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By Vitor Liberatori
Senior Product Manager at Elsevier

I don’t like soccer, I don’t have a wife, but in my early career in the company I’ve been working for almost 20 years, this kind of conversation in meetings and corridors still made me mute. What about when they asked me what I thought of the match or where I usually go with my wife? Change the subject. In the early 2000s, I wore a mask 100% of the time in the corporate environment.

Today, it’s not because I hold a senior position and I’m more mature that I feel comfortable being gay at work. But also because, over the years, I have experienced the transformation of companies in relation to LGBTQIA+ diversity, especially the various and welcome movements of Elsevier, the multinational in which I have been building my career.

I entered as a telemarketer, already sure that I wanted more. I would need to show my abilities, my power to grow. But how to do personal marketing without being able to be what you are?

It is worth noting that I have never suffered any kind of embarrassment at Elsevier, however, we know how prejudiced society in general is and how we are affected in our emotional. If, in the 21st century, there are people who still confuse competence with ways of dressing and fuzzy hair, imagine what messages can pass on conservative cisgender bosses and co-workers living the everyday life with a man who is married to another man?

I continued to realy dedicate myself to my professional goals, without sharing my personal life in the workplace, except with my direct boss, who, years later, was the ceremonialist of my marriage! Having her by my side over the years has been and remains very important.

I watched the company’s movements, increasingly committed to diversity throughout its social spectrum: the rise of several women to high leadership positions, the hiring of more black people to the most diverse positions and more LGBTQIA+ people. The more peers in the offices, the more we recognize each other and gain strength to believe that “what matters is the quality of what I deliver”.

The opening to difference was happening. Especially because, let’s face it, an environment with multiple profiles generates more plural and creative ideas. And that means productivity. Bingo!

In 2013, we heard about the launching of the Elsevier Pride Network for LGBT employees in Amsterdam. At the time, the publicity material said: “Although most large companies now prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, some are going further to ensure gay employees feel welcome and supported. The process of change is far from over, and today’s younger workers are much more relaxed about homosexuality than their parents”.

Seven years later, in 2020, Elsevier won the LGBT+ Diversity Champion certification in Germany under the PRIDE 500 program, which connects to the company’s global inclusion and diversity strategy.

In the offices here in Brazil, we feel the impact of each of these steps and are inspired to form our own discussion groups. After all, most of these initiatives are led by employees (for you who want changes in the work environment, here’s a tip).

But what do diversity networks and certifications mean on a daily basis? Well, among many subtle and important movements, the corporate culture of diversity involves sensitivity training and HR professionals prepared for the specific issues of the LGBTQIA+ universe; visibility of this group in internal and external communication, as well as in external support to the LGBTQIA+ community; postures and attitudes provided for in the Code of Ethics and Business Conduct or in the Supplier Code of Conduct, among several other actions.

All this simply can be called RESPECT.

Today I can be who I am 100% of the time. Because I take care of my emotional health, because I know I’m competent and because I work at a LGBTQIA+ friendly company. What about you?

By Vitor Liberatori
Senior Product Manager at Elsevier

Vitor Liberatori 1 - credits Disclosure Elsevier
Vitor Liberatori – Credits – Disclosure/Elsevier

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