On Oct 11, International Coming Out Day, the list of the TOP100 Out Executives 2020 was published. Number 17 on the list is Axel Freund, Head of Food Safety, Security and Infrastructure at LSG Group, who made it onto the list of the most important lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LBGTIQ) executives in Germany for the third time in a row as the only Lufthansa Group representative.
“I am proud to have been a part of the list from the very beginning in 2018,” says Freund. “I see it as a recognition of my efforts. LGBTIQ leaders must be visible and accepted; I want to encourage people to come out and stand up for themselves in the workplace”.
Freund shares that goal with the initiators behind the TOP100 list, who aim to normalize the open dealing of one’s sexual orientation and gender identity among colleagues. “In contrast to other areas of society, there is still a lack of publicly LGBTIQ role models in the higher positions in business,” says Stuart Cameron, the initiator of the TOP100 list.
According to Axel Freund, the ranking is of particular importance these days. Regardless of whether it is based on skin color, race, religion, gender identity or sexual preference, otherness makes one a target. “After many years of progress in the various aspects of diversity, we are now experiencing burgeoning hatred and discrimination,” he warns. The statistics prove Freund right: the number of offences against sexual orientation recorded by the police in Germany has risen since the beginning of the millennium, culminating at a peak in 2019. There were around 39 percent more incidents than in the previous year, and the number of unreported cases is likely to be higher.
Axel Freund therefore calls for a joint show of strength – and by this he does not just refer to the members of the LGBTIQ community, but anyone who wants to stand up for a cosmopolitan and unprejudiced society. Choosing to come out about one’s sexual orientation is a step forward: “We must put a stop to the newly emerging discrimination. There is no going back,” said Freund.