Voices from the LGTBQ + community: how to generate more inclusive work spaces

April 7, 2021

For members of the LGBTQ + collective, feeling unable to come out of the closet in their work environment has negative psychological consequences that end up impacting their productivity. Coming out is especially difficult for junior employees and women in an organization (only 58% said they communicated their sexual orientation, compared to 80% of men).

Some tips for creating more inclusive workspaces by the Globant LGBTQ+ community are:

  1. Visibilize and naturalize: Understand that there are different ways of seeing the world, of living life and that all of them are valid.
  2. Create community: Create a space of containment for LGBTQ+ people and for those who want to be allies.
  3. Use neutral terms and pronouns: Avoid addressing people in your work team assuming their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  4. It starts with you! Make sure to foster tolerance and respect for diversity in order to create an inclusive space with your work team.
  5. Implement inclusive policies: Make sure that the company’s diversity policies or Codes of Ethics include the LGBTQ+ community.
  6. Make a public commitment towards the LGBTQ+ community: Try to have representation at corporate events and hiring policies towards the LGBTQ+ community.

Naomi Julissa De León Cueto

Naomi Julissa De León Cueto was 28 years old when she decided to undertake the transition process. Until then her life had been marked by a conservative upbringing and by the fear of what would happen if she opened up to her true identity: “I thought I had reached a breaking point about what to do with my life… until by chance I came across content on social networks that changed my attitude completely ”. What Naomi saw that day was the profile of a trans woman who uploaded videos talking about topics such as technology or the economy, and she was surprised: “Can you be an LGBTQ + person and, at the same time, be a professional?” Until that moment, all the images of women from that community that she had seen corresponded to discriminatory stereotypes. Her discovery led her to think that she too could be true to her gender identity and, at the same time, have whatever job she wanted.

When she made the decision to transition, Naomi approached the director of Human Resources at the company where she worked. The reaction she encountered disappointed her: she spent the next two years exclusively dedicated to internal projects, without any dealings with clients, and some coworkers stopped talking to her. When it came to training on gender perspective the company informed her that, as she was the only transgender employee, it made no sense to invest in training for something that only involved one person.

Currently – four years after her difficult (and liberating) decision – Naomi works as a Specialist Engineer at Globant doing backend and frontend software development for clients like Ab InBev. There she found a very different environment: “Here is an event during Diversity Week in which they talk about these issues, and it seems incredible to me. Also, there are many people in the LGBTQ + community with whom we share our stories. I discovered that a sense of belonging is very important, having a network, something I have never felt before. ”

Santiago San Martín

After two years working in Globant’s offices in Buenos Aires, Santiago San Martín moved to Mexico for a project that was scheduled to last a month. Against all odds, he has spent eight years in Mexico and he is still there.  His stay in the country culminated with the opening of Globant México in 2014 with a team of more than 2,200 people that he currently leads from his position as Country Manager.

During his career in the company, Santiago came out of the closet: “Globant accompanied my stage of self-knowledge and my self-perception as a gay person. When I started working here, I didn’t recognize myself that way. It was a very nice process”, he recalls.

The fight for the rights of the LGBTQ + community became a personal cause: “I am lucky to come from a circle in which there was never a problem with my sexual orientation. It seemed important to me to do something for those who did not have a supportive environment ”. In 2018, he spearheaded the creation of Globant’s LGBTQ + community, a meeting space that grew to become an activism powerhouse that today works to make the collective more visible and natural in the work environment. “It grew so much that they began to contact us from other countries to ask us how they could do something similar. Without a doubt, the most gratifying thing about all this is that we are generating an impact not only in the LGBTQ + community but also in those who are not part of it. Every day we are learning more and more to put ourselves in the shoes of the other ”.

Alexa Altez Prieto

From her first day of work at Globant, Alexa Altez Prieto, a transgender woman, felt very comfortable and realized she could be who she really wanted to be. In April 2019, she started as a tester and grew in the company.

Before starting her experience at Globant, Altez Prieto approached Nahual with the intention of training in the IT industry and being able to enter the workplace. Nahual project is an initiative which aims to promote the social inclusion of young people through their integration into the labor market of the world of IT. (or world of technology). In addition to the courses, they help participants to find their first job. Today, Alexa Altez Prieto recognizes that this community was key in helping her find her vocation.

When she was inserted into Globant, she had not yet started hormone treatment, but had already started the transition. “From the first interview I felt completely comfortable. The person who interviewed me always treated me in a super natural way as if he were interviewing anyone else,” she says.

For her treatment, Alexa had to go to the hospital several times. Just the trip there alone took about two hours. “My leaders were always very flexible and allowed me to go out whenever I needed to,” she says.

A few months ago, Globant offered Alexa the opportunity to be a leader in the area of ​​video games and she admits that it was quite a challenge to lead a team that is mostly male.

She reflects: “I lived a life that was not mine for a long time. I am proud of what I accomplished. Not only did they not judge me, they did not hide me or treat me differently. They also put me in the face of an important client, in charge of several people, trusting that I am capable of achieving it “, emphasizes Alexa.

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Diversity, equity and inclusion are key to our business. Technology requires us to innovate constantly, and we can only achieve this if we bring together different points of view. Some of the areas we are working on include focusing on improving gender equality in our industry, inclusive hiring practices, and helping people to achieve a work-life balance.