This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. Learn more

Navigating the Industry: Advice for Closeted LGBTQ+ Professionals Starting Their Careers

Gabriel Fallas is a part of Rainbow Alliance for LatAm and a Co-Lead at MSD. He spoke to myGwork about his coming out story, and why he would be unable to develop in a professional environment that did not allow for diversity and inclusion. He also shared advice for allies who want to do more to support their LGBTQ+ colleagues.

Can you share your experience coming out?

The first time I experienced a coming out was a good experience as I talked with my best friend, and he showed me his support and company in everything. My experience at work was not that good. After I shared a coming out, I experienced a lot of rejection and humiliation by my coworkers and leaders. The company was not prepared for this environment or how to handle it.

How does your organization support and empower its LGBTQ+ employees?

MSD supports the EBRGs and maintains a hard structure of DE&i in order to ensure the creation of a safe and diverse environment that welcomes and celebrates diversity, allowing every colleague to develop themselves as professionals.

Do you feel that by coming out, you can encourage others to come out?

One important aspect of society is representation. When you are able to recognize individuals that think, look or act like you, you can feel related to them and somehow get inspiration about their steps. The coming out creates representation and safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community.

It has been proven that being out at work increases productivity. What other advantages do you see in coming out in the workplace?

When we allow spaces where diversity and inclusion are promoted, we are open to different perspectives and mentalities, which challenge both the business and the human being behind it. By being able to appreciate the differences, we are also able to highlight the virtues and qualities that allow us to divide tasks and work methods, which amplify effectiveness and continuous improvement.

In your opinion, how can an organization and its clients benefit from a diverse workforce?

The human interrelation that openness to diversity promotes allows connections, work and communication to be a clear and concise line. Human interrelationships are what determine spaces of success.

What advice would you give the younger generations of LGBTQ+ people looking to get started in the industry?

The first piece of advice is to always seek to promote diversity and inclusion with charity. Not all people are informed or educated about these issues.

The next piece of advice is to always advocate for partiality and equity. When we are ambassadors of diversity, it must be in every sense. 

And the most important thing is to always be authentic and transparent. OUR essence must continue to grow, along with our professional being.

More and more organizations want their employees to bring their whole selves to work. Would you consider working for an organization where you cannot be your authentic self?

My previous jobs were spaces where there was still a lot to know and work on issues of diversity and inclusion. Personally, I would not be able to develop as a professional in a space where I cannot be authentic and express myself as I am. However, if the company is open to change and creating inclusive spaces, it seems like an excellent challenge to take on to continue working on creating inclusive spaces for everyone.

Growing up, who was your LGBTQ+ role model?

Growing up in a small town and in a traditional religious family, I didn't have a role model to draw inspiration from. I always sought to be true to myself, with the best values that were instilled in me at home.

Do you have an LGBTQ+ corporate role model in the workplace?

I am currently very inspired by the trans colleagues I have shopped with and learned from. Their resilience and positivity in the face of adversity and their hard work in creating diverse and inclusive spaces.

Do you have an LGBTQ+ ally role model?

All the people who unconditionally support diversity and make sure to feel welcome to anyone who may be “different” inspires me to continue fighting and working hard for the community, being part of it, as well as them, who decided to join together in good willpower.

Do you think there an enough LGBTQ+ people at C-level in the workplace? How do you see this evolving in the future?

I think our company is quite open and there is bias and diversity at all levels, depending on their experience and capabilities. For the future, I believe and hope that there is a constant evolution in the world of work in the theme of inclusion, which day by day creates spaces and opportunities where, being safe and inclusive, they allow us to grow as professionals without distinction.

Do you check the Diversity and Inclusion policies of an organisation and same-sex partner benefits before considering working for an organisation?

As a person, I find it very valuable that companies are clear with their benefits and inclusion policies, to ensure that not only the position and opportunity is attractive, but the workspace is safe.

How do you think allies can support their colleagues coming out?

The best way to create safe spaces to support those who wish to make their coming out is to always be attentive to learning and asking, to be interested in the human being who is sharing their story. Listening and company are great tools for true inclusion. Reach out to any individuals or couples who you know have come out. Acknowledge their experience, and celebrate their perspective.

Pay attention. Ask questions. Learn from their experiences. Listen with an open mind and heart. As an ally, it is important to constantly educate yourself and ensure that you’re well-informed about the LGBTQIA+ community. You may not understand or even accept the information at first, but promise them — and yourself — that you will work every day to learn more about who they are and how to support their community.

Share this

myGwork is best used with the app