”I have experienced homophobic remarks in the locomotive garage about specific persons and I do not want to be the walking joke”.
These are remarks from a closeted gay locomotive driver in the Danish Railway Systems, DSB. He was interviewed in connection with the Master’s Thesis of Q-Factor co-founder Pernille Steckhahn-Strohmer about participation in the employee network for LGBT people within DSB. Regarding DSB’s LGBT employee network, he explained, it was a positive difference to meet other people in DSB that were homosexuals just like him. Here he has “someone to lean on”, he wishes to make a difference, and to participate in making LGBT widely acceptable and acknowledged. At the same time, he only comes out to people that he feels confident with; people he feels he can trust. He has hopes that having an employee network for LGBT people can help change the way management deals with discrimination. ”It would make me happier going to work, if the LGBT employee network could change people’s norms and prejudices, but that is a really, really long process. It is close to utopian”.
DSB has a long history of social responsibility towards its employees, and in 2011 DSB won the Diversity at Work Award from the Danish Institute of Human Rights, among other reasons because of the LGBT policies and the employee network, DSB Pride. However, in the locomotive garage the interviewee did not feel the inclusion at all, as colleagues were telling homophobic jokes and making degrading remarks about homosexuals.
This story shows that true LGBT integration in a company takes commitment all the way through the organization; it is not enough to have policies decided by top-managers if they are not implemented in the daily workspace of employees.
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