Posted: 12 Nov. 2020 5 min. read

Until the word of LGBT disappears

Series : Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

*This is an English translation of the D-NNOVATION article issued by Deloitte Tohmatsu Group on November 12, 2020. If there is any discrepancy between the Japanese version and the English translation, the Japanese version shall prevail.


LGBT as “INVISIBLE” Diversity

Deloitte Tohmatsu Group won Gold Award over PRIDE Index (*1) for 3 consecutive years since 2018, being acknowledged by our LGBT related initiatives on November 11, 2020. 

It has been more than 10 years since I had joined this firm – I did not even know the word of LGBT myself at that time. I had no idea about the fact that LGBT was “invisible diversity” and the research showing 1 out of 11 people said to be an LGBT person. 

There used to be an unwritten yet clear perception that “women should behave as ladies -fall in love with men to get married, to raise children and to manage the home, while men should fall in love with women to get married and to become a bread earner overall”. Anyone not aligned with that perception stood out, and I was no exception –as being a transgender (*2).

Transit to my own true self from a “transgender-me”

There was no slightest option for me to come out of the closet to “stand out” as transgender 10 years ago. I did not even think about unisex bathrooms, clinics to accommodate my specific concern over the health check-ups, using my preferred name, or even asking for those support to our HR. I thought I had accepted to live a life judged by my physical gender at birth, hiding my own true self of my gender identity. 

It worked only until my pain hit my limit, by hiding so many things about my true self. 3 years ago, I have decided to come out of the closet after a thorough struggle, followed by my transition (*3) to finally live my own, true life.

I had no idea how much I have had on my shoulder -how much I had been distracted to keep lying to myself, even when fully engaged at work, until I got to live in my own true self. Massive sense of mental security has freed myself from lying and making up my fake self, which also empowered me to deliver better at work, with better performance quality –furthermore, I loved the way being my own true self. 

This feeling has kept me driving our LGBT initiatives today. Though our firm was only at the base camp to start working on LGBT inclusion when I came out of the closet 3 years ago, I have received huge support for my life-defining decision as the very first case of transition at the time. Shortly after, we have been working to achieve an inclusive environment where anyone can proudly represent their own true selves –just under my sincere hope that all of us to empower as the professionals and contribute to the society. 

What I have been keen to achieve was to show all the LGBT concerned and struggled members that there are places to empower as professionals –while proudly representing their own, good and shining selves. Our LGBT brochure was made to deliver that message from our own LGBT members and our supporting members, which keeps empowering many of the new LGBT members to join our firm in the last few years, touched by and agreed with our messages. 

Towards the future where SOGI Diversity becomes a norm

Our firm has accelerated a massive change in the last 3 years, from multiple perspectives to enhance on-the-ground experiences –from facilities and system installation such as unisex bathrooms and revised policy to include same-sex marriage, to cultural transformation initiatives such as LGBT consultation team and learning sessions for the management. We have nearly 150 members empowering in our Ally network (*4), which has been established so no one to fight alone. 

It is totally up to your choice on how far you come out to, and how you prefer to represent yourself –so is whether to come out of the closet or not. I am not randomly encouraging to come out of the closet, but what I think crucial is, that there should be a fully inclusive environment where everyone including LGBT concerned selves, can fully demonstrate the potentials and expertise as professionals without having to fight against discrimination and prejudice. 

We still have so many challenges to tackle –to acquire the true understanding over the regional and generational boundaries and to achieve the social transformation by working along with so many external stakeholders. There is no time for us to rest until the truly inclusive environment where every one of us can empower in our good selves were to be achieved. 

Yet,  I am positive and hopeful that one day, we will be able to reflect the past that there used to be a word of LGBT in the society -just like I recall 10 years ago there was almost no one who knew what LGBT meant.


(*1)PRIDE Index is the very first guideline in Japan set in 2016, to measure the initiatives over sexual minorities such as LGBT at work environment. It has been set as the guidelines for the companies to acknowledge the friendly environment for LGBT and to empower internal initiatives etc.

(*2)Transgender is a person whose gender identity does not match to the physical gender at birth. 

(*3)Transition is a process to transfer one’s physical gender to match with the gender identity, to bring back one’s own true gender. 

(*4)”Ally” means people who understand and support LGBT and LGBT people. 

This article was written by members of the Deloitte Tohmatsu Group Diversity & Inclusion team. Click HERE to see Deloitte Tohmatsu Group's LGBT initiatives.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives at Deloitte Tohmatsu Group

About the Author