The Philippines is still lacking in laws that protect LGBTQ+ rights and equality. The SOGIE Equality Bill, for example, is still in limbo and will be refiled in the next Congress.
Fortunately, there are places that do uphold policies to give members of the LGBTQ+ equal opportunity and a safe space to express themselves. One company that’s doing this is TELUS International Philippines via Spectrum, a resource group that address the concerns of employees in the LGBTQ+ community.
Last year, the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce surveyed 100 companies and found only 17 percent of them have policies against discrimination based on SOGIE. It’s important to note that these are BPO/BPS companies and foreign-headquartered organizations. The study also found there are no PH-based companies with these policies because it’s believed SOGIE rights aren’t urgent.
We spoke to Ronnel Orial, co-chair of Spectrum Philippines, on how they empower and welcome the LGBTQ+ community in their company, and the advocacies they have to ensure that. Here’s what you need to know:
What is the importance of having a specific resource group to address LGBT matters in the workplace?
We espouse a people-first culture and promote inclusiveness and diversity, and we want to be true to our commitment. With Spectrum Philippines, we have a dedicated group that focuses on the needs of our team members and provides the company valuable insights to build an LGBTQIA+-friendly workplace. It’s become a wonderful bridge that connects different departments in the company, like HR and Facilities, with the various needs our diverse pool of team members might need. Through the group, we continue to foster inclusion and we have a better appreciation of the differences in perspective, opinion, and background within our team.
Aside from connecting the LGBTQIA+ community within our company leadership team and departments of the organization, Spectrum Philippines helped create a more accepting and caring company culture. Our team members know that if they have any questions relating to the LGBTQIA+ community, they can approach any of our members. The activities and programs initiated by Spectrum Philippines brought team members from different backgrounds together, and we are proud that half of the members of Spectrum Philippines are allies—meaning they identify as cisgender (or straight), but are empathetic to the cause of the LGBTQIA+ community.