Our Youth Today: Lessons about LGBT acceptance


Evelina Silveira, President Diversity At Work

 P. is not your average 12 year old.  She has the depth and intellect of someone way past her years.  She’s kind of quirky, and never dull.  I have known P. for a good part of her childhood and have become somewhat of an important adult figure in her life.  I have heard about her struggles with self-mutilation, on-line forays into places she probably shouldn’t go and more.  Needless to say, I have grown to care about P. and she knows that she has a friend in me and can ask me for advice.

 P.’s friends at school became worried when she told them about cutting herself and wanting to kill herself.  Instead of dismissing it, they spoke to a teacher to get her some help.  She is doing much better, now.  Some of her classmates joke around with her because of how she dresses or the ways she acts, but it doesn’t seem to bother her too much.  She remains the individual that she is.

 A few months ago, P. shocked her classmates when she posted a message on Facebook declaring that she thought she was bisexual.  I panicked.  What would happen to her at school?  Was this really the best forum to do this in?  In some bizarre way it was.

 Although she did receive some hateful messages from strangers telling her that “she would rot in hell” and similar sentiments, they didn’t seem to bother her too much.  Her classmates really surprised us all.  A flurry of comments came in with messages like:  “love yourself”, “we still love you no matter what”,   “you’re still the same P. to me” and “be yourself”.  I have to say, I wouldn’t have expected this kind of acceptance from a group of 12 and 13 year olds!  In fact, it is rather contradictory to the negative messages we hear about teenagers lately who bully and harass their fellow students to the point of suicide.

 I share this story as a glimmer of hope.  The media can pick up on the most horrific stories of youth discrimination, harassment, bullying and sexual assault.   This story is not newsworthy for them but it is for me.  Teenagers are depicted in the media in the most negative ways.  As parents it is so easy for us to fear the worst,  that there is no hope for this group.  However, we must remember we rarely hear the stories like the one that I just told.

 There is hope for our youth. We can learn from these young students about acceptance and supporting one another.  With their help and others like them, maybe we can finally put an end to all of the needless suicides – the loss of precious young LGBT lives around the world.

Low-Cost and No Cost Tips for Workplace Inclusion


Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity At Work

So you have taken a look at your budget and your boss says there is no money for diversity and inclusion activities this year.  What do you do?  You started something great where you work and now – BANG!  You fear that you could lose the momentum you started.

There is no reason to let your budget constraints keep you from creating an inclusive workplace.  Here are a couple of easy low-cost and no cost actions you can take that do make a difference:

 Make use of your existing resources.

 Do you have a company newsletter, intranet or know how to put a podcast together?  Capitalize on these avenues for delivering diversity information and education as well as use them as a forum for recognizing your diversity champions.  The intranet can be a great place to pose diversity related problems and ask employees for feedback.  Consider posting recent articles and eZines like the Inclusion Quarterly or links to websites like Diversity!in the workplace.   It’s cheap and you can keep employees up to date in a simple and efficient way.  Make use of these vehicles for communication.

 Learn a foreign language for free.

Don’t let time or money get in the way of learning a new language.  Do a quick internet search, and you will find that indeed you can learn a language for free.  Or if you prefer, some public libraries subscribe to language courses for their patrons and this means you can access them at no cost.  I know that my local library has access to Mango Languages.  Check it out.  No excuses!

 Make your print materials easier to read.

 Just by increasing the size and simplifying the font you use can make a big difference in how people with low vision  can read your material.  Remembering to keep backgrounds light or white and use black font for best results.  This is simple and low-cost and makes  a huge difference.

 Save costs on advertising and pre-screening candidates.

 Have you checked out the non-profit agencies that help people with barriers to gain employment?

By circulating your ads to non-profit agencies, you stand a better chance of meeting your employment equity requirements by widening the pool of applicants.  You can save on advertising costs by giving the organization some criteria for pre-screening candidates.  This should save you time and ultimately money.

There are so many more ways to make diversity and inclusion a reality without breaking the bank.

For more ideas check out our eBook, Diversity and Inclusion on a Budget at http://yourdiversityatwork.com/ebook/.

  • Thank you for the recognition

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Get started with Workplace Inclusion Today!


  • Find us on Facebook

  • Get started today with diversity and workplace inclusion

  • Follow me on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: