16 May 2022
Meet Shaun (he/him) – he’s a Structural Engineer working at our South Flank and Yandi mines in the remote Pilbara region and one of the leads for Jasper, BHP's LGBT+ network.
As part of IDAHOBIT Day 2022, we caught up with Shaun about his journey at BHP, what the role of Jasper is, and how people can learn more.
Why did you join Jasper, Shaun?
I finished my degree in Civil Engineering at UWA and had a great experience in the BHP Grad program.I joined Jasper about a year after starting with BHP. I identify as gay and I felt like I needed a group of people who understood my experience as a gay man working in the mining industry. Mining can be quite fragmented across different remote sites – and for me, Jasper was a great peer support group. It’s a network where people can be themselves without feeling pressured to hide their sexual or gender identity. I felt like I wanted to help out and drive some initiatives so I became a committee member and now I’m really excited to be leading Jasper for WA Iron Ore.
What sort of experiences have you had at BHP?
Luckily for me, every experience I’ve had at BHP has been overwhelmingly positive. I have had amazing teams where I’ve been comfortable being openly out and gay in the team.
I know that’s not the case for a lot of people.
Sometimes I do feel awkward with people outside of my team if they ask if I have a girlfriend, but I know they don’t mean any ill intent or hostility from asking that question. Everyone is different but I don’t feel comfortable or necessary to bring it up with everyone.
In my experience, the mining industry seems quite progressive. But I do hear of people who have negative experiences. I wish everyone had the same experience that I did. I wish everyone had Allies around them for support, like I do.
What makes your team unique and your experience so positive?
My team is already quite diverse. Everyone is very open to discussion and not afraid to speak up about things they are passionate about. Everyone is incredibly open minded.
How would you suggest people address this topic and help LGBT+ people feel safe and comfortable at work?
Personally, what I have found really heart-warming is when people mention Jasper events and topics in the daily safety meeting. It signals that this is something the team supports and is worth their time to talk about LGBT+ issues and topics. That special days like IDAHOBIT, Wear it Purple Day or Pride Week and the LGBT+ community are just as important as other big issues in the world.
It is about dignity and respect for people that identify as diverse sexual or gender identity. We all deserve this time to talk about these issues that are important to us.
Thank you Shaun, for sharing your experiences today. We want everyone to be able to feel safe to bring their whole selves to work and realise their full potential – and that’s why it’s important we recognise days like IDAHOBIT and stand against fear or misunderstandings of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex LGBT+ teammates.
More on Jasper, BHP's LGBT+ ally inclusion network here - Jasper - LGBT+ inclusion at BHP| BHP