrace the process through discussion, education, and action.
To kick off Pride Season at Poly this past June, I had the honor of leading a global Gender and Identity Workshop for our global employees. While Poly provided the space, I called on my experience in gender studies from my university psychology practice, and my team allocated the work hours needed to research, organize and deliver the workshop seamlessly. Together, we helped educate participants on how to be an inclusive global citizen as it relates to topics like gender identity, acceptance, and sexual diversity, including information about biological sex, pronouns, and how to embrace allyship in work and life. We managed to reach over six hundred employees globally.
As I sat wondering why I signed myself up to discuss, in front of a global audience, sensitive topics like biological sex and genitalia, I realized that welcoming awkwardness brings additional acceptance, authenticity, and openness to the content. The workshop sparked healthy discussion and debate between participants. My teammates really appreciated it and some leaders reached out later stating that the workshop provided information that will help them be better allies within their teams.
Education is important for everyone. As activists, we must also learn the best ways to deliver information and apply it to our daily life. Gender and identity topics are not exclusive to the LGBTQ+ community because everyone benefits from learning about who they are and who they want to be. Therefore, activists need to help bring our communities information and experiences they were previously not exposed to and do so using best practices.
In addition to the workshop, we hosted a competition for a “Diversity and Inclusion” logo at Poly, and the results were amazing. We put the winning logo on a shirt and used it as a thank you for our fundraiser, Rainbow Railroad, which raised over $15,800 for the non-profit, exceeding our initial goal of $10,000. Poly rallied behind our efforts and the response has galvanized our community into becoming a more inclusive, accepting team.
As we continue to take steps to advance diversity and inclusion at Poly, we will never forget where the journey began. In 2020, I founded the LGBTQ+ employee resource group, PRIDE ERG, which laid the groundwork for healthy discussions about gender and identity. Laura Castillo, a leader at Poly, took the next momentous step when she shared her story, It’s Never Too Late, inspiring everyone with her bravery to come out as trans and live life as herself. We all proudly support her.
As we ramped up this Pride Season, the company has ignited with active discussion and curiosity about gender, identity, and how to be a better ally. We’ve learned a lot together, and two things I have realized are that visibility is essential and tunnel vision applies to everyone. If Laura did not come out, or Poly did not handle it in a healthy way, meaningful conversations with coworkers and friends might not have happened. I also recognized that my LGBTQ+ friends and allies, myself included, might have tunnel vision on sex and gender progressive topics since we actively investigate and consume this information. Much like social media, life has a way of exposing you to things that will be of interest to you while obscuring things that might not. I have made it my mission to shine a spotlight on these topics.
Thanks to those who continuously and compassionately seek to educate themselves, we are all pushed a little step forward every day. Poly has always been inclusive and embracing of me as a gay man, and I’ve seen the same experiences from other members of the LGBTQ+ community at our workplace. I’m proud of Poly and proud at Poly.
With our products, we support meaningful human connection and collaboration around the world, and as we learn more about one another, we become better allies, leaders, and friends. Pride education and celebration are not seasonal. At Poly, we know it’s an ongoing, global movement helping people live life as their most authentic selves, creating a more equitable world, and we are proud to be part of the journey. To support ongoing global Pride celebrations, visit the 2021 Pride Calendar for events near you and read our list of ways to help celebrate Pride Season all year long.