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Celebrating Wear it Purple Day 2020

On 28 August 2020, we're celebrating Wear it Purple Day. In its 10th year, Wear it Purple shows LGBTQ+ young people that they have the right to be proud of who they are and strives to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments. Wear it Purple was created in Australia after several rainbow young people took their own lives following bullying and harassment resulting from the lack of acceptance of their sexuality or gender identity.
 

Wear it Purple Day, as well as many other LGBTQ+ events, is celebrated each year at Macquarie. Members of our Pride Employee Network Group share what the day means to them.

 

Luminous purple in London

Charlie Clark says that to celebrate Wear it Purple Day this year he'll be working from home in a luminous purple t-shirt and taking part in many virtual events throughout the day.

Macquarie's inclusive culture was one of the things that encouraged him to apply a year ago for a position supervising the Futures Clearing team in Commodities and Global Markets.

“A co-worker of mine moved across to Macquarie, and sent me a photo of rainbow cakes being handed out here on the 30th anniversary of Stonewall," says Charlie. “Now that I work here, I realise these small gestures, like the rainbow flags on trading floor desks, are more than just a step in the right direction. They keep the conversation going."

“Being a gay man, I'm never quite sure how my first few weeks are going to go at a new job and when I'm going to have the sometimes awkward 'coming out' conversations," Charlie says.

But Charlie says the team was welcoming and open and this helped him hit the ground running. He has since become involved in improving internal policies and organising awareness-raising events such as a fundraising ping pong tournament and celebrating LGBTQ+ history month with Crystal from RuPaul's Drag Race.

As a result of these and other initiatives, Macquarie was ranked 33rd in the UK in the 2020 Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.

“As much as I love my day job, my 'gay job' as Co-Chair of the Pride ENG in EMEA is a little more fun," he says.

“My involvement in the Pride ENG at Macquarie used to be a way to educate, to network, a support structure, and a way to find people I could relate to," says Charlie. “But now it's also a way to learn from others and a road to self-improvement and reflection."

 

Virtual events in Singapore

This Wear it Purple Day, members of Singapore's Pride ENG won't only wear purple, they will continue to raise awareness through virtual campaigns and work to host new panels discussions for the Singapore and wider Asia offices. Pollyanna Rayappan has been a member of the Risk Surveillance Team in Macquarie's Singapore office for seven years.

“Macquarie was a client of my previous employer, so I was able to observe the company culture firsthand before I joined."

Pollyanna says since joining Macquarie she has seen the number of inclusive initiatives grow.

As founder and Chair of the Singapore Pride ENG, Pollyanna says “Pride is being unapologetically me".

“Pride means not needing to second guess if being myself would be detrimental to my career," she says.

Pollyanna says the ENG is just one of the ways that Macquarie encourages its employees to bring their whole selves to work.

Singapore's Pride ENG has hosted speakers at lunchtime sessions, held awareness fundraising campaigns, and increased communication about Macquarie's LGBTQ+ community. More recently they've moved online, hosting Webex panels to promote and discuss current issues including the impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ+ community.

“Macquarie's Pride ENG is very visible," says Pollyanna. “Simple things like lanyards or keep cups and Workplace posts from senior staff demonstrate we're inclusive and supportive of our LGBTQ+ staff and allies," says Pollyanna.

 

A sweet touch in Florida

Jesus Gonzalez, an Employment Screening Administrator in Human Resources, says COVID-19 means Wear it Purple Day will be celebrated remotely this year for Macquarie's Jacksonville, Florida office as well. A virtual party is on the cards for him and his family.

When he joined Macquarie in 2017, Jesus was pleasantly surprised to find an active Pride ENG and quickly became involved.

“The Pride ENG helps members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies feel welcomed," says Jesus. “It promotes diversity and inclusion, but it also gives the feeling of a safe space, where you can be your whole self at work without fear of judgement."

Jesus says the support for youth issues in the LGBTQ+ community extend well beyond Wear it Purple Day. “We recently hosted a Pride Carnival to support JASMYN, a local LGBTQ+ youth organisation. We've also participated in a cook up for the young people they support, called Food Fest."

“At a corporate level, Macquarie was a main sponsor for the annual Coming Out Day Breakfast in Jacksonville," Jesus explains.

The Pride ENG is famous for being in charge of desserts at Macquarie's holiday parties. And a few months ago, Jesus and his colleagues trained for Strides for Pride, a 5km fun run that was completed virtually this year.

“Pride has many meanings," says Jesus. “Love yourself as you are. Be proud of who you are. Be fearless and strong."

 

Supporting diversity in Sydney

Louise McNaughton works in Macquarie's Sydney office, and says she'll be wearing purple and turning on video in all her virtual meetings to raise awareness of Wear It Purple Day.

Louise works as Tech Assist Lead and originally joined Macquarie in 2010 on a year-long contract. In 2014, when another role came up, she leapt at the chance to re-join.

“I was excited to return to Macquarie as I'd enjoyed the job and the people," she explains. “When I returned, I discovered that a Pride ENG had launched and I've been involved ever since."

“Celebrating people's diversity is very important," Louise says. "It means not having to self-censor when talking about my life. It means supporting and championing my community and encouraging our allies to speak up. It means driving for equality in all aspects of life - it doesn't stop at marriage equality."

“From a business perspective, diversity of thought is integral to innovation and transformation and attracting the best people."

“Reverse mentorships for senior staff are one example of the innovative initiatives we've undertaken to promote LGBTQ+ at Macquarie," Louise says.

The Australia and New Zealand Pride ENG's work has contributed towards Macquarie qualifying for Platinum Status in the Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards. Macquarie has already been awarded Gold for four out of the last five years.

As a result, Louise says the Pride ENG was able to develop an initiative to increase the visibility and psychological safety of sexuality and gender diverse women in Macquarie's workforce.

“I've heard first-hand that staff have joined Macquarie because of the visible work we're doing in this space," Louise says.

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