Lesbian Visibility Week
Lesbian Visibility Week aims to show solidarity with every person within the LGBTQIA+ community who identifies as a lesbian, as well as to celebrate them.
It's been said that to be seen, is to be known. This week is Lesbian Visibility week and this initiative aims to recognise, celebrate and support, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and queer people. Many people from the LGBTQIA+ community find themselves overlooked either in society or in the workplace, or both. We spoke to Queen Mathosa-Nkosi, a Senior Administrator for Business Support at Vodacom, about the significance of the week and what her experience as a lesbian has been like.
What’s been your experience of being out while working at Vodacom?
Many LGBTQIA+ people continue to face discrimination in their personal lives, in the workplace and the public sphere, and in their access to critical health care. This experience of discrimination leads to many adverse consequences for their financial, mental, and physical well-being. I found that Vodacom prides itself on diversity and inclusion, ensuring that all their employees and customers are treated fairly and with respect. Therefore making it very easy for me to be myself at all times.
What does it mean to you to be black and queer in your professional and personal life?
As a black, lesbian in my mid-30s, nothing excites me more than seeing powerful examples of people who look like me and as part of my community (LGBTQIA+) doing amazing things, beating the odds against black and queer success in and around Africa. I personally have been privileged enough to have never experienced any “issues” about my sexuality in my private or professional work.
Random fact: I married my best friend 6 years ago in three of the most beautiful weddings. Such privilege I do not take for granted. My heart goes out to all the people who are not able to marry the people they love because of homophobia, prejudice, laws, and other restrictions beyond their control. So I do acknowledge that I am one lucky lady!
How would you like Vodacom to support employees who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community?
I feel like Vodacom is on the right part, but obviously more could be done, such as mentoring, employee network groups, seminars, and conferences. Creating a more gender-neutral environment by making bold changes such as establishing unisex toilets and using gender-neutral language, like 'partner' instead of husband or wife.
Is there anything you’d like to share with LGBTQIA+ people in the workplace?
I find that at times we judge each other in the community by the “labels” we have. I find that at times, lesbians can be “judgmental” to women who identify as bisexual. Some feminine gay males are a bit hostile to transwomen. All I ask is that we love and support each other, if we in the community are judgmental to each other, how is anyone else not part of our community ever going to understand us?
Inclusion for all at Vodacom
Inclusion for all is a key part of Vodacom's purpose and celebrating LGBTIQA+ people has always been a cause that is particularly close to Vodacom's heart. Read more about the initiatives Vodacom has been involved in here.