This is part of #KaraniwangLGBTQIA, which Outrage Magazine officially launched on July 26, 2015 to offer vignettes of LGBT people/living, particularly in the Philippines, to give so-called “everyday people” – in this case, the common LGBTQIA people – that chance to share their stories.
As Outrage Magazine editor Michael David C. Tan says: “All our stories are valid – not just the stories of the ‘big shots’. And it’s high time we start telling all our stories.”
Leigh F. Capule can still recall when she became became an advocate for diversity and inclusion – i.e. “When I started working for HSBC way back (in) 2006,” she said.
But this decision came easy for her.
“As a transgender woman, we are usually faced with a lot of dilemma that revolves around misgendering, dead-naming, and access to safe spaces particularly restrooms,” she said. “These have been my motivating factors that led me to advocating for diversity and inclusion in and out of the workplace.”
That Leigh had successes in pushing for diversity and inclusion, particularly in HSBC (where she is now a project manager), goes without saying.
Among others, she helped found HSBC Pride + Ally Network in GSC Philippines. Under her leadership, she pushed for various initiatives and company policy changes, including the establishment of both gender neutral and gender preference restrooms, inclusion of same sex and domestic partners in the company’s insurance coverage, and inclusion of treatment of HIV/AIDS in HMO coverage.
Leigh also takes pride in helping establish Pride organizations in HSBC’s India and China offices.
She now considers herself a “seasoned transgender woman manager in an international financial institution” who was topped the OUTstanding Top 100 LGBT+ Future Leaders 2020 list.
FOCUS ON EDUCATION
“I’ve always been a firm believer of education,” Leigh said. “Different people have different views and opinions on matters that involve the LGBTQIA community. Some of (these) come from personal biases, religious and cultural beliefs, (and) some are a result of lack of awareness on SOGIESC.”
But as as an advocate, “I truly believe that we should focus on creating and promoting educational programs that will ensure better understanding of SOGIESC and gender sensitivity both in the academe and workplaces.”
A LOT OF WORK TO DO
That the LGBTQIA community may still have challenges to face is a given; but Leigh said “I’d rather say that I see opportunities for more collaboration, compassion, unity and respect among LGBTQIA community members instead of disappointments.”
This is because – as a member of the LGBTQIA community – Leigh also encountered all possible types of overt discrimination that “a lot of us probably experienced just for simply living our authentic selves,” she said. Nonetheless, “our determination to go on and strength to overcome struggles day in – day out are what inspire me to continue advocating for inclusion and respect for individuality until that day that our call for equality is heeded.”
Watch out for Leigh as she eyes to continue “participating in country-wide gender sensitivity campaigns and SOGIESC curriculum implementation in both the academe and workplaces.”