Today marks ‘Wear it Purple Day’ – a global movement of love and support for rainbow youth.
This year we raised money for community awareness programs through a fun painting activity – with a lot of purple paint - but for Medibank, it’s more than just a day - it goes to our purpose of ‘Better Health for Better Lives’ and ensuring this extends to all Australians, including teenagers struggling with their gender identity.
Being a teenager is hard. Exploring, understanding and coming to terms with your sexuality and gender identity – while being bullied and harassed – can make these years so much tougher, complicated and isolating. Knowing rainbow youth are 61% more likely to experience verbal abuse and five times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers are statistics that are alarming and heartbreaking.
As a proud ally of the LGBTIQ community and member of Medibank’s Passion + Pride network, I take a huge interest in how we can address the unique health needs of rainbow youth.
We all have a responsibility to foster a safe and supportive work environment, one which enables all Medibank employees to be their best and authentic self every day. This means standing up against bullying and harassment and calling out prejudice when you see it.
In the past few years, Medibank has reviewed its policies and procedures to be LGBTIQ inclusive, including same-sex parental leave and updating the dress code, offering counselling services for employees dealing with marriage equality issues and organising activities such as participation in the Mardi Gras parade – all of which have helped better connect our LGBTIQ employee, customer and community networks.
In the year ahead, we’ll continue to channel our efforts towards improving LGBTIQ inclusive services within the health and wellbeing sector. For example, Medibank’s contact centre employees are now given diversity and inclusion sensitivity training, which includes a section on LGBTIQ awareness, aimed at improving the experiences of LGBTIQ customers and employees.
While Medibank loudly supports ‘Wear it Purple Day’ each year, we’re working to create a safe and inclusive environment for our employees everyday – and that is why I am proud to work here.