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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Major Canadian Company Joins It Gets Better

By Brandon Miller -

Oh, Canada. I love you sometimes, despite your miserable weather and your horrible television (Degrassi notwithstanding). And, you know, Stephen Harper. But, really, I love you because you promote a culture where I really do feel like an equal citizen most of the time.
I surely did not feel that way as a teenager, though, and we know that most LGBT teens don't feel that acceptance, despite the fact that the country has built gay inclusion and acceptance into its laws and practices. That is why campaigns like It Gets Better still have the potential to make an impact, even here in The Great White North. And I'm proud that one of Canada's most influential companies -- and a company with a history of gay support -- has decided to join the It Gets Better campaign.
Telus is a large communications company in Canada that has more than 35,000 employees. The company's It Gets Better video features a number of employees, including managers, a vice-president and even the Director of Marketing. There are also participants speaking in both English and French, Canada's official languages.
"You have to be strong. I know it's not easy and that it's often easier said than done," says Francis, a Telus project manager. "But I think you can do it."
The video is pretty effective in terms of content, too. Telus employees talk about internalized homophobia, emotional and physical violence and depression. The first speaker, Cameron, talks about considering suicide as a way out. Thankfully, he took a different route.
There is one woman, Tara, featured in the video and she, too, speaks from the heart. Noticeably, she is also the only non-white person who volunteered to be included. Considering the makeup of this country, that's pretty disheartening. But she more than held her own.
"This is who I am and I am not going to change for anyone," she says.
And the great thing -- the thing I love about this the most -- is that she didn't have to change or hide for her job. Telus has a corporate diversity strategy that is distinct for its support for LGBTQ employees. It has also funded an anti-homophobia program in schools. And now it is the first major Canadian company to jump on the It Gets Better train.


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