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The Power of Inclusivity and Diversity

by | Jun 24, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

“The Virtual Hub made me feel like I have a seat here. That I matter”

TVH resident beauty queen, Nicole Tabar on the importance of inclusivity and acceptance in the workplace.

“Will this be on-cam?” These are the first words that Nicole utters when we start prepping for the interview. No surprise there because she has always looked good in front of the camera – a persona she has needed to uphold every single day. She was candid, recounting how she’s currently enjoying her time with her current client and how she has found a new passion for learning new things everyday.

But with the looming thought that the pandemic might be extended to possibly unknown lengths, Nicole reflects on how the uncertainty of the past couple of years have shaped her into who she is now. Here are some of the lessons in life that she shared with me:

On Her Humble Beginnings

“I’m originally from Cebu. Born and raised. I remember I had to travel to and stay in Manila for a little over a year to study but had to go back to Cebu to work. I started with a small-time call center, ones you’ll find in not the most glamorous places and worked my way up. I once worked for Telstra for 4 years if you could believe it. Later on, I started looking for a place that would allow me to pursue my passions. That’s when I came across the Hub. Here, I enjoy a stable employment and am afforded the time to enjoy my other hobbies.”

inclusivity

On Her Involvement in the LGBTQ Community

“Because of COVID-19 and due to some safety protocols that we needed to follow, I haven’t been actively involved in the community. We were all advised to stay indoors. But before the pandemic, I’ve always seen joining pageants as a means to further my cause. Every pageant that I get involved with is tied up with charities and organizations. Personally, I’ve always been very keen on promoting mental health awareness. I use my influence over my significant number of followers to promote this. Pageants are not just about beauty, it’s also about one’s advocacies. Beauty queens are not just about looks, we have a purpose.“

“For this pride month, my wish is for the LGBTQ community to be accepted. We’re not asking for special rights, we just want equal rights. Tolerance is one thing, Acceptance is another.”

On Keeping Herself Busy During the Pandemic

“Ironically, during this pandemic, I enjoyed being stressed. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not the kind of ‘stressed’ that you’re probably thinking of. Let me rephrase that, I enjoy being busy without being stressed. With the work that I have with The Virtual Hub, I can say that I am busy. But I’m not stretched thin. I enjoy the time I work with my client. And as a beauty queen, being stress-free is important. No eye bags!”

On Experiencing Discrimination

“I haven’t experienced any explicit discrimination but I have heard of and seen people that I know [who have] experienced this. I’ve heard of stories where people are turned away from the building for dressing as the gender they identify with. There are also stories where companies do not treat their employees equally. Some public places are not welcoming to our community. As a member of the community, you always run the risk of being turned away from places that are supposed to be safe places for everyone. Our country is not yet ready. We have a long way to go.”

“Beauty queens are not just about looks, we have a purpose”

On Choosing the Family You Have

“As members of the LGBTQ community, we have the privilege to choose our own family. I’ve experienced discrimination from my own family. It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. But I knew I had to tread forward. I keep a very small circle of friends. They’ve become my solid support system throughout the years. I’ve also made life-long friends here in the Hub. A testament to the Hub’s goal of being a safe space for everyone”

On Finding a Home at The Virtual Hub

“Those horror stories of discrimination are the complete opposite of what I experienced with The Virtual Hub. I will be celebrating my third year with the Hub this year and it has been nothing but roses. I experience no discrimination whatsoever. I felt safe from Day 1. Everyone was welcoming and accommodating. In the office, I felt like I’m free to be myself. The building where our office was located was accepting of the way I want to express myself. The fact that I am being interviewed for this piece is an honor. I feel privileged to have my voice heard. It’s the dream. I am super happy here. The Virtual Hub made me feel like I have a seat here. That I matter.”

On the Future of the LGBTQ Community

“Our laws should also favor the lives of the LGBTQ community. Same-sex partners are still not allowed to own properties. Insurance policies treat surviving partners as mere strangers. We have a long way to go ahead of us but that doesn’t mean we should stop fighting for equality. If anything, it should fuel us to do more for the community. I want the younger members of the community to know that they are not alone. That it gets better. For this pride month, my wish is for the LGBTQ community to be accepted. We’re not asking for special rights, we just want equal rights. Tolerance is one thing, Acceptance is another.”

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