Proudly flying the GMW flag for diversity and equal rights
Pride can mean many different things. Whether you identify as LGBTQI+, or as an ally, GMW’s Jenna Morris and Chloe Warburton agree it comes down to embracing diversity and equal rights. “I guess pride means standing up for what I believe in and creating equal rights for everybody,” Jenna said. “Everybody matters. It doesn’t matter your size, shape, colour, gender, sexuality, or your cultural background - everybody deserves respect and to be treated equally.” Jenna is a representative on GMW’s staff-led Pride Network and the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) Pride in Water Network. Both have been set up to share resources, raise awareness, build workplace and community connections and a network of allies and leaders. “The reason that I joined was to help celebrate and support the pride community. It is a community that is very close to my heart and I love that I can bring some awareness to the workplace and the community,” Jenna said.
Identifying as bisexual, Jenna said it was important for her to promote GMW as a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone is accepted and valued. “It’s also about accepting people exactly as they are and accepting what they stand for. You don’t have to agree with everyone’s choices and views but you do need to respect them,” she said.
Chloe who also sits on the Pride Network said she joined as an ally for the LGBTQI+ community, to be a voice for those who didn’t feel comfortable or safe to stand up and to drive important conversations and opportunities for education and awareness in the diversity space. “From a GMW perspective we want people to know that we’re a safe and inclusive place to work,” she said. “In northern Victoria there’s a lot of small rural towns where there’s often quite prevalent attitudes about LGBTQI people and it can be quite difficult to stamp out but we just want to show that there are safe spaces and there are safe people to have those conversations and everyone deserves the right to be equal.”
By celebrating Pride Month in the workplace, Chloe and Jenna hope to generate more awareness and conversation around diversity and see the organisation’s Pride Network grow. “Celebrating events such as Pride Month is a huge thing - people look at us celebrating those days and I think it makes them automatically feel connected and it makes them feel more secure,” Jenna said. “I feel like it really has a comforting vibe knowing that it’s not just people in the pride community that are celebrating those days it’s everybody – everybody wants to create this beautiful place where everybody is equal and we treat everyone the same way.”
Chloe reflected on GMW’s recent staff event to mark IDAHOBIT – the International Day Against LGBTQIA+ Discrimination. “What I really loved about IDAHOBIT Day was how many people showed up to the morning tea. And showed up in a big way – they cooked amazing food and shared amazing things,” she said. “There are a lot of people across our business who are really passionate about this and it just reminds you sometimes you are working at a place that promotes that diversity.”
Chloe said that while some measures to support or promote diversity could be seen as smaller steps, they can still have a big impact. “I remember when we offered up rainbow lanyards for our staff IDs they were placed in the lunch room and gone within days. Now you see rainbow lanyards all across the office and it’s a wonderful, visual representation of the support at GMW for LGBTQI+ communities,” she said. “As part of our efforts to make sure we use inclusive language in our communications, we have also offered up the option for staff to add pronouns to their email signatures which has fostered some really fantastic and respectful conversations. “If people want to learn, the opportunity is there and as an organisation we embrace and encourage that and that is the type of workplace I want to work at and why I want to see GMW positioned in the public arena as a safe and inclusive place to work.”
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Media Contact: Klaus Nannestad
Communications, Engagement and Media - GM Water - Telephone: 0438 216 002