MetLife's GLAM network committee of Richard Russell, Nita Mannering, Jack Douglas, Kathleen Jordan and Adrian Young explains how MetLife's support of LGBTQI+ staff doesn’t end after Mardi Gras.

What is the GLAM Network?

GLAM is the LGBTIQA+ focused stream of MetLife’s Diversity and Inclusion committee. It stands for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Associates and Allies at MetLife.

How is MetLife celebrating the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2021?

Normally our Mardi Gras celebrations are not very socially distanced, so this year we ran a COVID-safe event in Sydney. The event was seated café style to meet COVID-safe rules with served food and drinks. There were exciting activities for everyone to participate in which not only entertained but educated too.

What's the theme for this year's Mardi Gras?

This past year has undoubtedly been one of unprecedented challenge and hardship. The impact of droughts, fires, floods and a global pandemic tested our spirit and resolve. The theme of this year’s Mardi Gras is ‘RISE’ which aims to recognise the challenge and hardship that 2020 brought while calling for the community to rise again through love, compassion, respect and understanding. We connect. We overcome fear. We emerge from hard times stronger together.

How is GLAM active at MetLife?

GLAM is active at MetLife by celebrating significant events in the LGBTIQA+ calendar such as Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Melbourne’s Midsumma festival, IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia), Wear It Purple Day and World AIDS Day. We also strive to promote equality and create a culture of inclusivity and acceptance through projects such as implementing inclusive restroom signage.

How does MetLife encourage staff to bring their whole selves to work?

MetLife encourages all staff to bring their whole selves to work by celebrating diversity in all forms. MetLife wants you to be yourself. To be authentic and vulnerable, and free to choose what you reveal about yourself. MetLife recognises the strength in a diverse workforce and supports the advocacy of minority groups. All voices are heard at MetLife and the senior management lead by example creating a safe space for all to express their cultural and sexual identities with pride.

What other GLAM initiatives are you working on?

After Mardi Gras GLAM will focus on delivering a COVID-safe IDAHOBIT and Midsumma events in May.

By working together, we believe we can improve the effectiveness of our LGBTQI+ networks, deliver consistency across our industry for a better and more inclusive customer experience for the LGBTQI+ community.

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