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By: Niki Kapsambelis
June 8, 2022
Growing up in India, Ratish Trehan recalls the integral role that transgender people played in celebrating some of life’s most important milestones: new babies. Weddings. A new house.
No celebration was considered complete without the blessings of the local transgender community. Members’ appearance at those joyful occasions was a cherished tradition.
It wasn’t until Ratish grew into adulthood that he learned how marginalized transgender people are, both in India and worldwide. But his childhood experiences had a profound impact on how he thought about the LGBTQ+ community – and what it means to be an ally.
“Allyship, to me, means creating safe zones for people to voice,” said Ratish, who is Viatris’ head of Emerging Asia. “That’s what I do in my job as well. I encourage people to speak up. And it doesn’t matter if you’re going against the tide. Speak up.”
Ratish is transparent about the fact that he wants to learn how to be a more effective ally. That’s why he joined Viatris’ VIVID Employee Resource Group, which is available not only to members of the LGBTQ+ community, but also to those who support them. As a leader, he felt it was important to know how best to facilitate people bringing their authentic selves to work – particularly if they struggle to do so in their personal lives.
“This is the only ERG which is taking topics which will put us (in a) head on collision against the law somewhere in the world. And that’s the beauty, that’s the power, that’s the authenticity of Viatris,” he said, adding that celebrating Pride sends an important message from the company.
Echoing Viatris’ mission statement – “we see healthcare not as it is, but as it should be” – Ratish said the company “sees diversity as it should be,” respecting a variety of perspectives both internally and externally.
“For the LGBT community, for the community within Viatris and the customers that we serve -- the healthcare professionals, the pharmacists, the distributors from the community – (it’s) a very strong message that Viatris is with you,” he said. “Viatris is, as a company, an ally. We are with you. Just keep on shining, be your authentic self.”