Software Developer Adheli Tavares speaks about her experiences being a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

1. How would you describe your journey to becoming a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community?

Complicated and complex. It’s a process that is always ongoing. There’s confusion and doubts until you find yourself comfortable in your own skin. Therapy was an ally in my process, to understand that all those feelings of inadequacy were uncalled for.

2. Have you found any differences between living in Ireland and the attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community (or you personally) versus living in other parts of the world?

Definitely. I think the main reason is that people here don’t really care.  Although I have been targeted a few times with some not very nice words, I do feel a lot more comfortable walking hand in hand with my partner here than back home.

3. How have you found the attitudes of others towards members of the community in the tech world (globally and in Ireland)?

I have met mostly queer women in the tech industry. Because it’s still a male dominant world, the behaviour I encountered the most was “so you like women then you are one of the guys” which is wrong.  This shows another level of sexism and the old stereotypes around how lesbians must look and act like a man. I have accepted this behaviour previously, mostly to feel included and avoid the mean comments, most of them hidden behind “jokes”.

4. Have you found Zinkworks to be an open and accepting place? How so?

Yes, Zinkworks has been super cool to work with. I think it kind of goes back to the fact people don’t really care as long as you’re a good person and good employee!  Acceptance and respect go along with mental health, which is another thing that Zinkworks has been the best place for regarding support.

5. What further support is needed for the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace and socially?

The “removal” of the necessity of coming out is my big dream. It is good that English is a friendly non-binary language, which helps a lot. I can say that it has taken out a lot of stress when referring to my partner and the questioning when someone decides to label themselves. I think it’s very personal how one describes themselves, then for another person, even someone they do not know to question every little detail is demeaning.

6. What can allies of the community do to support members in their workplace?

First of all, respect their identity (gender/sexuality) and not let it be something that will create a pre-judgement of their work abilities. Let them be heard. If you have doubts about how to talk to someone, ask their name and their pronouns.

When people are asking questions we can differentiate between when someone has a genuine question because they are curious and want to understand, from someone that is just lazy and expect us to be their personal LGBTQ+ dictionary.

At the end of the day, I have been through so much, like working with international teams (before moving to Ireland), learning the quality side of development, managing teams, and laughing with teammates when everything went right. Crying when things went to space. Stayed until late to fix something, or left earlier because it was too tiring. And you, a non-LGBTQ+ person might think “that sounds like some of the stuff I have done” and that’s because we are just like you. People.

Thank you to Adheli for sharing her experiences.

If you need support as part of the LGBTQ+ community you can visit here.

To read more blogs from Zinkworks employees visit here.