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Digital Subscriptions > GCN > 334 > WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS


In companies across Ireland there’s an unprecedented drive to make LGBT+ people feel included and supported, with all sorts of initiatives from social events to workshops, to creating policies that recognise and respect the speciic issues employees may have. For this, our fourth workplace diversity issue, we meet some of the people championing a brave new working world. Words by Ellie Sell.

Chair of the Vodafone LGBT+ Friends Network

“Coming up to the marriage referendum in 2015, it started bringing a lot of things home to me about the bigger picture of being an open LGBT+ person. I was happily working in Vodafone, living with my fiancée, and things were going well for me, but I started thinking about doing something for people who might not be having such an smooth time in their organisations.

The way that I sought to make change was by working within Vodafone for it to be a more outspoken advocate for LGBT+ inclusion. I felt this would be my way of making a mark on the bigger piece.

The network is part of a larger group and one of the things it has worked on is an LGBT+ Role Model campaign. This has taken different forms in different markets, and in Ireland we looked for volunteers to come forward and tell us something about themselves, just a quick story. Everybody who volunteered told coming out stories and about what their lives had been like. It was hugely successful and the most read internal communications story we ever had. We put pictures of all the people up during Pride month and we kept the stories up on our screens. It was extremely effective, people responded to it very positively.

All of the LGBT+ Networks in all of the Vodafones came together in London two months ago to look at how we could drive LGBT+ inclusion. Now we’ve broken into small groups to drive different LGBT+ projects across the Vodafone markets.

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About GCN

Our provocative cover by artist and designer, Niall Sweeney, celebrates ten years of Pantibar while cheekily harking back to a certain fetish club both he and Rory O'Neill (aka Panti) ran in the mid-90s. Inside we discuss Sweeney's long-term artistic relationship with O'Neill and how their friendship has informed the evolution of Dublin's queer scene over three decades (the full recording of which is available via GCN’s new podcast Q&A: The Queer and Alternative Podcast). Elsewhere we talk to some high-flying champions of LGBT+ diversity in companies like Vodafone, Deloitte, Accenture Ireland, eir and Web Summit, about the benefits of bringing your authentic self to work, and the members of Intertech Ireland tell us about connecting the LGBT+ tech workforce. Chris O’Donnell hears from some non-national LGBTs who are effectively serving time in Ireland’s hellish Direct Provision centres about the double discrimination of being an LGBT+ asylum seeker. Shaun Dunne, author of a documentary-style play featuring the testimony of those living with HIV speaks to members of ACT UP ahead of its Dublin Theatre Festival run, and Ray O'Neill talks work/life balance. Plus, all the best news, opinion, reviews, events, and much more.