TELUS International Philippines encourages us to wear our true colors even beyond the month of June
One of the primary means for self-expression is fashion. After all, your clothes can be the first thing people notice about you. It shows your personality, preferences and how you carry yourself through life. While it’s not the defining factor of your being, many people use fashion to send out different messages. For example, style can become a form of protest, a means to show off art or wear one’s culture proudly. TELUS International Philippines acknowledges fashion’s role in self-expression, specifically in living out one’s truth. So for Pride Month, they teamed up with the SoFA Design Institute to emphasize the importance of communication and self-expression through clothing.
Fashion For Self-Expression
We constantly find it challenging to stand out in a world that forces you to fit into a box, or into a mold created by a select few. Through the Design Your Own Pride Jacket activity, TELUS and SoFA enabled the LGBTQIA+ Community to celebrate their authentic selves and tell their stories through clothing. In attendance was Warren Tait, Global Vice President of Brand, Marketing, Culture and Facilities at TELUS International. He shares, “This year, one of the ways we wanted to share our fun and diverse culture is through a highly engaging event that’s focused on expressing oneself through fashion and finding pride in one’s style.”
Fashion designer and SoFA Design Instructor Fred Telarma led the session, teaching attendees the basics of sewing and design. He shares, “Pride Month, to me, is about expressing and celebrating your authentic self in any way you want. And I believe that fashion can be a powerful tool for self-expression. Fashion is performance art, which allows us to produce clothing that speaks and walks with a message—conveying a story at every turn.” Then, he posed the challenge to the media in attendance to tell their SOGIE story through the jacket. Instead of the usual pens, paper, words and docs, we wielded needles, threads, and ribbons to tell our personal stories.
Empowerment Beyond the Office
Every Pride Month, many of us continue to spot true allies. After all, showing support can be seen as performative, especially when companies stop championing the LGBTQIA+ community when June ends. But TELUS International Philippines recognizes that Pride is more than a month-long celebration. The company’s own LGBTQIA+ resource group, Spectrum PH, aids the company in creating a work environment that’s safe for all that highlights diversity, inclusion and belonging.
Since 2014, Spectrum Philippines has continued to forward conversations and facilitate an exchange of ideas for a safe and comfortable workplace for members of the LGBTIQA+ Community. For example, the group pushed for the inclusion of HMO coverage for same-sex partners. Spectrum PH also rallied to establish gender-neutral, self-identified male and female restrooms on all sites, championing each individual’s preferred name and pronouns and crafting non-binary clothing policies.
Beyond all the glitz, glamour and fun of Pride Month events, TIP and Spectrum PH also aim to uplift the community all year. The group, in collaboration with TELUS International Philippines, also holds informative sessions focusing on SOGIE, HIV awareness and the lived experiences of the LGBTQIA+ members in the Philippines. One of their initiatives for Pride Month 2021 involved a learning seminar on allyship led by Janlee Dungca.
Shey Cruz, TELUS International Philippines team member and Spectrum co-chair shares, “TIP and Spectrum have always strived to encourage members of the LGBTQIA+ community to feel confident in themselves.” But beyond the environment, the company and the resource group acknowledge the holistic approach to empowering their employees. Cruz adds, “ We also support them by providing a multitude of opportunities for expressing their true selves and pursuing their passions, including our year-long diversity and inclusion programs.”
Safe to say, TELUS International Philippines continue to work to cultivate a healthy working environment for all its employees. They’re setting examples not only through words but also through practice.
Photos TELUS International Philippines
Art Pis Trinidad