Together against discrimination: 17 May is dedicated to the "IDAHOBIT"
Jan Rohde is an advocate for the protection and acceptance of LGBT+ people and of gender diversity at thyssenkrupp. People continue to be discriminated against because of their sexuality, as our Junior Expert for Employer Branding explains. The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia and Interphobia (IDAHOBIT) on 17 May draws attention to the discrimination and punishment to which LGBT+ people are subject. This date is extremely important to thyssenkrupp and many of its employees. And for good reason.
“It would be amazing if one day it was normal for people with diverse sexual orientations to exist in our society, and the whole thing ceased to be an issue or subject worth discussing,” wishes Jan Rohde. The 25-year-old is part of the LGBT+ Network “LGBTI@thyssenkrupp” – a community of more than 100 like-minded people who support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual/transgender, queer, intersex and asexual staff at thyssenkrupp.
IDAHOBIT draws attention to the discrimination that LGBT+ people experience
“As long as people continue to experience discrimination, we need to advocate for LGBT+ communities and their representation,” explains Jan adamantly. It is for this exact reason that The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia and Interphobia (or “IDAHOBIT” for short) exists. IDAHOBIT, which has been held on 17 May each year since 2005, has an important goal: to draw attention to the discrimination and punishment that LGBT+ people experience because of their sexual orientation or gender identity by campaigning, attracting the attention of the media, and lobbying. 17 May was specifically chosen as the date for IDAHOBIT to commemorate the day on which the World Health Organization decided to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder (!) in 1990.
Eliezer Dias from the thyssenkrupp LGBT+ Network explains how important IDAHOBIT is for both the LGBT+ community and our society: “IDAHOBIT represents a very important opportunity to start a global dialogue between people of diverse sexual orientations and the society in which we live. We want to create a safe space where diversity is visible and where we treat one another with respect.”
“People experience discrimination even in liberal democracies”
Ursula Martin, another member of the Network, emphasises just how dire the situation continues to be for people of diverse sexual orientations. “In my view, this day is really important because it is relevant across the globe and reminds us that we are still subject to violence, imprisonment or even the death penalty in many countries.” Her colleague Dennis Maurer adds: “Even in liberal democracies like Germany, people are still discriminated against because of their identity or sexuality. This can be verbal or physical.”
That is why it is more important than ever to speak out against discrimination. thyssenkrupp takes part in IDAHOBIT on 17 May for this very reason. We do a number of things in order to show our support for the LGBT+ community, including flying rainbow flags in numerous locations on the day. “We will also fly rainbow flags at the thyssenkrupp headquarters in Essen,” reports Ursula Martin. “The same goes for thyssenkrupp Steel at the Duisburg site and at their headquarters. We will also fly the rainbow flag at the official opening ceremony for our new thyssenkrupp Schulte site in Frechen. And these are just some examples of how thyssenkrupp shows its support for the LGBT+ community. Flags will also be flown at other locations.”
Diversity and inclusion are a fixture in thyssenkrupp's corporate culture
Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is no mere coincidence. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: Diversity and inclusion management has been an integral part of thyssenkrupp’s HR policy for many years. “At thyssenkrupp, we value one another,” emphasises Oliver Burkhard, Director of Human Resources at thyssenkrupp AG. “All our employees have equal opportunities. It’s a part of our corporate culture.”
“Especially the personal support that we receive from the Board of Directors”, as Ursula Martin emphasises. “I see diversity as a huge plus at thyssenkrupp. The LGBT+ community has the full support of Oliver Burkhard, who has been supporting us from day one, and who personally takes part in Christopher Street Day parades as well as other campaigns. I still think that’s remarkable." Staff who can identify as LGBT+ can be sure that thyssenkrupp will support them at IDAHOBIT, too.
IDAHOBIT is an important date in the LGBT+ community’s diary, but it should be an important date in all our diaries.