1st Baguio LGBTQ+ Workplace Inclusion Forum

by Joseph Emil Santos | September 23, 2023

Philippine & Inter-Industry Pride (PFIP) Sets the Gold Standard for LGBTQ+ Workplace Inclusion in North Luzon and Cordilleras

Baguio City, September 23, 2023 — The Philippine & Inter-Industry Pride (PFIP), in partnership with Foundever, IHG, and Teleperformance, successfully hosted a pioneering forum on LGBTQ+ Workplace Inclusion on September 22, 2023. The event, themed "ARAPAAP: A Journey Toward Inclusive Workplaces for the LGBTQ+ in North Luzon and Cordilleras," is a monumental step towards driving inclusivity across workplaces in the region.

Elevating Conversations Beyond Policies to Shared Humanity

The forum began with a riveting message from Mayor Benjie Magalong, affirming that the initiative is more than a policy matter. "It's a reflection of our shared humanity," Magalong noted. He further articulated the importance of engaging in ongoing dialogue, challenging biases, and promoting a culture of acceptance to enable every individual to bring their authentic selves to the workplace. Such dialogue is supported by research highlighting the positive impact of diversity and inclusion on business performance (Hunt, Layton, & Prince, 2015).

A Deep Dive Into Intersectionality with Dr. Jennifer Josef

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Jennifer Josef, an Associate Professor from UP Baguio. Dr. Josef’s remarks centered around the Intersectionality of being Queer in the Cordilleras. She shed light on the issues of unconscious bias and microaggressions, phenomena that have been well-documented but often overlooked (Sue et al., 2007). Her plea for Substantive Equality aims to address the root causes of inequality rather than merely treating symptoms, echoing a pivotal shift in academic discourse (Crenshaw, 1989).

Panel Discussion: Illuminating the Path Forward

A compelling panel discussion followed, moderated by Weena Ekid, Chair of PFIP. Participants represented diverse sectors, including Vincent Josue, Senior Training Manager and TP Pride Chair at Teleperformance, and Michael Pagati, Baguio Site Director at IHG. The panelists uniformly echoed the importance of education and allyship as key to inclusion. Vincent Josue made a significant point, stating, "For organizations starting to organize their own ERGs, make SOGIESC a staple discussion. Do it as often as you can."

PFIP Playbook: A Roadmap for Inclusivity

One of the most anticipated segments was the introduction of the PFIP Playbook by Jeiz Robles, Board of Trustees, PFIP. This comprehensive self-learning and training tool is based on findings from interviews with more than 70 Pride leaders. Robles emphasized, "The Playbook talks about education, training, promotion, SOGIE Education, and building a culture of inclusion." It serves as a robust reference for organizations aiming to cultivate an environment of diversity and inclusion.

Rallying Allies and Empowering Marginalized Groups

The forum also addressed the role of allyship, described as a "24/7 job," stressing the need for all allies to rally with the LGBTQ+ community. This view dovetails with current research showing the crucial role allies play in enhancing inclusion (Ji, 2020). In addition, the event touched on corporate social responsibility, with Michael Pagati urging, "We have to maximize our corporate social responsibility to support marginalized LGBTQ+ youth and elders."

A Call for Sustained Action

This watershed event wasn’t just a discussion but a clarion call for tangible action. It highlighted the progress made while reminding us of the long road ahead. The forum presented a dynamic platform for open dialogue, shared learning, and future collaboration among key stakeholders, reaffirming the PFIP’s commitment to setting new standards for workplace inclusivity in the Philippines.