Wear It Purple Day – Our Project Engineer Tony, Shares His Personal Experience - Alchemy Construct
26 Aug 2021

News & Press — Wear It Purple Day – Our Project Engineer Tony, Shares His Personal Experience

August 27th 2021 officially marks Wear It Purple Day. Wear It Purple strives to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for young LGBTIQA+ people.

This year’s theme is focused on the important and necessary conversations that we have in our daily life which centre around sexual orientation and gender identity. It aims to remind us that the issues we reflect on during Wear it Purple should also be considered each and every day. 

Our Project Engineer, Tony, recounts his early experiences within the Construction industry as a young member of the LGBTIQA+ Community. It is an important reminder to all of us that our words and actions can be so powerful – let’s strive to use them for good. 

My Name is Tony (A.K.A The Monarch of the South), and I would like to share with you what “Wear it Purple Day” means to me.

My Journey through life has been one of privilege when it comes to my status as a member of the LGBTIQA+ Community. Growing up in the country meant that people, more times than not, simply took you for what you were – either a good person, or not. This meant that much of the time I had visible support and I was accepted for who I was, the person I was born as, and the choices I made to be out, proud of my being and to shine for my community across all sectors.

My move to attend University in Melbourne brought me away from the reasonable comfort of my life in the Valley and put me into a world, and an Industry, that I was not all together ready for. I started out as a Cadet with a Tier 2 builder (almost 10 years ago now). I was the youngest, the only gay team member, and (on face value) the only person that thought I was ‘normal’. Many of my team mates, and a lot of the management team, frowned upon the gay Community and the all too common phrases of hatred slipped into casual conversations in the office, in the car and onsite. The reality was – I was not alone, I was certain there must be other people out there that felt the way I did, that were ignored and (in some cases unintentionally) discriminated against every day – over and over at work.

It led to many years of loneliness and an inability to be part of the community that I worked in. I thought that by not acknowledging who I was I would find peace and prosper in the Construction industry. In some instances, I was even given this advice by senior members of the industry.

I met my first partner during this employment – and his work was different. The Agency he created was so open, accepting, friendly and most important of all – they called out hate, they called out discrimination, they actively advertised how to better represent and show respect for people just like me. It was something I had not seen so eloquently done before in the public environment of the Construction industry.

The impact this had on my work-life ongoing was drastic. I began to call out the language I heard at work – at first with a forgiving attitude, allowing a balance of change and backlash. Through the subtle art of announcing my position – people became more alert, more aware and more in tune with what would make others feel uncomfortable in the office, in the car and onsite. The change it brought on allowed me, in my last year with the business, to host a morning tea for “Wear it Purple Day” to teach the team about the journey I had been on.

Nine of the people that attended that morning tea with me, who listened to my speech – cried. I even had one of the more ‘”blokey” Managers feel so shattered I later received a letter expressing his apology.

Sometimes it is not about what you stand for, it is how that stance affects those around you – when you have never intended to hurt or discriminate actively. Poor choice of language can cause real harm.

For me, Wear it Purple Day was the first time I felt reconciliation for the underlying major bullying and discrimination I encountered in a place I spent 40 hours of my life, every week.

Wear It Purple Day offers the opportunity for education around sexuality and gender diversity, as well as a way to break harmful stereotypes surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. We have the chance to spotlight how LGBTQ+ people are normal human beings, who exist in all spaces. With greater awareness comes the creation of a safer, more accepting society.

I have found that the power of storytelling and visibility enables our phenomenal rainbow youth to hear from those who have gone before them, their struggles and triumphs, and know that no matter where they’re at right now, there is so much hope and a million possibilities awaiting them.

Thank you for standing by me, and thank you for continuing to encourage dignity for all in Alchemy’s Community.

Tap the link to find out more about Wear It Purple Day: https://www.wearitpurple.org/