Allies Through Their Eyes: True Stories of Allyship From LGBT+ Colleagues

Published: 9 Nov 2021

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Four members of the LGBT+ community within the insurance industry courageously and authentically shared their lived experiences around being an LGBT+ person, reflecting on how it has impacted their work life, the importance of treating everyone with human decency and how allies play a role in the workplace. The panel was facilitated by an ally which created the perfect setting for learning.

The facilitator was Kira Kimball, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for Marsh McLennan Agency and the panel included Oliver Botta from Willis Towers Watson, J.C. Fulse from Chubb, Theresa Farrenson from Aon, and Jamee Anthony from Philadelphia Insurance Companies.

Oliver shared his experience as a trans man and discussed how the laws in Argentina led to a much easier transition and provided him with the ability to socialise easily in society as a male. He also reflected on how difficult it was to get a job prior to his transition, even with a very attractive CV as well as the issues around being call “brave” when he shouldn’t have to be. He then went on to highlight the importance of feeling supported by the people who surround you and by your employer, discussing how his employer allows him to use his voice whenever possible.

Theresa then went on to share their experience of being non-binary and how visibility around the subject is so important as it’s still relatively undiscussed in the corporate world. They also spoke about the difficulties in coming out two times, once as a lesbian and then as a non-binary person as well as the importance of colleagues and society showing certain signs, such as having a rainbow on your door or desk, in showing LGBT+ people they are safe.

J.C. then discussed his experience of being a black gay man, looking at how his sexual orientation shouldn’t define his identity as well as his reluctance to share this information, in part to keep his working life professional. He went on to highlight what an ally means to him, which is being a decent human being and acting with respect.

Jamee looked at the insurance industry compared to other sectors. Having returned to the insurance industry after a teaching stint, she shared how important it was for her to join an organisation where she could be open and accepted. Having been with her wife for many years, being able to bring her whole self to work is important and is important to every LGBT+ person.