Long ago, in a faraway place, there existed a land of mystery and infinite variety. In this nation of culture, heritage, spirituality and immense beauty, there was a small boy. When every other boy his age wanted G.I. Joe action figures, he preferred the Barbie dolls that he had kept hidden from his dad. And he soon learnt to not go prancing down the street or get caught performing Bharatanatyam, the Indian classical dance. The same boy came to Netherlands years later and the first thing he did was to join a ballet class. Why should he hide his true self anymore? No points for guessing that I’m that boy.
India has a long history with the LGBT community, with scriptures and temples supporting sexual and gender diversity. Although it has made huge progress when it comes to recognising the third gender, it lags behind on LGBT issues. Often gays are forcefully pushed into straight marriages when they come out to their families. No amount of pride marches, talk shows or campaigning could bring about tolerance, let alone acceptance in India. The society must work through phobia first to become more tolerant, which might take ages. As of now, it’s a society that disseminates heteronormativity along with curry and as such, every LGBT individual leads two lives – a (fake) straight one for the family/friends/colleagues and the real self for LGBT allies.
Having endured this dual existence for about 14 years, Netherlands was like a whiff of fresh air for me. Literally! I was able to be myself at college, be accepted by my friends and I did not feel strange. I was able to accept myself much more than anyone else needed to! However, being open about one’s identity at the workplace is a totally different game. Having enough HR policies and legal protection isn’t enough for queer individuals to be themselves at work. A research study conducted by workplacepride.org titled “A Question of Trust: LGBT Visibility in the Workplace” identifies the main factors here to be trust in one’s organisation/manager and the strength of LGBT identity at work.
By working on a more inclusive society where the LGBT can be themselves without fear of being judged/isolated, Deloitte is creating a path towards understanding from tolerance.
Deloitte is making an impact in this space. Through GLOBE, Deloitte has many initiatives that show support for LGBT colleagues and be a role model for its peers. By working on a more inclusive society where the LGBT can be themselves without fear of being judged/isolated, Deloitte is creating a path towards understanding from tolerance. GLOBE is not a tokenistic effort but an amalgamation of individuals who believe in everyone’s right to fair treatment. It is no wonder that I feel proud to be a part of Deloitte and the GLOBE network.
One day we will wake up to a world that’s free from judgement and bias - a world where we need no coming-out days, where ‘gay’/girly’ are not offensive terms and where diversity is seen as a positive trait and not as an anomaly. As Maya Angelou sums it up, ‘My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry...’
Saiganesh is a thesis intern within the Cyber Risk Quantification team, studying the impact and countermeasures of cybersecurity incidents on the stock market. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science engineering and is pursuing his masters in quantitative finance at the VU. His interests include cooking, biking, travelling and watching sci-fi shows. He loves to talk about the unspoken and the unknown and make the world a more interesting place.