Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOT), and this marks an important day in which we can raise awareness for LGBTI rights worldwide. Daniela ‘Dani’ Jung, Corporate Health and Wellbeing Specialist at Medibank, understands how much work still needs to be done in this area. She spoke to us about how she, herself, is trying to do her part.
Having grown up with parents who simply believed that everyone should have the same rights as the next person, Dani has been an active supporter and ally for the LGBTI community since her early years.
“My parents taught us that we’re all the same and no matter where we’re from, what we believe in and who we love, nobody should be discriminated against.”
Dani with her parents in Sydney
Having previously worked with an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider, Dani understands the difficulties those who are part of the LGBTI community may face. In the process of coming out as their true selves, to transitioning and to then living life as they truly are, the discrimination that LGBTI people may receive could be close to nothing or be of the highest levels.
During the tough times that a person may go through, Dani says that the thing they need the most is the support of those around them.
“I’ve seen people around me who have love and support, yet still struggle to live an authentic life, which I truly believe everybody should be able to do. It must be even harder for those who don’t have the support they need.”
Dani says there are little things that are a part of our everyday lives that we can change to prevent LGBTI people feeling isolated. For example, being more aware of the language that we use towards people, which can help lessen the discrimination that’s present. Things like using the word ‘partner’ instead of ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ when asking about people’s lives, can make even the slightest difference.
“I try to be really inclusive and treat everyone equally. I put a lot of focus on my language to make sure that what I’m saying is appropriate and doesn’t make anyone feel separated from everyone else.”
There is still plenty of work to be done with how the society we know can improve in the way it treats the LGBTI community. This starts with understanding how, what may be normal for us, actually affects LGBTI people.
“It’s normal for us to have pictures of our partners on our desks, computer and phone screens, which realistically could be hard for them. Feeling unable to talk to colleagues about the weekend or holiday plans because they’re afraid of how others might react, that creates isolation and it needs to stop.”
Dani with members from Medibank’s LGBTI working group, Medibank CEO, Craig Drummond and guest speaker, JoAnna Ferrari, raising awareness for IDAHOT.
Medibank prides itself on its strong focus on diversity and inclusion. In this organisation, we don’t separate people but instead work closely together to make sure that everybody feels welcome and accepted, just as they are. There’s no need to hide anything about yourself, we are encouraged to bring our whole selves to work.
“I feel Medibank sends out a really strong message. When I’m at work, I walk around and see an extremely diverse workforce. It’s very inclusive.”
Once again, today is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia, a significant day in which we need to remind ourselves and our peers that for discrimination to stop, it’s up to us to take action.
“Everybody should be able to love who they want to love and spend their life with who they want to spend it with. Simple as that.”
If you would like to read more about IDAHOT awareness, click to read Roman’s story.