Wear it Purple Day 2022 Still Me, Still Human
This year's Wear it Purple Day was marked with a series of events led by our internal Pride Network Working Group. A number of them have generously shared their thoughts and lived experience around this year’s theme Still Me, Still Human.
Min Billing, Wellbeing Coordinator, People team (They/Them)
Even after a life of having to hide and edit who I am to fit in, the hardest thing for me to do has been to allow myself to be me. Being queer meant being in danger, meant that there was something ‘other’ about me that made me different to everyone else. Living my life now as a proud non-binary person means not only fighting to have others see me as human, but also fighting myself and the way that I had allowed others to make me feel. Remember to take care of and accept yourself above all else, and only let people into your life who are going to do the same.
Being non-binary for me means not being a part of the gender binary at all. So much of our lives is ruled by gender, and to not feel like I fit the idea of gender means I lose a lot of that part of life and society that others find so important.
It means that people who aren’t comfortable with someone being outside of that dichotomy are going to try and box me into it to make their lives and perception easier. It means dealing with a fundamental disrespect of who I am and the choices I’ve made to appease the culture I live in. Gender is a social construct, but it’s still real and important to a lot of people. I just don’t identify with it the way the people around me do. That doesn’t mean I’m not human, or even that I’m particularly different. In the end, I’m me, not the gender I was raised to fit into.
Ben Ooi, Actuarial Director and Chief Actuary, Finance team (He/Him)
Male, gay, Asian, actuary, partnered/married for 22 years, with one very old dog, probably have a few too many kilos, needs more sleep. Who cares! Labels, stats, numbers, descriptors, these are all just words, which is unusual coming from actuary who is all about numbers.
It does not define me, and it’s not what I’m about. These words have no power, instead, I believe in humans and their unlimited potential. Everyday, when I‘m by myself in the shower, I let the water strip all the BS away, and remember and re-focus, it’s still just me, a simple human being, made of star-stuff, trying understand the universe and make a difference.
These words have no power, instead, I believe in humans and their unlimited potential.
Metz Ronan, Innovation Manager, Health Services (She/Her)
Growing up with the only representation I could see of people like me were villains and no positive role models, I grew up quietly thinking there was something wrong with me, that I was somehow lesser for the crime of being me. I wish my younger self knew what I know now, as it took a lot to work through and be comfortable in my own skin. To feel safer about being myself. And that's a lot of life to have missed out on while being too busy hiding facets of my identity to protect my career, my safety, and my self.
I am an Innovation Manager in Health Services. I am a wife of four years with a woman I've been with for over a decade. I am a former musician. I am a gay woman. I am a daughter from three generations of single mothers via differing circumstances. I am not functional before a morning coffee. I am a dreamer. I am terrible at dancing. I am a neurodivergent person. I love making people laugh and should have pursued a career in stand-up comedy. I am an advocate. I am a home-owner with a questionable number of cats, too much Lego and nowhere near enough shelving.
That I am an openly gay woman isn't an all-encompassing part of my identity, but merely a facet of the Greater Metz. I am still me, still human, still here trying to make the world a better place for everyone, not just the LGBTQ+ community that I am a part of.
I wish my younger self knew what I know now, as it took a lot to work through and be comfortable in my own skin. To feel safer about being myself.
Emily Arthur, Mental Health Specialist, People team (She/Her)
Still me, still human. I’m at the centre of my universe, and anything is possible. I am Em, a Mental Health and Wellbeing specialist, a sister, a friend, an advocate for social justice, a netball player, and a Selling Sunset fan (anyone else?!). Today I share my thoughts on the theme, Still Me, Still Human as an LGBTQ+ ally. What does this theme mean to me? It means open and inclusive environments where LGBTQ+ people feel comfortable to be themselves, their true selves, without fear of judgement. It means our LGBTQ+ people can celebrate what makes them human without fear of discrimination. It means we acknowledge the ongoing barriers, stigma, and abuse the LGBTQ+ community can face and recognise we need to do more!
LGBTQ+ people are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety. We know that being LGBTQ+ isn’t what is causing mental illness; it is the treatment that comes from stigma, bullying, abuse, and discrimination that can. This year for Wear it Purple Day, I will be rocking some purple attire, raising awareness, and ensuring I strive to make our workplace a supportive and safe environment for everyone. Everyone deserves to be at the centre of their universe, where anything is possible!