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Post submitted by Milagros Chirinos, HRC Bilingual Media Manager-Spanish

Alessia Injoque is the first transgender person to publicly transition at a major corporation in Chile.

About six months ago, Alessia Injoque overcame her biggest fear -- coming out as transgender.  The 35-year-old industrial engineer never imagined that embracing her true self would not only help eliminate her shyness, but also free her to speak eloquently and publicly about her gender identity.

With the support of her wife and friends, Alessia was able to speak her truth in front of her colleagues at Cencosud, one of Chile’s major employers. She shared her story in a moving presentation at work that opened a new chapter in her professional career. And recently, Alessia was a featured speaker at the launch of HRC Equidad CL, a groundbreaking survey that promotes LGBTQ-inclusive practices and policies in workplaces across Chile.

HRC sat down with Alessia to learn more about her powerful story, career goals and what it means for her to live an authentic life.

Since your transition, what changes have taken place in your professional career?

In the technical part there has been no variation; that is, what I knew before I still know now. I work with the same capacity and passion, but I feel that my ability to communicate and coordinate with my teammates, customers and suppliers has improved. I was a very shy and distant person. Today, I am able to give live speeches and have self-confidence.  

What encouraged you to live authentically?

Self esteem. By denying who you are everyday, you begin to believe that you don’t deserve to be accepted or loved. My life seemed complete from the outside, but the truth is that I was an insecure person who used to rely on achievements to gain self-acceptance. I could not share who I really was.

How does it feel to be a successful transgender woman in the corporate world?

When I realized that I would be the first transgender woman among 140,000 employees I was afraid. My company has raised the bar for LGBTQ inlcusion and now it’s time for other businesses to do the same. Through LGBTQ inclusion policies and practices, businesses recognized diversity as a strength, not a problem.   

How important was to be fully supported by family and peers during the process?

Having the support of many sources in this process made me realize that I was not alone. The trans group meetings helped me to relate to other experiences, the sessions with my therapist allowed to express my inner fears and Fundación Iguales gave me guidelines to start the conversation with my employer. During this process, however, my greatest supporter was my wife. I realized how lucky I was to have found true love and to have her in my life.

What are your goals today?

This is going to be a year of exploration and professional development. I would like to continue sharing my story and inspire transgender youth to live authentically without sacrificing their dreams. I want more LGBTQ people to experience what I felt that day I came out of my last closet: LGBTQ inclusion changes lives.

Through its Corporate Equality Index and Global Workplace Equality Programs, HRC has established guidelines to implement LGBT-inclusive policies for more than 14.5 million employees worldwide across major corporations, U.S. multinationals and top business in Latin America. For more information on HRC’s Global Workplace Equality Programs, please visit hrc.im/equidadCL.


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