Empowering LGBTQ+ Employees to Be Their Authentic Self at Work

Discover our new Coming Out meditation series with Lama Rod Owens to support LGBTQ+ employees throughout their coming-out journey.

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The Calm Team

4 min read

Coming out is one of the more challenging life passages for many in the LGBTQ+ community.

It’s not a one-time experience but a continuous journey. As you join new organizations or meet new team members, it may not be easy to share your whole self at work. For HR and benefits leaders, in addition to building a safe and accepting workplace culture, providing mental and emotional health benefits to better support your LGBTQ+ population is essential.

You deserve to be your true self in both personal and professional settings. That’s why as part of Pride month, Calm for Business is unveiling our latest partnership with Lama Rod Owens and his new six-part Coming Out series, which you can access exclusively on the Calm mobile and web app.

The core focus of Lama Rod’s Coming Out series is helping you figure out the best way to speak your truth and show up at work as your authentic self, no matter where you are on your coming-out journey.

Lama Rod Owens, the next-generation mindfulness leader

Lama Rod identifies as a Black, queer man and is one of the next-generation mindfulness leaders. His work is heavily influenced by his church and community. Lama Rod’s approach blends formal Buddhist training and life experience that gives him a unique ability to relate to and engage with those around him in a way that’s sincere and gives them space.

In Lama Rod’s new Coming Out series on Calm, he guides LGBTQ+ employees to work through powerful emotions and helps normalize the experience through supportive practice and real-life examples. LGBTQ+ employees will find stories, practices, and tools to help navigate the challenges and celebrate the joys of moving through the world as authentic and queer.

Here’s a sneak peek of Calm’s 6-part Coming Out series by Lama Rod Owens:

  1. Coming Out of the Closet
    Lama Rod shares his personal coming-out story and talks about how coming out can feel dangerous because people in the LGBTQ+ community might still face violence and discrimination after coming out. The meditation practice allows you to clear space in your mind, reflect on what the closet means to you and what’s keeping you from coming out, and visualize what it would be like to remove all obstacles and come out freely.
  2. Learning to Love Ourselves
    In the second episode, Lama Rod continues his coming-out story and shares how coming out to his friend was a crucial moment for him as she embraced his truth with love and care. The meditation practice focuses on how to allow yourself unconditional love and recognize you deserve this love even in moments when you don’t feel like you do.
  3. Working with Shame
    In the third episode, Lama Rod talks about the first time he felt intense shame after he verbalized his feelings for men during his freshman year in college. He feared his friends would be offended or even ostracize him but he was grateful to discover the warmth and space to be fully himself. This guided meditation focuses on how to give yourself the antidote to shame and moments for self-reflection so you can deepen your practice.
  4. Drawing Inspiration from Others
    Lama Rod shares how André Leon Talley, one of his greatest inspirations, taught him that he had a right to do what he loved despite the racism and homophobia he experienced. He also acknowledges the people who came before him in the community—James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Marsha P. Johnson, and others—who made it possible for him to have the space and support he needed to express his sexuality. The meditation practice is a reflection exercise about people who have been influential in your life and how you can embody the traits that you admire in them.
  5. Pride and Joy
    Lama Rod talks about how Pride is both a celebration for the community and a commemoration of those who came before and fought hard against laws that criminalized the community’s expression of sexual orientation and gender fluidity. At the same time, Pride creates space to awaken the joy of true self-expression and being your most authentic self. The meditation practice focuses on how to awaken the joy within you and visualize what joy can look like for you.
  6. Compassion for All
    In his final episode, Lama Rod recalls his decision to start identifying as queer in his late twenties and reclaim the word as an expression of fluidity and potential. Queerness is also about remembering those who struggle to be their authentic selves, those before us who didn’t get to live as their true selves, those who still don’t feel safe coming out, those who were lost to violent responses to their self-expression, and those who were lost to the AIDS epidemic. The mediation practice focuses on practicing compassion for yourself and the wider LGBTQ+ community as well as wishing everyone happiness, care, and safety.

Join Lama Rod Owens on the Calm mobile and web app as he guides you through a meditation practice that supports you through your continuous coming-out journey.

For more information on how Calm for Business can provide mental health resources to support your LGBTQ+ employees, click here.

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