Vikki does it all, super mum, project coordination, businesswoman and more. When Vikki’s not at work or taking care of her 3- and 5-year-old sons with Autism, she’s helping her community stay mentally and physically active with dance fitness classes.
Vikki is also a dedicated ally to the LGBTQI+ community, just maybe not in all the ways you’d expect. We caught up last month to chat about Vikki’s experience as an ally, why she identifies this way and what it means to her.
On being an ally
Vikki is an ally because she treats people the way she’d like to be treated. Simple, right? But as with anything to do with language, society, and identification, it’s never black and white.
It might (or might not…) surprise you to know that Vikki doesn’t like the term ‘ally’, in her own words:
“… The word ally itself, while I know it’s a common word used by the community and externally to indicate advocacy and support, I also think is something that’s been put out into the world as a palatable way for people who are insecure or uncomfortable [supporting the LGBTQI+ community] but maybe do want to help out…
I don’t like the word too much myself, I’m just a friend really.
I don’t like the whole us and them mentality. So, if I said, ‘I’m an ally’, it’s like I’m not really in the circle, when [really] it’s just [me supporting] my friends and family.…
It’s a word that’s come out into the cultural lexicon, I suppose to ease people who may be uncomfortable or may not know how to support [the LGBTQI+ community].”
The campaigns for ‘tolerance’ around the Y2K era came to mind. Recall the 90s and naughties when Australian kids (like me at that time) were all being taught to ‘tolerate’ differences in other people… Back then it mainly pertained to people from different cultural backgrounds. These days, however, ‘practising tolerance’ towards someone just for being different to you doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like it used to, instead, it highlights the broader question as to why these differences bothered people so much to begin with.
On supporting the LGBTQI+ community
Aside from simply treating people the way she’d like to be treated, Vikki also supports her friend Vanessa’s resin art business Handmade Pride. Vanessa’s stunning collections include clothing, accessories, framed art, and beautiful clock artworks (pictured).
The mesmerising resin art clock Vikki brought to show me during our catch-up is based on the intersex flag colours, but Vanessa’s collection includes all the pride colour combinations and more.
It was clear from our chat that Vikki has a strong emotional connection to the intersex piece:
“What she [Vanessa] said to me in the past is that it’s an expression of her creativity and that’s how she can share herself through her art. That’s how she communicates with the world.”
Catch Handmade Pride at the PrideFEST Fair Day this Sunday 12 Nov from 10 am – 6 pm at Hyde Park.
On Helping Solutions
Vikki’s glad she works for an organisation where employees don’t judge each other based on sexual preferences or gender orientation. Helping Solutions has anti-discrimination and equal opportunities policies, and actively promotes the values of diversity and equality. Additionally, Helping Solutions is working towards developing a Diversity Statement and partnering with relevant LGBTQI+ organisations to better deliver services to LGBTQI+ people living with disabilities.
As with any workplace, there’s always room for improvement but Vikki wants people to know that it is okay to make mistakes, like when re-learning how to better use pronouns for example:
“… People slip up, it happens… …. You sort of just correct yourself, if you can catch yourself doing it and then just keep moving along with the conversation… that’s it.…
I know that I haven’t always got it right myself with pronouns… And like you [always] feel a little bit silly [when you get them wrong], but you just kind of correct yourself and move right on.”
Solid advice from Vikki Giles, super mum, Project Coordinator, and all-around good egg. If you loved this blog as much as I loved writing it, share it with your network Stay tuned for more short stories from our fruity teammates.
Up next… Our Recruitment Adviser Chris Salter and his floral Lego arrangement!