On November 27, 2012 at 18:00 CET, SAP will be hosting the ‘It Gets Better‘ Public Event in Walldorf to discuss about the issue of bullying, how it is affecting our youth and what we can do to make it better.
It already feels like ages ago, but it was actually this year when our dear colleague Moya Watson approached the whole SAP LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community to produce an It Gets Better video with SAP employees. Why? Jeffrey Fehr, the son of our colleague Steve Fehr, had committed suicide after years of being bullied due to his sexual orientation. It was time to step out and support others.
I have been working as a volunteer in activities for the LGBT community since 2003. The main focus has always been Diversity and Inclusion at the Workplace. This has helped me grow in the personal level, accepting facts like:
- there is absolutely nothing wrong with being openly gay in a company.
- if your employer does not share this view, then you need to look for another place to work that actually values the whole person that you are and not just your professional skills “despite of your sexual orientation”
However, if you had asked me several months ago how my childhood and youth were, I would have said it was really good with no major issues.
It was during the preparation of the It Gets Better video when I needed to “go back in time” and think of my childhood experiences. This inner trip took me to very difficult places: I remembered all those moments being insulted at school or yelled at while walking down the street for not coming across as a macho and for preferring spending time with girls rather than playing with the other boys. I remembered how horrible it was to think that nobody would support me and things would only get worse if I openly spoke about my feelings. I remembered how terrified I was until some friends gave me the courage to come out when I was 22. And I remember very clearly this being the best step I have ever taken in my life, because it was the best step towards personal freedom and enjoying the great experiences that have come since. It definitely got better!
My coming out was not an easy process, but thanks to the support of many good friends and those family members that love me I became the person that I am now.
It was an honour for me to be able to contribute to the It Gets Better film with many other SAP employees.
Many colleagues reached out afterward to HomoSAPiens, the SAP LGBT Employee Network, asking us to bring the message further. So now, with the support of many of those colleagues, we are gladly hosting the “It Gets Better” event on November 27, 2012 in the SAP Headquarters in Walldorf.
We will have the honour to count with the participation of Luisa Delgado, Global Human Resources and Labor Relations Director, Member of the Executive Board of SAP AG and other SAP Executives like Luka Mucic (CFO Global Customer Operations) and Dr. Jan Grasshoff (Global Head of Talent, Leadership and Organizational Design).
Steve Fehr will also join us to share his personal story and discuss with representatives of organizations like BEFAH, SchLAu, PLUS, Charta der Vielfalt and LAMBDA what is being done and what you can do to help prevent and stop bullying against our youth.
Our hope is to be able to reach out to as many people as possible and improve the lives of those that might be suffering bullying at their schools, neighbourhoods, universities or even at their companies.
If you are and SAP employee and would like to join us in Walldorf, attend remotely or simply learn more about the event, you can find more information in this SAP Internal article.
If you are not an SAP employee, you can request more information and register your attendance in advanced reaching out to our colleague email@example.com.
We look forward to meeting you in Walldorf on November 27!
Business Development Manager in Healthcare Solution Management, SAP Deutschland AG & Co. KG
Member of HomoSAPiens, the LGBT Employee Network @ SAP