Update: In June 2018, Elsevier Pride London held its official launch.
In New York: a new chapter in a long legacy
By Alison Bert
Near the end of a recent workday in Elsevier’s Manhattan office, employees crowded into a large meeting room for the kick-off of Elsevier Pride NYC. Those who led the effort said it was fitting that New York would have a chapter because of the diversity here and the city’s legacy of LGBT rights.
“New York is where gay rights began in the United States,” said David Parsons, Publisher for Life Sciences, mentioning the Stonewall demonstrations that erupted in 1969 following a police raid of a gay bar in Greenwich Village.
The chapter became Elsevier’s latest Pride group for LGBTQ employees and their allies, following on the heals of Chennai, India, which launched its group in August, and Amsterdam, Philadelphia, and Iloilo and Manila in the Philippines, which have established chapters.
Dr. Michiel Kolman, Senior VP for Information Industry Relations at Elsevier, has been a leader in the Elsevier Pride movement since he founded the Amsterdam group in 2013. The mission he shared applies to offices around the world:
Elsevier Pride aims to transform the workplace at Elsevier to be truly inclusive, ensuring that lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people are fully visible, valued, empowered and leading the way for others. We believe in an open-minded working environment where everyone is free to express their individuality, and a culture of diversity is valued.
Last week, the newly-inaugurated New York City chapter held its kick-off event, led by Human Resources Business Partner Ted Torres, Local Application Manager Dexter Gasque and Publisher David Parsons. The goal will be to host public service events for the LGBT community and beyond; promote a safe and inclusive work environment for all RELX employees; and bring employees together through social events – and happy hours. They invited people to take on leadership roles. Scopus Product Manager Dr. Elonora Presani talked about the activities in Amsterdam’s Pride group, where she was a committee member before moving to New York.
Here’s a look at some of our other chapters – where the letter that follows LGBT varies depending on the terms employees prefer to emphasize.
In London: “Pride is important because being visible is important”
By Olaya Astudillo
On June 20, 2018, Elsevier Pride London held its official launch at London Wall, with more than 60 employees from London Wall, The Strand and Alphabeta offices attending. To open the celebration, Daniel Kershaw, Senior Data Scientist for Research Products at Elsevier and founder of Elsevier Pride London, said:
Pride is important because being visible is important. LGBT+ people are made to feel ashamed of who they are and therefore hide their true selves. By having Pride, we show people who are in the closet that it is possible to lead a happy, open life, and to have hope that things will get better for them.
The London chapter is focusing on three work streams: inclusiveness, engagement and community. “We identified social events and policy objectives that would help us reach our aspirations, and three months later, we had our first public event with a pub quiz at the Alphabeta office, and with hopefully much more to come,” Daniel said.
In Amsterdam: “from serious and educational to entertaining”
By Michiel Kolman, PhD
In Amsterdam, Elsevier Pride activities range from serious and educational to entertaining. We just had the Pride roller disco in the Amsterdam office garage, which was also a fundraiser for intersex support.
Every year during Pride Amsterdam week, we hold Elsevier Pride Bingo, with one or two drag queens as emcees – an absolute highlight for both the LGBTI and ally colleagues in Amsterdam and a significant fundraiser for Pride Amsterdam.
- We organized workshops on pre-exposure prophylaxis for AIDS (PrEP), children of same-sex parents, unconscious bias and “Can I be myself at work?”
- We signed the Declaration of Amsterdam committing ourselves to clear goals around LGBTI at the workplace.
- We secured the first gender-neutral bathroom in the Amsterdam office.
- We participated in a symposium on Bisexuality in the Workplace in Bangkok, and the historic RELX- funded, “Inclusion in the Workplace” event in Chennai, India. (See photos below)
- Next year we will focus on benchmarking so that we will be able to better track our performance in the LGBTI inclusion at the workplace.
In Philadelphia: Volunteering and taking a stand against hate
By Hayley Erickson
In Elsevier Pride Philadelphia, we work to raise awareness of LGBTQ and ally issues in the community; support and represent employees while fostering an LGBTQ-friendly atmosphere; and strengthen our regional presence in the community, representing Elsevier as a gay-friendly employer.
In the “City of Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love,” Elsevier Pride extends a warm welcome to all. We host a widespread of events throughout the year, from educational speaking engagements to parties celebrating diversity. Past events and initiatives include:
- Elsevier Pride Day
- Hackathon week for Action Wellness
- Providing a free two-year ClinicalKey subscription to the Mazoni Center
- Hosting and advising an employee resource group networking discussion for local companies, with HR reresentatives from the Independence Business Alliance and Elsevier
- Volunteering at MANNA
- Participating in the Walk Against Hate
- Holding bake sales for local LGBTQ nonprofits
Plans for 2018 range from participating in Philadelphia’s OutFest to speakers, workshops and axe-throwing. Starting off the year, we will be working more closely with our corporate partner The Independent Business Alliance (IBA) to build a Trans resource center for Elsevier employees during all stages of their transition. The hope is to alleviate some of the stress trans individuals have to face. Recourses will also help colleagues and managers give advice on being a supportive ally.
In Chennai: New group hosts LGBT workshops and films
By Divya Kaliyaperumal
Elsevier Pride Chennai was officially launched in August. It was presided over by Ganesh Venkatesan, Director of Editorial and Publishing Operations at Elsevier. He reiterated the importance and necessity of being an equal opportunity employer and also how harassment is never tolerated in Elsevier.
Earlier this year, our parent company, RELX Group, sponsored the landmark event LGBT Workplace — Expanding the Dialogue in India at the Leela Palace in Chennai. The symposium addressed the challenges faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ) community in India, and it paved the way for the Elsevier Pride Group here.
Elsevier Chennai is an inclusive workplace, and colleagues work in solidarity irrespective of their differences. However, the launch of EPC demonstrates our commitment to visibly support the inclusion of people from all walks irrespective of their genders or sexual orientation.
Our objectives are:
- To form a fully inclusive support network; primarily for LGBTQIA+ issues within the Elsevier Chennai office.
- To support any harassment or discrimination incidents (within the organization) in co-ordination with the HR team. The network and the HR team will ensure that it is dealt confidentially.
- To gain visible and meaningful sponsorship from senior leaders.
- To educate and sensitize the Elsevier Chennai work force via town hall trainings in coordination with HR.
- To support local LGBTQIA+ community events through diversity/CSR sponsorship.
- To build a solid network with peer companies – starting with the companies that were represented in the workplace symposium.
- To amend policies to make them gender neutral; remove references to he/she and him/her.
Upcoming changes include:
- Entending insurance coverage benefits to the employee’s recognized partner and the partner’s family.
- Implementing the “Embassy” model with the stated aim and ambition to move to the “Advocate” model. Read more about those workplace models here.
LGBT sensitization workshop
Our LGBT sensitization workshop was led by Chandra Moulee, a D&I consultant who specializes in LGBT+ inclusion at workplace. The 25 people who attended learn about the basic terminologies and definitions, cultural identities, current legal standing of LGBT+ in India, the importance of having an LGBT+ inclusive workplace – and dos and do nots.
For our monthly movie screening in August, we watched Pride, a historical drama about a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised money to help families affected by the British miners' strike in 1984 at the outset of what would become the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign. The alliance was unlike any seen before and was ultimately successful.
Another film we have featured is the 2017 documentary Is it too much to ask? Directed by Leena Manimekalai, the film features Living Smile Vidya and Angel Glady, who had to move out of their apartment and find a new one at the soonest. The house hunting begins, and one event leads to another. We visualized the challenges faced by these women through-thought provoking dialogue.
In the Philippines: Celebrating differences and empowering leaders
By Hermee Sorneo
Elsevier and our parent company, RELX Group, launched Pride in the Philippines in February 2016. RE Philippines (REPH) has groups in Manila and Iloilo, each with their own community leaders.
In June, Iloilo's group held a diversity week in celebration of Pride. The week included a Diversity in the Workplace workshop and an HIV/AIDS Awareness session for REPH Iloilo employees and PRIDE members.
The leadership training focused on team dynamics and leading groups — part of PRIDE's goal to ensure the sustainability of the leadership.
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