Employee story

We want to be accepted as individuals and be recognized as a group

Kean Andrew Bruhn
Human Resources Specialist

Kean Andrew Bruhn, Human Resources Specialist, Berlin, Germany, is a counselor in the fight against AIDS HIV and advocate for the gay community. The Danish native is part of the newly established GEA PROUT AT WORK initiative which gives voice and visibility to the larger LGBT*IQ community within companies and organizations.

Just being myself

I’ve known since I was quite young that I was gay. Even then it was such an integral part of my identity. So, I never tried to hide it. For me to feel accepted for who I am, people must also accept my sexuality. It is not simply a facet of myself that I can set aside for others.

Visibility is very important in the LGBT*IQ community; if we are not seen, then we are forgotten and rights that were hard-won may be taken away. The same is true when it comes to visibility for different nationalities or persons with disabilities. People need to be reminded about the diversity of people in their community to combat negative stereotypes, prejudices and racism. 

Mentor and counselor in Denmark

I was quite active in Denmark’s gay scene. As a hobby, I performed as a drag queen for a number of years, even entering a few pageants. I had an entire persona as ‘Rosa.’ I participated during Pride events, had a gay and lesbian radio program and have done everything possible for the cause of gay people. During the aftermath of the horrific HIV crisis in the 1990s, I became involved in the educational efforts both inside and outside the LGBT*IQ community. Thankfully, Denmark has nearly eliminated HIV. I am proud to have played a role in saving lives in my community. 

PROUT AT WORK

Today, I am active in PROUT AT WORK, which GEA joined in 2023. PROUT AT WORK is a German organization which embraces LGBT*IQ community members by supporting individuals, networks, companies and organizations with guidance on workplace culture and educational services. They also offer sensitivity training for employees and executives.

I joined because I believe it is not enough for people to simply accept LGBT*IQ persons as individuals. We need the LGBT*IQ community to be accepted as a group. PROUT AT WORK is good because it shows that we are here. That is very important since unfortunately, there are still enclaves in Denmark and Germany – and many other places around the world – where people are afraid to come out for fear of what their parents or others might think of them, or even worse, do to them. And it is not simply a left-right issue. LGBT*IQ people face challenges and discrimination along the entire political and faith continuum.

People need to be reminded about the diversity of people in their community to combat negative stereotypes, prejudices and racism.

We are in the process of establishing a PROUT AT WORK group at GEA so that we as LGBT*IQ people can have a network within our own company. Colleagues will be encouraged to meet face-to-face, where there are enough people at local sites, or attend online meetings as an alternative. Once established, we will consider where and how we would like to engage inside and as well as outside of GEA.

As a member of the Human Resources division, I also have the opportunity to represent GEA at job fairs and in interviews. This is important for ensuring that candidates understand that GEA is a welcoming place to work for all people. And that we truly live our values, which includes embracing and drawing strength from our differences.

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