We spoke to James a mining engineer behind Allies, our LGBTIQA+ pride network and why celebrating Pride Month is important to him.
Pride Month is about celebrating LGBTIQA+ people, amplifying their voices and challenging ourselves to be more visible allies to promote equality in all forms.
For me, Pride is also a time where I reflect on how I’m able to live authentically and be proud of who I am because I didn’t always feel safe to be me.
Before coming out many people have different feelings while determining their own identity and who they are. I would have thoughts that people including family and friends would treat me differently or not be proud of who I was as a person, some days I would even wish I was born differently.
During these formative times the constant fear of being "outed" was incredibly destabilising and pretending to be someone I wasn't, was emotionally and physically draining.
These feelings were amplified when I relocated to Central Queensland to start my career in the mining industry as a Mining Engineer.
I’d moved away from my support network and into a community and workplace where I wasn't sure if people would be accepting of who I was. Rather than face perceived prejudice and discrimination, I kept a big part of who I was hidden.
Today, I’m proud to be me and as Allies Committee Lead help promote positive role models for the LGBTIQA+ community.
Allies allows our people to show visible support and respect which has a lasting impact on the LGBTIQA+ community and the people still determining their own identity.
Everyone contributes to creating a safe and inclusive workplace culture. Simple actions such as wearing rainbow shoelaces or lanyard can have a big impact. Recently, during a prestart, the mining manager was wearing a rainbow lanyard and instantly I knew I was accepted and safe to be me.
Allies reminds us to celebrate our differences and challenge stereotypes and intolerance because everyone deserves to be treated with respect. This Pride Month, I encourage everyone to be visible Allies and show your support.
It allows me to bring my whole self to work every day because I feel safe, included and empowered.