Der Trans* Day of Visibility (TDoV) findet seit 2009 jährlich am 31. März statt. Der Tag dient dazu, Bewusstsein und Sichtbarkeit für trans* Personen zu schaffen und auf bestehende Diskriminierungen udn Transfeindlichkeit aufmerksam zu machen. Der Tag bietet außerdem eine besondere Möglichkeit für cis Personen, sich solidarisch mit trans* Menschen zu zeigen und für gleiche Rechte einzsutehen. Für uns ist klar: #TransRightsAreHumanRights

Trans* wird adjektivisch genutzt und dient als Überbegriff für Menschen, deren das bei der Geburt zugewiesene Geschlecht nicht mit ihrer geschlechtlichen Identität übereinstimmt. Der Stern (auch Asterisk) steht dabei für die Vielzahl der Möglichkeiten geschlechtlicher Identitäten und geschlechtlicher Ausdrücke. Trans* bezeichnet also ein diveres Spektrum an Identitäten, Lebensweisen und Konzepten, die sich nicht ausschließlich binär verorten (lassen) möchten.

Alle Menschen sollen das Recht haben ĂĽber eine eigene Definition ihrer geschlechtlichen Identität zu bestimmen. Das sogenannte “Transsexuellengesetz” (TSG) verhindert dies seit Jahrzehnten und ist ein Beispiel fĂĽr die andauernde Diskriminierung von trans* Menschen. Ein neues Selbstbestimmungsgesetz muss das TSG ablösen, um trans* Menschen vor langwierigen und demĂĽtigenden Verfahren zu schĂĽtzen udn es zu vereinfachen ihre Grund- und Menschenrechte zu wahren.

Alle Menschen sollen das Recht haben ĂĽber eine eigene Definition ihrer geschlechtlichen Identität zu bestimmen. Das sogenannte “Transsexuellengesetz” (TSG) verhindert dies seit Jahrzehnten und ist ein Beispiel fĂĽr die andauernde Diskriminierung von trans* Menschen. Ein neues Selbstbestimmungsgesetz muss das TSG ablösen, um trans* Menschen vor langwierigen und demĂĽtigenden Verfahren zu schĂĽtzen udn es zu vereinfachen ihre Grund- und Menschenrechte zu wahren.

Anlässlich des TDoV haben wir trans* Personen gefragt, was ihnen beim Coming Out geholfen hat, welche Maßnahmen es von Unternehmensseite gab und gibt und was sich nach dem Coming Out für sie verändert hat.

YouTube

Mit dem Laden des Videos akzeptieren Sie die Datenschutzerklärung von YouTube.
Mehr erfahren

Video laden

Susanne SchloĂźmacher, Umweltmanagerin bei unserem PROUT EMPLOYER Covestro Deutschland antwortete: “Ich hatte innerhalb von zwei Tagen eine neue Mailadresse und konnte meinen Vornamen in den meisten Systemen schon ändern lassen. […] Ich kann nun endlich sein, wie ich bin und alle geben mir bis heute das GefĂĽhl, dass es nie eine andere Person als Susanne gegeben hat.”

Mehr Einblicke und Erfahrungen von ihrem Coming Out am Arbeitsplatz finden Sie im Video.

„Ich glaube eine Transition ist wohl eins der intensivsten Ereignisse, das man erleben kann, denn es ändert sich nicht nur der Körper, sondern auch das Denken und die komplette GefĂĽhlswelt.“ – Emilia Marina RĂĽttinger, Head of Credit Portfolio Management bei MEAG.

Welche konkreten Veränderungen ihr Coming Out am Arbeitsplatz darüber hinaus mit sich brachte, erfahren Sie im Video.

YouTube

Mit dem Laden des Videos akzeptieren Sie die Datenschutzerklärung von YouTube.
Mehr erfahren

Video laden

YouTube

Mit dem Laden des Videos akzeptieren Sie die Datenschutzerklärung von YouTube.
Mehr erfahren

Video laden

„Am meisten ermutigt habe ich mich selbst, weil ich die Entscheidung für mich getroffen habe diesen Weg zu gehen und zu mir selbst zu stehen und das zu akzeptieren was ich bin und wer ich bin.“, so Emma Gröger, Verkäuferin (Schwerpunkt Service) von Deutsche Telekom zu unserer Frage „Wer hat Dich zur Transitition und einem Coming Out ermutigt oder Dir geholfen, Dein eigenes trans* Sein für Dich zu verstehen?“.


Was noch während ihres Coming Out in der Arbeitswelt geschehen ist und welche Erfahrungen sie gemacht hat, erfahren Sie in diesem Video.

„Ich kann jeden Tag meine ganze Energie in den Job stecken, in unser internes Co-Pride Netzwerk stecken und muss keinen Gedanken daran verschwenden an Informationskontrolle, wer weiĂź was ĂĽber mich und so weiter.“, so Sarah Schiller, Head of Trial Molds Replacement – R&D Tires bei PROUT EMPLOYER Continental zu unserer Frage: „Was hat sich in Deinem Unternehmen ganz konkret seit Deinem Coming Out fĂĽr Dich verändert?“.

Welche interessanten Einblicke uns Sarah noch gewährt und welche Erfahrungen sie gemacht hat, erfahren Sie im Video.

YouTube

Mit dem Laden des Videos akzeptieren Sie die Datenschutzerklärung von YouTube.
Mehr erfahren

Video laden

qa2px

Weitere hilfreiche Informationen und Interviews finden Sie auch in unseren Beiträgen
zum Trans* Day of Visibility aus den vergangene Jahren 2019 und 2021.

Stand.With.Ukraine. Schriftzug auf gelb-blauem Hintergrund.

We stand in solidarity with all people in Ukraine who are affected by the Russian invasion and war. We know that the Russian regime is extremely queer-hostile and repressive. Therefore, if you would like to support, for example, the LGBT*IQ community or other associations and groups concretely and have the resources to do so, you are welcome to do so via the following pages.

Points of contact and donation options

Many people need immediate help in the current situation. That is why we have listed various donation options here. The list does not claim to be complete. Rather, it represents an excerpt that can be constantly supplemented.

Munich Kyiv Queer / Queere Nothilfe Ukraine

“The contact group Munich Kyiv Queer, formed in 2012 after the CSD in Munich, specifically advocates for the human rights of homo-, bi-, trans* and inter* people in Ukraine. The twinning between Kyiv and Munich is the basis for this.”

“Queere Nothilfe Ukraine is an association of representatives of various organizations from the LGBT*IQ community in Germany. We are in close contact with the human rights organizations on the ground, which use funds for the urgently needed care or evacuation of queer people. Every donation helps and is 100% earmarked.”

With their fundraiser they support activists who need money for transport, accommodation and food until they have found a safe place.

Quarteera e.V.

Quarteera e. V. is an association of Russian-speaking LGBT*IQ in Germany. With their donation campaign, the necessary funds for food, clothing, fees for legal aid, language courses for LGBT*IQ, will be financed.

Kharkiv Pride

KharkivPride is the largest LGBT*IQ Pride organizer in Ukraine, along with KyivPride, which created the event for the protection, equal rights and opportunities of LGBT*IQ people.

You have further input?

Feel free to contact us with specific places to go and ways to donate,
that we can include on the list.

Stand.With.Ukraine. Schriftzug auf gelb-blauem Hintergrund.

Wir stellen uns solidarisch an die Seite aller Menschen in der Ukraine, die von der russischen Invasion und dem Krieg betroffen sind. Wir wissen, dass das russische Regime extrem queerfeindlich und repressiv agiert. Wer deshalb konkret die LGBT*IQ Community unterstützen möchte und die Ressourcen dazu hat, kann dies gerne über folgende Seiten tun.

Anlaufstellen und Spendenmöglichkeiten

Viele Menschen brauchen in der aktuellen Situation konkrete Hilfe. Deswegen haben wir hier verschiedene Spendenmöglichkeiten aufgelistet. Die Auflistung erhebt nicht den Anspruch auf Vollständigkeit. Vielmehr stellt sie einen Auszug dar, die stetig ergänzt werden kann.

Munich Kyiv Queer / QUEERE NOTHILFE UKRAINE

“Die Kontaktgruppe Munich Kyiv Queer, 2012 nach dem CSD in MĂĽnchen entstanden, setzt sich speziell fĂĽr die Menschenrechte von homo-, bi-, trans* und inter* Menschen in der Ukraine ein. Die Städtepartnerschaft zwischen Kyjiw und MĂĽnchen ist die Basis dafĂĽr.”

“Queere Nothilfe Ukraine ist ein Zusammenschluss von Vertreter_innen diverser Organisationen aus der LSBT*IQ Community in Deutschland. Wir stehen in engem Kontakt mit den Menschenrechtsorganisationen vor Ort, die Gelder fĂĽr die dringend notwendige Versorgung oder Evakuierung queerer Menschen verwenden. Jede Spende hilft und wird zu 100% zweckgebunden eingesetzt.”

Mit ihrer Spendenaktion wollen sie Aktivist_innen unterstĂĽtzen, die Geld fĂĽr Transport, Unterkunft und Verpflegung brauchen, bis sie einen sicheren Ort gefunden haben.

Quarteera e.V.

Quarteera e. V. ist ein Verband von russischsprachigen LGBT*IQ in Deutschland. Mit ihrer Spendenaktion sollen die benötigen Mittel für Lebensmittel, Kleidung, Honorare für Anwalts-, Rechtshilfe, Sprachkurse für LGBT*IQ, die sich an uns wenden werden, finanziert werden.

Kharkiv Pride

KharkivPride ist neben KyivPride der größte LGBT*IQ-Pride-Organisator in der Ukraine, der die Veranstaltung zum Schutz, der Gleichberechtigung und der Chancengleichheit von LGBT*IQ-Menschen geschaffen hat.

You have further input?

Feel free to contact us with specific places to go and ways to donate,
that we can include on the list.

Our new team members: Sandra Stadler, Frauke Becker and Philipp Rossi. Read more about our new employees.

Im Gespräch mit… Nikita Baranov

„Die Antwort auf Krisen liegt im Miteinander“

Facebook empfiehlt seit geraumer Zeit zum eigenen Geburtstag die Möglichkeit von Spendenaktionen zu Gunsten von gemeinnützigen Organisationen zu starten. Nikita Baranov von METRO ist dieser Empfehlung gefolgt und hat seine Freunde um einen Beitrag zu Gunsten von PROUT AT WORK gebeten. Aus diesem Grund haben wir mit Nikita kurz gesprochen:

Nikita, ganz herzlichen GlĂĽckwunsch zu Deinem Geburtstag auch von unserer Seite. Warum ist gerade jetzt, in Krisenzeiten, eine Spendenaktion fĂĽr PROUT AT WORK so wichtig?

 

Die Antwort auf Krisen liegt im Miteinander – gerade aufgrund der räumlichen Distanz, die wir im Alltag erfahren, ist es umso wichtiger, dass wir als Gemeinschaft näher rücken. Dies trifft natürlich auch auf unsere Arbeitswelten zu. Eins ist klar, wir werden alle in der Zukunft anders zusammenarbeiten und dafür setzt sich die Stiftung unermüdlich ein: Für eine Arbeitswelt, die für mehr Vielfalt und Inklusion steht – losgelöst von sexueller Orientierung, Herkunft, Religion und Identität.

Was ist fĂĽr Dich als Person der Mehrwert von PROUT AT WORK?

 

Ohne die langjährige Unterstützung von PROUT AT WORK, wäre METROPride, unser Netzwerk für LGBT+ Mitarbeiter_innen und –Allies, nicht da wo es heute steht. Die zahlreichen Formate, die PROUT anbietet – von Ratgebern über Sensibilisierungsschulungen für alle Ebenen im Unternehmen bis zur wichtigen Vernetzung mit anderen Unternehmensnetzwerken, Poltiker_innen und Verbänden – haben es uns  ermöglicht, das Thema LGBT+-Diversity innerhalb der METRO nachhaltig zu verankern und stetig auszubauen.

“Eins ist klar, wir werden alle in der Zukunft anders zusammenarbeiten und dafĂĽr setzt sich die Stiftung unermĂĽdlich ein.”

Was kann jede_r einzelne machen, dass PROUT AT WORK und ihr Stiftungszweck weiterkommt?

 

Jede_r kann die analogen und digitalen Angebote von PROUT AT WORK nutzen und für den diskriminierungsfreien Arbeitsplatz und mehr Vielfalt in ihrem_seinem Unternehmen werben. Gerade jetzt, in einer Zeit, wo viel Konversation nur noch über den digitalen Weg stattfindet, ist ein wertschätzendes Umfeld und Achtsamkeit wichtiger denn je. Um den Dialog zu fördern und für diese Themen zu sensibilisieren, ist die Stiftung auf jegliche Unterstützung angewiesen.

Vielen Dank Dir fĂĽr Deine Zeit und die Idee auf Facebook!
A talk with… Nils_SĂ©line “Nica” Schächtele

“Let’s be as courageous as possible. Intersexuality is still a big taboo topic.”

Nils_SĂ©line “Nica” Schächtele was born in Freiburg im Breisgau and studied electrical engineering and information technology at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Both before and while studying this subject, Nica was interested in professional sound and acoustic engineering. In 2002, the next stop on Nica’s journey was Straubing, where Nica joined EVI Audio GmbH (a subsidiary of Bosch’s Building Technologies business unit since 2006) as a systems test engineer.

You refer to yourself as “divers” (non-binary). What experiences have you had at Bosch with this identity?

 

Nils_SĂ©line “Nica” Schächtele: DIVERSITY has been an important topic at Bosch for some years now. I have always liked the term “divers” very much because I have intersex as well as transgender-androgynous and bigender characteristics, and “divers” covers all of them. The change in the law creating the third gender option in Germany has really pushed things forward simultaneously for Bosch and for me. This year, we started to take many diverse steps together and to have lively discussions – a win-win situation for all of us. Sometimes, I jokingly refer to myself as “Bosch’s token non-binary person”. The feedback from my colleagues at the office was cautiously positive, and I got a lot of respect for being open about my gender. There was also a bit of confusion, in particular due to my two additional first names SĂ©line and Nica. If I brought up this subject myself, the question I heard most frequently was: “Can I still call you Nils?” – which I’m OK with.

What does it mean to you to be an intersex person in our society?

 

Nils_SĂ©line “Nica” Schächtele: It means belonging to a tabooed minority that is largely invisible. Sometimes I feel like we’re aliens from a Science Fiction movie: “So people like that actually exist?” “Yes, they do!!” Noticing that someone has both typically female and typically male characteristics, or finding out more details about this, or even realising that someone doesn’t fit into any traditional category, makes many people uneasy. It doesn’t match the binary view of the world that is instilled in us. It takes a lot of patience and stamina to overcome this hurdle.

“However, the biggest challenge is, and continues to be, plucking up the courage to speak openly to others.”

When did you come out in your workplace? And what challenges did this pose at your company and with your colleagues?

 

Nils_SĂ©line “Nica” Schächtele: I began to come out at Bosch during a telephone call with Olaf Schreiber – the spokesperson for the company’s LGBTIQ network RBg – and then in a telephone call about the “third gender option” with Anja Hormann from the central Bosch Diversity Team. After that, I gradually informed my direct colleagues at the office, my carpool group, my supervisor and the local HR department. A wonderful video made by colleagues for colleagues on IDAHOBIT inspired me to have my first name changed to Nils_SĂ©line in the internal company address book. It is written with the so-called “Gender_Gap” to visualise the gender continuum between male and female. I dedicated my first blog entry in the internal network to this subject and sometimes I was moved to tears by the approval I received from all over the world. On Diversity Day, our office organised a Diversity Business Lunch which I attended and where I was able to talk about non-binary gender aspects with those present. Generally, I was pleasantly surprised at how much good will and appreciation were shown to me at all levels. However, the biggest challenge is, and continues to be, plucking up the courage to speak openly to others. Not to mention the IT side, where the only options you have in many areas are male and female.

What advice would you give to intersex people planning to come out?

 

Nils_SĂ©line “Nica” Schächtele: Take it slowly – small steps are best, so give yourself time. Coming out as an intersex person requires a great deal of care and courage. Things can quickly take a wrong turn. I recommend beginning with people who are not quite so close to you. After a bit of practice, you’ll find it easier to talk to your family and close friends. And get in touch with LGBTIQ allies – they’re open-minded and make very good listeners. Talking to allies will make you feel better and boost your self-confidence.

“I’d like this to be matched by a more relaxed approach – as if you’re talking about the weather or what you’re going to cook for dinner.”

What are your hopes with regard to the visibility of intersex per­sons in particular and the LGBTIQ Community in general at your company?

 

Nils_SĂ©line “Nica” Schächtele: Let’s be as courageous as possible. Intersexuality is still a big taboo topic. In many places, we as a society have yet to take a clear stand against hastily begun hormonal treatment or surgery which is not medically necessary. The few who are open about their identity are inundated with letters and requests from all sides. But there are other important topics, too. That’s why I’d like to see many people – in particular many allies – spread the message that the human body doesn’t just develop into a man or a woman and that gender actually covers a broad spectrum. I’d like this to be matched by a more relaxed approach – as if you’re talking about the weather or what you’re going to cook for dinner. I experienced this on Stuttgart’s commuter trains recently and it worked really well. As regards our LGBTIQ Community at Bosch, I hope that many people will join us in the years to come, the proportion of allies will grow steadily, and gender diversity will gain an even higher profile. This applies to intersex, transgender and queer identities topics of any kind.

Big Impact Initiative Award:
be.queer LGBTIQ and allies at Bertelsmann

This year, the award in the Big Impact Initiative category went to Bertelsmann’s be.queer network. To mark this year’s Coming Out Day, the company published creative contributions designed to make its own employees more aware of the topic of coming out in the workplace. For example, rather than focusing just on their own group, the network used the project as an opportunity to get several generations and departments of the company involved. To this end, they initiated the first cross‑division trainee project and thus prompted several companies to consider a change in perspective. “We have a social responsibility and are a powerful instrument for the population at large. The video allows us to draw attention to the topic in society, too, using one of our trade marks – the moving image.

Rising Star Award:
MORE* Queer@OttoGroup

The Otto Group’s MORE* network won the Rising Star Award 2019. Founded as recently as late July 2019, the network has adopted a clear role within the company with the familiar objective of bringing employees together – whether they are queer, allies or simply curious. They actively take a stand in favour of LGBTIQ diversity and against discrimination, and lend a voice to those who have not (yet) found theirs. They have already succeeded in getting the rainbow flag permanently positioned between the Group’s flags and have also ensured that, in future, employees will make their way into work via a specially created Pride Walk. Over 200 employees are now part of the network. And the clear message from all involved is: “We are convinced that in public debates corporate groups have a growing social responsibility and must actively take a stand in favour of diversity.”

Global Leader Network Award:
dbPride – Deutsche Bank’s LGBTQI network

Deutsche Bank’s dbPride network received the Global Leader Network Award 2019. Thanks to impressive activities in various countries, they demonstrated how they promote equal opportunities for LGBTIQ people. They use targeted campaigns not only to advocate actual change for the better within their own corporate culture, but also to play an active part in global efforts to change the political and societal situation of LGBTIQ people. They were actively involved in the drafting of the LGBTI Standards of Conduct for Business and are among the most committed members of various initiatives, declarations and statements. Determined and effective, this network ensures that their company translates its corporate philosophy into deeds.

Big Impact Initiative Award:
be.queer LGBTIQ And allies bei Bertelsmann

Den Preis in der Kategorie Big Impact Initiative hat in diesem Jahr das Netzwerk be.queer von Bertelsmann gewonnen. Das Unternehmen veröffentlichte unter anderem zum diesjährigen Coming Out Day kreative Beiträge, die das Coming Out am Arbeitsplatz den eigenen Mitarbeiter_innen stärker ins Bewusstsein rĂĽcken soll.  So hielten sie sich nicht nur in ihrem eigenen Kreis auf, sondern nahmen das Vorhaben zum Anlass mehrere Generationen und Ressorts des Unternehmens mitwirken zu lassen. Dazu initiierten sie das erste divisionsĂĽbergreifende Azubiprojekt und regten so zum Perspektivenwechsel in mehreren Firmen an. „Wir haben eine soziale Verantwortung und sind ein starkes Instrument fĂĽr die breite Bevölkerung. Durch das Video können wir auch in der Gesellschaft auf das Thema aufmerksam machen und dafĂĽr eines unserer Markenzeichen nutzen – das Bewegtbild.“

Rising Star Award:
MORE* Queer@OttoGroup

Das Netzwerk MORE* der Otto Group hat den Rising Star Award 2019 gewonnen. Erst Ende Juli 2019 gegründet, positioniert es sich klar im Unternehmen mit den klassischen Aufgaben: Mitarbeiter_innen miteinander zu vernetzen – egal ob queer, Ally oder einfach neugierig. Sie setzen aktiv ein Zeichen pro LGBT*IQ-Vielfalt und gegen Diskriminierung und geben jenen eine Stimme, die sie nicht oder noch nicht gefunden haben. Bereits jetzt haben sie durchgesetzt, dass die Rainbowflag dauerhaft einen Platz zwischen ihren Konzernflaggen erhält und haben zudem dafür gesorgt, dass der Weg in die Arbeit zukünftig über einen extra angelegten Pride-Walk erfolgt. Mittlerweile gehören dem Netzwerk über 200 Mitarbeiter_innen an. Und bei allen Beteiligten wird deutlich: „Wir sind der Überzeugung, dass Konzerne im gesellschaftlichen Diskurs eine wachsende Verantwortung innehaben und aktiv Stellung pro Vielfalt beziehen müssen.“

Global Leader Network Award:
dbPride – LGBTQI-Netzwerk Deutsche Bank

Das Netzwerk dbPride der Deutschen Bank erhält den Global Leader Network Award 2019. Durch beeindruckende Aktivitäten in verschiedenen Ländern haben sie deutlich gemacht, wie sie LGBT*IQ-Chancengleichheit vorantreiben. Mit gezielten Aktionen setzen sie sich nicht nur in der eigenen Unternehmenskultur für einen tatsächlichen Wandel hin zum Besseren ein. Sondern tragen weltweit aktiv zur Veränderung der politischen und gesellschaftlichen Situation von LGBT*IQ bei. Sie waren aktiv an der Erstellung der LGBTI Standards of Conduct for Business beteiligt und zählen zu den engagiertesten Mitgliedern von unterschiedlichen Initiativen, Deklarationen und Statements. Determiniert und effektiv, sorgt dieses Netzwerk dafür, dass ihr Unternehmen seiner Unternehmensphilosophie auch Taten folgen lässt.

PROUT EMPLOYER METRO

“My goal is that in ten years we no longer have to talk about diversity and inclusion because both of these things have simply become part of life – in all areas of society.”

Laura Halfas worked for various trading and consulting companies in the areas of purchasing, distribution and IT before she joined METRO in 2008. She started in the Supply Chain Management IT area and then moved to Customer Marketing IT. Seven years later, Laura Halfas, who has a bachelor’s degree in trade and commerce, became the team leader of eCommerce, Marketing Operations & Traceability. At the end of 2017, she ultimately took over the position of Head of Corporate Responsibility. She focuses on diversity and inclusion as well as corporate citizenship.

Ms Halfas, METRO AG is clearly a very active PROUT EMPLOYER. In what specific ways does METRO champion more equal opportunities for LGBT*IQ people?

 

Laura Halfas: METRO was one of the first wholesalers to sign the UN Free and Equal Standards of Conduct for Business, which ensure that all employees are “free and equal”. We also have METRO Pride, a very strong internal network. This year, the Diversity & Inclusion Days took place for the first time at our campus in Dusseldorf to spark our employees’ interest in the topic of diversity. And METRO was again represented at Sticks & Stones in 2019, the largest LGBT+ careers fair in Europe.

Which initiatives are you personally particularly proud of?

 

Laura Halfas: We at METRO initiated a position paper on the issue of blood donation because the guidelines are discriminatory. For example, homosexual men are generally assumed to engage in risky behaviour irrespective of their actual sexual behaviour and their life situation. It would be great if, together with PROUT AT WORK, we could achieve a position paper that was adopted by German businesses. That’s why I would again like to take the opportunity to invite businesses to participate in this initiative.

“Working for equal rights is what drives me. At first, I only focused on gender equality, but then I realised that there are many areas in which there is no equality.”

As Head of Corporate Responsibility, it is your duty to ensure that METRO AG fulfils its corporate responsibility for the environment and society. In your view, what responsibility do businesses have when it comes to equal opportunities for LGBTIQ people?

 

Laura Halfas: We are a people business and we work with people throughout our entire value chain. As a global company with more than 150,000 employees in 36 countries, it’s our duty to ensure that all people are treated equally and not discriminated against – be they METRO employees, service partners, suppliers or customers.

In what specific areas are you hoping for support from PROUT AT WORK?

 

Laura Halfas: I and a lot of my colleagues appreciate the networking and dialogue with PROUT AT WORK. The foundation has considerable experience and know-how. For example, it constantly provides us with new impetus to drive forward cultural change within METRO and make our jobs even more open and less susceptible to discrimination. What’s more, our activities are becoming visible outside the company. And as I said, our motto when it comes to the position paper on blood donation is: together we can do it!

You immediately agreed to an interview with us – thank you again! To what extent are equal opportunities for LGBTIQ people an issue that is close to your heart?

 

Laura Halfas: Working for equal rights is what drives me. At first, I only focused on gender equality, but then I realised that there are many areas in which there is no equality. My goal is that in ten years we no longer have to talk about diversity and inclusion because both of these things have simply become part of life – in all areas of society. However, there are still many areas in which LGBT+ issues need to be addressed. People are still being discriminated against. I want to change this. Everyone should have the opportunity to be who they are.

Ms Halfas, many thanks for talking to us!
PROUT EMPLOYER OTTO

“That’s why for me, MORE* is a very clear signal to the outside world – a signal that shows that in the Otto Group we will […] continue to be a liberal-minded, tolerant corporate group of many colours.”

Ingo Bertram is OTTO’s press spokesman and co-founder of MORE*, the Otto Group’s LGBTIQ network. Previously, Mr Bertram, who was born in Bremen, was head of Corporate PR & Content in the corporate communication department of the logistics service provider Hermes and worked as a PR consultant for international brands and groups.

You’re a very young network – only founded in 2019. Tell us how your initial idea led to the network being formed and how the first activities came about.

 

Ingo Bertram: The Otto Group has long been a supporter of diversity – explicitly including LGBTIQ. A good example of this is our cooperation with Hamburg Pride, which started in 2017. Nevertheless, the Group had no official structure that specifically allowed LGBTIQ people to join together and that promoted queer topics and coordinated activities. Nor was there a central voice representing the interests of our queer colleagues. This is precisely why in May 2019 we established MORE*, a queer network in the Otto Group. At the end of July, to coincide with Hamburg Pride Week, we officially launched the network – and the first thing we did was turn the OTTO campus into a sea of rainbows, including a rainbow zebra crossing and a huge rainbow cake, through a range of activities. Incidentally, the zebra crossing is now a permanent feature on our campus, as is the rainbow flag in front of our main entrance. The cake, however, was gone within two hours!

“Whether MORE* will be a lasting success in the Otto Group depends primarily on how deeply we can anchor our vision in the group and in the mindset of our staff.”

Which challenges did you face? Where did you get support from?

 

Ingo Bertram: Right from the time we established the network, we received a delightful amount of encouragement and support, not only from direct colleagues, but explicitly also from the highest management levels. I sometimes had the impression that many people were merely waiting for a queer network to finally be launched. Ultimately, our biggest challenge was therefore not only to officially establish the network within a few weeks, but also to organise a launch that met our own high standards – and to do all this without neglecting our main jobs. I was blown away by the fact that we had already got more than 150 MORE* supporters within 48 hours of the official launch on 29 July.

With Gesa Heinrichs as Executive Sponsor, you have an enormously committed person on board. To what extent does this help you in your work?

 

Ingo Bertram: Whether MORE* will be a lasting success in the Otto Group depends primarily on how deeply we can anchor our vision in the group and in the mindset of our staff. A prerequisite for this is that we can motivate as many colleagues as possible to help shape the work of our network proactively and drive forward ideas. Of course, it’s helpful for MORE* to also have committed members and supporters at higher management levels, such as Gesa Heinrichs or our patron Katy Roewer, the member of OTTO’s management board with responsibility for Service & HR. This gives us better access to top management and can make coordination easier. What is ultimately decisive, though, is that our ideas, visions and wishes take hold within the company, irrespective of any hierarchies. And for this goal we need every single person.

Why is supporting LGBT*IQ people a matter that is close to your heart?

 

Ingo Bertram: I’d like to answer this question both from a personal view and from the perspective of society as a whole. Speaking personally, the answer is obvious because – just like many other initiators and supporters of MORE* – I am queer myself and naturally I want to work in a company that treats its employees equally without reservation, regardless of gender, religion, skin colour or sexual identity. However, this always works best when there are people in a company who are committed to diversity and set a good example. This is precisely what we want to do with MORE*.

On the other hand, what’s at least as important to me is the appeal such a commitment can have beyond one’s own job. In Germany and in many other countries, we are experiencing a partial rollback of society. Right-wing populist ideas are gaining influence, mostly at the expense of minorities, and these include not only refugees, Muslims or Jews, but also queer people. I can’t and won’t stand by and watch this happen, either in my personal life or at work, and this is how many others here feel, too. I am convinced that in this discourse, companies have a growing social responsibility and must actively take a stand in favour of diversity. That’s why for me, MORE* is a very clear signal to the outside world – a signal that shows that in the Otto Group we will not surrender to this rollback and will continue to be a liberal-minded, tolerant corporate group of many colours.

What are the next steps, and what are your wishes and goals for the network?

 

Ingo Bertram: Globally, more than 50,000 people work for the Otto Group. The biggest challenge and thus the most important goal for us will be to reach as many of these people as possible. This sounds trivial at first, but it isn’t. In the coming months, we will therefore begin by redoubling our efforts to build up an internal network between our more than 120 group companies, both digitally and using regular dialogue formats. At the same time, we want to promote awareness of queer topics internally in various areas, whether it’s in marketing and purchasing, in our online shop teams or in the recruiting process. I think we’re already on the right track.

Many thanks for talking to us, Ingo!