On the 14th of June, Rainbow Hub’s founder Louise Kane shared her experience as an LGBTI person at a PwC’s event to encourage diversity inside the workplace.

Promoted by one of the Big Four, PwC’s LGBTI People of the Commonwealth night was a comfortable gathering between employees and guests to celebrate and support the sexual and gender diversity in the workplace, as well as sharing the experiences, stories and ideas from those who were the main focus of the event. Hosted by GLEE@PwC, we had the opportunity to hear a little from three interviewees while their facilitators conducted a pleasant talk about their life, experiences and incidents that were important to their queer lives.

Divided into three groups, the visitors circled through the room after every ten minutes and the chats restarted. We as Rainbow Hub Warriors opted to support our friend and founder first. Louise talked about her experience as a flight attendant and how after years she was in need of a gayer environment where she could be herself; that lead her to Sydney at which she met her partner and then moved to Brisbane. Now as Director of Studies from Navitas English, Louise divides her time between not just family and work, but also helping international LGBTI students with her initiative: the Brisbane Rainbow Hub. The purpose of the group is not only providing a safe space where queers from all around the world here in Brissy can be themselves – like the one Louise found in Sydney and here – but also helping them making friends and aiding those in need of support. I personally have been through an experience recently when I felt like I couldn’t talk to friends and had no base to deal with and Louise was my first option to look for support and I was overwhelmed to know that I had not only an open door to talk about something that got me worried, but also a friend willing to reach out and offer help. This is just one example of the situations when a group like Rainbow Hub can be helpful to someone like me: a person new to a foreign country with few friends, and that was what we as a group emphasized during the event.

After Louise, we had a chat with Lydia from Kenya with a beautiful sight of the Story Bridge from the window behind. She and the facilitator went through how the religious background and upbringing in Kenya influenced her thoughts about the LGBTI community – especially when later on a friend came out to her as gay – and how she subdued those thoughts. The third interviewee in our cycle was Dexter from Singapore. He talked about finding his queer place and pride in Australia after moving and his difficulties in coming out to a conservative family, how it was to be at a high position in such a company as PwC and his opinions on whether LGBTI people still face a glass ceiling inside the workplace.

All three chats done, GLEE@PwC opened the event to a more informal networking session. We got the chance to talk directly to Lydia and Dexter as well as a lot of other employees from PwC and guests, which was excellent not only for our English practice (after all, we still are English students) but also to understand more about the queer life and community here and how it all comes together in a working context. Furthermore, with our BBQueer about to happen in the next weekend, we also invited them to come along and have a good time with us at the New Farm Park.

In the end, PwC’s LGBTI People of the Commonwealth was more than an event to put forward the sexual and gender diversity: it was an opportunity to meet people who support the community, have fun and put the Rainbow Hub’s word out.

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