According to Prof. Flegr from Charles University, 6–10 % of Czech adults are non-heterosexual. This section of society continues to face prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Coming out is a long and complicated process and LGBT+ people consider in what spaces and to what degree to be open. The workplace is one of the most delicate and high-stakes places in which LGBT+ people come out – studies show that LGBT+ employees are afraid of their colleagues’ reactions and the deterioration of the working environment.
In this session we will discuss so-called minority stress, why coming out is a difficult process and how can we help LGBT+ people to be themselves, for example through the activities of LGBT+ employee resource groups.
When: February 1, 2022, 4–5 PM on ZOOM
Speakers: Michal Pitoňák, Irena Smetáčková, Václav Horecký, Kook Law
I work at the boundary of several disciplines that lock together via my intersecting research interests in understanding the workings of societal heteronormativity and its effects on geographies of sexualities, quality of life in non-heterosexuals, spatiotemporal negotiation of non-heterosexual identities and specifically the effects of heteronormative stigma and/or minority stress on mental health in non-heterosexuals and gender-nonconforming people.
My background in human geography drives my motivations to study various links between the structural-individual scales and penetrate the barriers between diverse disciplinary thought. I also have a background in queer and feminist theories. I work at the National Institute of Mental Health (Klecany, Czechia), where my research focuses on minority stress and its effects on Czech non-heterosexual populations. I also work as an independent scholar in the field of geographies of sexualities and as a chair of a Prague based NGO Queer Geography that focuses on the popularization of evidence-based science, and functions as a knowledge base to support of non-heterosexuals’s and gender-nonconforming people’s rights and liberties in Czechia, Slovakia and beyond. My activities also include work in HIV/AIDS destigmatization and related policymaking.
She graduated in psychology, pedagogy and sociology and worked as a psychologist in a pedagogical-psychological counseling center. She focuses on two areas – schools, teacher stress and communication in teaching and the development of gender identity and sexual orientation in children and adolescents.
Five years ago, she participated in the creation of the online counseling center Sbarvouven.cz, where she still works as a professional guarantor. LGBT+ coming out topics are therefore encountered on a daily basis. Irena believes that by accepting and accepting LGBT+ people, we all gain. This can be a difficult time for families – but it's also a chance for parent-child relationships to become better.
Václav Horecký is a language training specialist at ŠKODA AUTO. Together with his colleagues, he helps provide ŠKODA AUTO employees with instruction in language courses. For many years he taught English in the private sector and ran a branch of the language school in Mladá Boleslav. In his spare time, he mainly focuses on personal development and emotional intelligence. During the discussion, he will describe his role in the Sbarvouven.cz project, where he works as a mentor. He draws his experience in the counseling center from his personal and ecclesiastical past, where he worked as a clergyman. The Sbarvouven.cz project helps LGBT+ people to overcome the difficult period of their lives, when they have no support in their surroundings and can solve, for example, the topic of coming-out, bullying, self-acceptance and more.
Kook joined SAP in 2017 as an intern and quickly transitioned into a role as an Employee Experience Specialist, his work revolves around the biggest advantage and strength of a company, the people. His mission is to help the organization create the workspace that employees want and a culture where they can be part of and thrive, focusing on diversity & inclusion as a backbone for everything he does.
He is also part of the leadership team of Pride at SAP in the Czech Republic, an employee resource group that provides a safe space for the LGBT+ community and a platform for engagement, while ensuring that everyone feels welcomed and empowered, regardless of gender, orientation, race, culture, age, or abilities.
Kook is originally from Panama and currently lives in Prague. He loves gardening and has a passion for cooking.
Start time: 16:00 CEST
End time: 17:00 CEST