Every year, Christopher Street Day activities celebrate acceptance and respect for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBT*IQ) community. Christopher Street Day, or simply CSD, is the term used for gay pride celebrations in Germany. The name commemorates the famous resistance to a police raid by patrons of a gay bar in New York in 1969. For the last few years, Bosch has participated in Stuttgart’s CSD parade, thanks to the work of a committed group of employees.
Working together for more openness
One member of this network is Ram Krishnasamy, a Project Leader and Senior Consultant at Powertrain Solutions. “I am part of the transformation,” he says. For him, the participation of the Bosch employee network in CSD sends a clear signal “for open-mindedness, progress, and support.” This goes hand in hand with Bosch’s corporate culture. “Many things are in motion here, and people are open to change,” he adds. Diversity is present for him when all employees are integrated into the company without bias or value judgements. He himself is a spokesperson for the LGBT*IQ community RBg at Bosch – both inside and outside the company.
Founded in 2012, the LGBT*IQ employee network at Bosch has undergone continuous growth and has a worldwide membership. Its members work in concert from different sites and different cultures. They want to make the LGBT*IQ community more visible at the company, and take a more active stand for greater tolerance in connection with sexual orientation. The annual gay pride event participation with a float at Stuttgart's CSD is one of the highlights of their efforts. But aside from the colorful parade, they also focus on increasing mutual understanding among employees with different sexual identities. Under the motto “We are as different as everyone else”, the network uses an online forum and shared activities to promote communication and contact within Bosch. But the network also seeks contact outside the company – thanks to events organized jointly with communities at other organizations. The network serves as an organizer, promoter, ambassador, and representative.
A network that connects people
Caroline Besson works as a digital and social business consultant for Bosch in Brazil. She is also an enthusiastic member of the LGBT*IQ community at Bosch. For her, the network means one thing above all: being able to connect with colleagues worldwide. “I can feel free to be myself regardless of sexual orientation and do not have to worry that it would have an effect on my career,” she says. The solidarity within the community extends beyond borders, even though most of the members have not met in person. To Caroline Besson, the network is very important as it gives her the opportunity to share personal experiences, ideas, and knowledge with likeminded people. The higher profile of the LGBT*IQ community also has an effect on how she works. Respect for her as a person reinforces a sense of self-worth: “I feel that I am part of something bigger that will facilitate the lives of those that will come and the ones that are already here.”
Diversity means success
Members of the LGBT*IQ community receive strong support from colleagues who serve as heterosexual ambassadors for LGBT*IQ topics and concerns at the company. In concrete terms, these ambassadors help ease initial reservations and promote open attitudes toward people of different sexual orientations.
One of them is Harald Koopmann. A Bosch employee for nearly 30 years, he is currently a lean navigator in the business unit Powertrain Solutions. For Koopmann, gay pride event participation is a sign of openness and of putting the company’s values and vision into practice. “At Bosch, we embrace trust and mutual respect,” he says. He considers diversity – different views, areas of expertise, and approaches – to be extremely important. And he is convinced that diversity will ensure success in the future.