hand holding printed document from HP office printer photocopier
A place for print in the hybrid digital workplace
25 January 2022
four diverse women workplace elevators lobby
Breaking the bias: how a growth mindset and strong mentorship can sustain women in lifelong tech careers
4 March 2022
hand holding printed document from HP office printer photocopier
A place for print in the hybrid digital workplace
25 January 2022
four diverse women workplace elevators lobby
Breaking the bias: how a growth mindset and strong mentorship can sustain women in lifelong tech careers
4 March 2022

Conversations for Change: LGBT+ History Month

Apogee Corporation interview Apogee employees for LGBT+ History Month.

 

At Apogee, we know that the workplace doesn't begin and end with technology but the people behind it. Innovation thrives when people contribute their perspectives, knowledge, and experience.

During LGBT+ History Month, we celebrate the diversity and inclusion of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ+) community in our very own workforce.

Read how some of our employees are making a difference and contributing to the conversation.

 

Q&A: Phillip Allen - IT Support Analyst

1. What does LGBT+ History Month signify to you?

To me it is a time to think about all of the rights that LGBTQ+ people have fought for before me and because of what the community has done in the past it has made my life and others better.

2. How are you making a difference for LGBT+ members in your community?

I have been a part of a local political party and have advised what more can be done for LGBTQ+ people in the community.

3. Can you recommend any influential people within the LGBTQ+ community that our followers should stay in tune with?

Neil Patrick Harris and George Takei.

4. Is there a connection between technology, diversity, and inclusion? And if so, how do they interconnect?

Yes, one big one is the internet. The internet has changed the LGBTQ+ community so much. Where LGBTQ+ people may have felt alone, they can now reach out and find someone to connect with. Also, as more people interact and see LGBTQ+ people, inclusion naturally follows.

5. How do you like to create an inclusive environment at Apogee?

Just allowing people to be themselves and supporting each other.

6. How do you advocate for the LGBTQ+ community?

By challenging bigotry when I can and supporting organisations.

7. Do you like to celebrate LGBT+ History Month? If yes, what do you like to do?

Yes, I like to read about historical LGBTQ+ figures and watch films to educate myself as much as possible.

8. Do you know of any specific organisations, charities, activists that are pushing for social justice/ changing attitudes or inclusion? If so, who are they?

Yes, Stonewall, they are always advocating for change.

9. Are you proud to work for an organisation that actively supports and works with LGBTQ+ organisations?

Yes, it is always good to know that you are working for an organisation that supports who you are.

Q&A: Matt Hardwick - Head of Product Development

1. What does LGBT+ History Month signify to you?

We've had many powerhouse figures appear in media, and significant events that are worthy of recognition or celebration over the years – not just specifically for their influence on, or significance to LGBTQ+ people; but for their impact on wider culture, academia, science, technology and more. It's a time to celebrate that representation.

Whilst there have been significant strides made in the past few years for equality; for many the battle for even basic respect and recognition is still ongoing. In many countries homosexuality is still illegal, in many more legal recognition of same sex relationships is non-existent.

So not only is it a time to reflect, admire, celebrate, and remember; but also a time to focus on the challenges we are still yet to overcome. It's not just about our history but the challenges we've faced and still face.

2. How are you making a difference for LGBTQ+ members in your community?

I run a large non-profit community group that has several key aims focused on LGBTQ+ people who play video and board games, often known as “gaymers”. I am not responsible for the pun, with it being coined many years ago, but it's the widely accepted term and it's a fun play on words.

The group primarily provides a space for people who identify with this moniker, with events both on and offline, providing a safe space with a common interest. The second aim of the group is to work with the video games industry on their diversity efforts. I've worked with not just major, but small publishers and developers too, advising on LGBTQ+ story lines, right and wrong ways to tackle bullying and toxicity, and how to deal with homo/trans/bi-phobia in online communities and games.

Lastly I also work with other LGBTQ+ charities, press, and even government departments on intersectional issues and representation.

3. Can you recommend any influential people within the LGBTQ+ community that our followers should stay in tune with?

Ben Hunte – Journalist. The former BBC journalist was the broadcaster's first LGBT+ news correspondent; is now working for Vice regularly investigating LGBTQ+ stories.

Shon Faye – Author and activist. Writer of The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice, a book that talks about the ways that trans people are monstered every day in ways many people don't even realise – and recommended albeit at times sobering reading.

4. Is there a connection between technology, diversity, and inclusion? And if so, how do they interconnect?

Absolutely. Research by Stonewall has shown that around a third of young LGBTQ+ people actively avoid jobs in traditional STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, and Maths) roles, because of negative stereotypes of those industries. Companies in these sectors are now actively trying to engage with minorities to ensure there's a place for all. I've personally worked with the Institute of Coding to encourage young people in minorities to enter into these industries.

There is a small irony here however. Technology is what has enabled minorities to connect, share ideas, raise awareness in ways they were never able to before. Online communities (Facebook Groups, Twitter, Discord) specifically have been a sometimes literal lifeline to minorities, especially in the context of the ongoing pandemic and lockdowns!

Also UKIE research has shown that over 20% of the games industry workforce identify as LGBT+, much higher than other industries, so it's clear that LGBT+ people do want to work in tech related roles.

5. Do you know of any specific organisations, charities, activists that are pushing for social justice/ changing attitudes or inclusion? If so, who are they?

Stonewall is probably one of the most significant and important organisations for LGBTQ+ people right now. They are under significant pressure and undue scrutiny from vocal minorities on social media, the press, and even government.

6. How do you think your allies in the LGBTQ+ movement can help with broader activism and awareness of the topic?

There are a number of ways that allies can be allies. The most obvious one is look, listen, and learn. Be prepared to listen and educate yourself on issues that impact the community.

Secondary, and this may be uncomfortable for some, but to be aware of the privileges you have, the LGBTQ+ community may not be afforded. This means being willing to confront your own assumptions and unconscious biases.

Stonewall has a good intro page that may help
https://www.stonewall.org.uk/about-us/news/come-out-lgbt-becoming-active-lgbt-ally

7. Are you proud to work for an organisation that actively supports and works with LGBT+ organisations?

I think it's fair to say that Apogee is nearer the beginning of its journey, but it's also clear that they're on the right track. I'm very proud that Apogee is a not just a key technology provider to Stonewall, but is also public about that fact demonstrating to others their commitment to working with them.

Q&A: Scott Edwards - Contracts Administrator

1. What does LGBT+ History Month signify to you?

It signifies a celebration of diversity and acceptance. It's scary to think that in some countries it is still illegal and punishable by death to be LGBTQ+. When I was growing up in the 80s there was a lot of stigma, with section 28 and the Aids crisis, now people are coming out as LGBTQ+ and people are more accepting. I've been very lucky that I've never felt any discrimination due to my sexuality.

2. How are you making a difference for LGBTQ+ members in your community?

By giving to LGBTQ+ charities, such as Stonewall and Mind OUT. Mind OUT is a mental health charity aimed at the LGBTQ+ community.

3. Can you recommend any influential people within the LGBTQ+ community that our followers should stay in tune with?

I would say that someone I feel is influential within the community and people should follow on Instagram is Adam Frisby who is openly gay, and who is the founder of In the Style. He created a business with just £1000 which is now worth over a £100 million. He is active in the LGBTQ+ community and does a lot of fundraising. In particular he recently raised £600,000 for the Samaritans with the Be Kind clothing range in memory of Caroline Flack.

4. How do you like to create an inclusive environment at Apogee?

I would say by always being open, accepting and never judging. I feel that Apogee has always been a very inclusive company and I have never felt that I have to hide my sexuality.

5. How do you advocate for the LGBTQ+ community?

By being me and living my life as an openly gay proud man.

6. Do you like to celebrate LGBT+ History Month? If yes, what do you like to do?

To be honest I never have. Previous organisations I have worked for have never really celebrated LGBTQ+ History Month. In the 20 years that I have been out I have never been to a pride event, which I hope to change this year, now that the covid restrictions have been lifted.

7. Do you know of any specific organisations, charities, activists that are pushing for social justice/ changing attitudes or inclusion? If so, who are they?

I would say Stonewall has done massive things for the LGBTQ+ community.

8. How do you think your allies in the LGBTQ+ movement can help with broader activism and awareness of the topic?

I would say by standing up and speaking out if they don't agree with something or if they feel that a change needs to be made.

9. Are you proud to work for an organisation that actively supports and works with LGBTQ+ organisations?

I am very proud to work for Apogee, I have been lucky that I have never experienced discrimination within the different companies I have worked in with regards to my sexuality, I think that it is great that the Apogee is celebrating different events.

Conversations for Change by Apogee Corporation

Our goal is not only to educate you but to drive what Apogee Corporation can do. While at Apogee we aspire to always do more, we know that this is a continual learning experience, come with us on this journey as we delve into these subjects which are close to the hearts of so many.

You can follow the conversation on our website and engage with us on our social media by using #ConversationsForChange.

Latest insights

12 February 2024

Want stronger data security? Invest in smoother hybrid working

Though high employee satisfaction is a benefit associated with hybrid working, many CIOs are still hesitant to invest in tools for easing digital collaboration – despite the fact that this tech would also enable them to tackle persistent issues concerning data security.

Keep up to date with all the latest in Managed Print Services.