Love Without Borders: an open letter

Ben Steyn
15.06.21
2 minute read

Hey, I'm Ben, and I lead the Compliance team at Wise.

As a proud gay man, I'm fortunate to stand on the shoulders of so many queer people that have come before me. Living in London, I enjoy equal rights in so many aspects of life that as a young boy I could never have imagined possible.

At times, this privilege makes me forget what it was like growing up trying to fit in, rather than being true to myself. But society won’t let us forget this feeling yet.

Whether it’s small talk after a long meeting or a round of drinks, many queer people continuously face that dilemma every time they meet new people at work — fit in or be ourselves? We face challenges and inequalities across the spectrum when it comes to basic human rights, with some of our Wisers and customers in locations where they can face imprisonment, or even death, just for being their authentic LGBTQ+ self.

As a team, it’s our responsibility at Wise to provide a safe and relaxed space where being who we are is celebrated, and people have the confidence to be themselves.

We’re 2,400 people from over 90 nationalities, working together to build money without borders. We know the world is better borderless, and we embrace each other without judgement, so we create the space to reflect this.

But we still have so much further to go, and it’s often not easy. We realise that the acceptance of diversity cannot be taken for granted. To truly drive change, we need to understand all the diversity the world has to offer. We need to be proactive in creating safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ people – this is truly essential to our mission, not a nice-to-have initiative.

So this year, among other programmes, we’ve created resources for employees transitioning at Wise, as well as guidelines for working with trans and non-binary customers. We’ve also made it standard practice to list ‘Pronoun/s’ and ‘Name I go by’ on identifying platforms like email and Slack.

It's our employees who've been taking the lead. For example, our LGBTQ+ community organises pride celebrations with support from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team and allies.

This year, we’ll have to take a more virtual approach to celebrations — but that won’t slow us down. Instead, we’re expanding Pride month into Pride summer, and will host activities throughout the next three months.

Marching at Budapest Pride in 2019.

We’ll be:

  • Marching our hearts out in London and where possible in other locations across the world
  • Holding focus groups with our LGBTQ+ community to understand their experience and wellbeing at Wise. We'll take action on their feedback to make sure that all Wisers feel safe and supported here
  • Hosting educational talks on the history and importance of Pride
  • Training our teams on active allyship and inclusivity
  • Looking to build long-term relationships with local LGBTQ+ community groups.

In the spirit of transparency, we’ll keep sharing our progress towards becoming a truly diverse team with you as well. Make sure to keep an eye on @wisecareers on Instagram, where we’ll be sharing LGBTQ+ Wiser stories and experiences throughout the summer.

Onwards
Ben

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