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Camila Costa: 'Job performance has nothing to do with being straight or not'

The Brazil-based translator explains why she is a straight ally and campaigner for workplace equality

Camila Costa: 'Job performance has nothing to do with being straight or not'
Camila Costa
Camila Costa

My name is Camila Costa. I am 27 and work as a freelance English and Spanish translator in São Paulo, Brazil.

As a straight woman, I am a proud ally in the movement for LGBT rights. I’ve always been a supporter of diversity and believe it is the world’s driving force. I have many friends who are gay, and I love them for who they are, no matter what.

Since when I was a teenager, I did what I could do to make the world a better place for my LGBT friends.

When I was 16 and at high school, I created a presentation with my friends about what LGBT stands for. We explained why it was so important to create laws that could provide equal rights for them. A gay friend bravely provided a testimonial about his difficult times at school, in his home, and during life.

I also talked to relatives and friends, asking them to understand that LGBT life is not a phase, or just about sexuality; it has to do with love.

When I was ready to enter the job world, I did research on companies that have a LGBT-friendly work environment. That was my priority. There were a few in Brazil, mostly multinational companies.

But I wanted to do more.

I’ve read that the business world can be a cruel environment for gay people, forcing them to remain in the closet, especially if one has a leadership position.

In May 2014, I had an idea. I started writing a novel titled The Missing Part. The main character is Andrew Stansfield, an upper-class British man who works in a dynamic way as a Sustainability Director in a bank.

Due to the traditional environment, Andrew has never came out, even while secretly dating another man for years. When he is appointed CEO by the Board, his colleagues start gossiping and ask why he is not married. Under pressure by the Board, Andrew decides to marry a very close female friend, choosing to keep up appearances over his personal happiness. Eventually, this deception is revealed.

My novel will examine the struggle to come out in the business environment, and why remaining in the closet leads to suffering and bad workplace decisions. I hope The Missing Part will help change people’s minds about LGBT workplace equality.

Job performance has nothing to do with being straight or not; everyone deserves to be treated with respect. As Lord Browne pointed out in his book, The Glass Closet, I want to show that when someone is comfortable in one’s own skin, it reflects in the work quality and employee satisfaction as a whole.

Turning your company into a place that respects diversity is a win-win move.

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