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Pushing to be pro-LGBTQIA beyond Pride month

Many companies surface during Pride month to claim their supposed pro-LGBTQIA credentials, meriting a closer look. Outrage Magazine interviews Everise Philippines on this.

Screencap from the FB page of Everise Philippines

For June, just as members of the LGBTQIA community marked Pride, Everise Philippines – one of the emerging BPOs in the country – launched the “Love Experience” (LX) campaign to symbolize the company’s move to “encourage empathy and acceptance of all”; and released the “LX Heartbeat Headset” to “spark dialogue about how change has to come from within” via a rainbow-inspired headset (which is, obviously, ubiquitous in the BPO industry).

“As a vehicle for communication, (this) is intended to remind people that no matter who is on the other end of the line, it is important to listen with an empathetic ear and turn any hateful speech into an open and tolerant dialogue,” the company stated in a press release at that time.

But much has been said about the “participation” of private companies in LGBTQIA Pride, with many of them traversing a thin line that could signify real support or… to be honest, co-opting of the rainbow to boost image and, thus, the bottom-lines (and many times, Pride organizers are complacent to this).

This is, therefore, where various companies’ after-Pride efforts merit scrutiny; on whether what they do is just for show, or they really mean to help a community that continues to experience discrimination.

At least for Everise Philippines, “diversity is one of Everise’s core values and is embedded in our culture,” said Ma Ann Reyes, VP for human resources. And “although affirmative action helps with our diversity goals, we are conscious that it should not be the basis for decision making, because it can lead to reverse discrimination.”

And so the company contributes to the “larger community” by providing donations (e.g. car rides and clothes; just as it gives daily essentials to elderly gay people who have no family).

Beyond handouts, though, and “since the company’s inception, Everise Philippines has offered same-sex benefits, “including maternity benefit schemes, and healthcare policies where partners can be listed as dependents.” Gender-neutral bathrooms are also available in offices.

“Everise Philippines provides equal employment opportunities to our people irrespective of gender, religion, ethnicity, nationality, color, physical ability or sexual orientation. Our employees are given the same fair access to opportunities, including access to jobs, training and development, and promotional opportunities. Our compensation and benefits policies do not favor any individual group, and is based on the experience, skills and overall contribution to business goals,” said Reyes.

Asked if the company has future plans in helping the LGBTQIA community re: A) Pushing for anti-discrimination bill/law in the Philippines; Pushing for marriage equality; and C) Pushing for gender recognition law in the country, Reyes said that “when it comes to our people’s welfare, we make a stand that they should not be discriminated against and we maintain our commitment to diversity and inclusion practices.”

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For Reyes, “the workplace should be a safe and comfortable space for everyone, and businesses have the responsibility of keeping it that way. For many LGBTQIA employees, this isn’t always the case, and workplace discrimination often goes unnoticed. However, if businesses were to introduce policies and measures that support the LGBTQIA community, it could have a direct impact on individuals, which can lessen discrimination and increase openness. By creating an LGBTQIA inclusive environment, LGBTQIA staff can be themselves, feel more welcome, and thrive within any company.”

In the end, “Everise Philippines’ success and growth… are determined by its ability to welcome, understand, and efficiently manage diversity. We believe that when people of
different backgrounds and beliefs work together as a team, we progress collectively. By promoting this internally within Everise Philippines, we hope our culture will spread externally around the world and showcase how successful a company can be when everyone has a voice,” Reyes said.

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