I kept looking forward without giving up.
I am proud of myself in JKOT now.
Currently working for JVCKENWOOD Optical Electronics (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (JKOT).
Joined JKOT in September 2018 and was assigned to the General Administration Department. Provides support to customers who visit JKOT, manages facilities including employee cafeterias and employee parking lots, and manages various documents.
Please tell us how you came to join JKOT.
My previous job was also at a factory, and I had always wanted to develop myself through my work. At that time, I found out that JKOT was recruiting new employees, and I felt I had to do my best to change jobs. JKOT is a global company that everyone in Korat knows. It was also attractive to me that JKOT not only expanded its plant and had a variety of facilities and equipment for work such as PCs, but also even had an educational system and welfare schemes in place.
However, I was very worried about whether I should have quit my company and if JKOT would accept me as I was. That was because I am transgender*, which is a sexual minority.
*People who feel inconsistency between the gender of mind and body.
When did you become aware of your gender?
I am male in the family register, but when I was a child, I took it for granted that I was a girl. I wanted to grow my hair and wear a skirt. I also loved dolls, and I played more often with girl friends than with boy friends. But when I started going to school, I became aware of my gender as I grew up.
When I was 14, I conveyed my feelings to my parents. Both of them were very surprised and, especially my mother, would not accept it. Even in Thailand, which has an image of being tolerant of sexual minorities, some people have negative opinions. So, she was worried that I might have trouble in the future. I wanted to tell her, but I couldn’t. One day, after such a situation continued for a long time, my father told my mother. He said, “Napaphat is our precious child, regardless of gender. I’m sure Napaphat will be a good girl.” These words made my mother understand me.
Have you had any difficulties in your job hunting?
Some companies still did not accept sexual minorities. Sometimes I was eliminated in the document screening because my name was male but the person in the picture was female, and sometimes I was told something hurtful during an interview. Looking back at that time, I was very worried and my heart ached, suspecting there were no more companies that would accept my gender. But I didn’t want to give up. I didn’t want to lose. That is why I am so happy to work at JKOT like this now. I want to work as hard as I can at JKOT, which gave me an opportunity not based on my gender but based on my abilities and experience.
Please tell us about your current work.
I support both customers who visit us from the outside and employees. For customers who visit JKOT, I arrange flights and hotels, deal with their arrival, and provide backup services so that they can feel comfortable during their stay. As part of employee support activities, I am in charge of a wide range of tasks, including the improvement of menus served at company cafeterias, the management of facilities such as parking lots and lockers, and the management of sanitation such as toilets.
When do you feel your job at JKOT is worth doing?
The moment when I am told “Thank you.” I feel very proud because it means my work satisfied someone. One day before the company went on a long vacation, I happened to work overtime. Then my colleague came to me and said she lost her locker key. She was in a lot of trouble, and I wanted to do something for her. So, I contacted my boss and got instructions, and I successfully had the locker unlocked. The colleague told me “Thank you, thank you” again and again. The word “Thank you” at that time made me feel the joy of becoming special to someone. Since then, this became words I would like to value.
How is the atmosphere in your workplace?
We have excellent teamwork and cherish each other like family. When I am busy with my work, I do not have to handle it alone. They help me and think of how to make things go smoothly together. Besides work, we also eat together, talk about fashion and cosmetics, and enjoy company events. JKOT’s events are held with all employees, so they are very exciting. I can communicate with colleagues I don’t usually meet, and a lot of new encounters are waiting for me.
How do you want to grow in the future?
I have a wide variety of tasks in the General Administration Department, and I think it is still important for me to accumulate daily work as experience. In so doing, what I can do is to make the most of my communication skills. In order to build a comfortable workplace environment, we need the voices of our employees. I hope I can elicit these voices by talking with many colleagues.
In addition, as an employee of JKOT, I want to become like my manager. I admire my manager, who always faces every single employee honestly, takes good care of them, and notices details quickly. I want to grow as a person so that I can get closer to my manager as much as possible.
As an LGBT person, do you have anything you want to share?
Just as I was able to start working at JKOT, I hope all LGBT people can have the same opportunity. Rather than treating them as unusual, I hope people appreciate individual abilities. Of course, as LGBT people, we should not be passive, but take action to make ourselves understood. I am not sure how much I can do, but first of all I want to expand the community. By connecting with LGBT people in bases around the world and knowing how they are all working and living their lives, I believe we can solve our problems or generate new opinions. It may be a quite big goal, but I hope it will come true someday.
JVCKENWOOD Optical Electronics (Thailand) Co., Ltd.
|Location||Korat Province, Thailand|
|Major production items||Dashcams, Rear Camera, DVD pickups|
JKOT was established in 2008 as a production base in the Automotive Sector. Since the construction of the second plant, JKOT has created a better environment that is not only comfortable to work in but also respects diversity. In 2019, JKOT was recognized for its ability to meet the needs of people with disabilities and environmental facilities on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which was held around Thailand.
Since before I was transferred to JKOT in 2014, diversity has been a matter of course at JKOT. Rich diversity means that we can meet a variety of opinions and values. In other words, I believe it opens up new possibilities for the company. That is why here at JKOT, I have always tried to be fair, that is, to evaluate achievements and hard work regardless of gender or educational background, so that each employee can demonstrate their own abilities to the maximum. I think that is what it means to respect individuals and to recognize each other.
In addition, my experience working overseas in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand has made me keenly aware that adapting to local culture is also part of diversity and inclusion. Even if you force the Japanese way, you will not get good results. By creating systems that suit the culture, everyone can work energetically. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
*Affiliation and position are as of the time of the interview.
JVCKENWOOD is promoting the creation of workplace environments comfortable for all employees regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation. In recognition of these efforts, we were awarded the highest Gold rating for two consecutive years from 2018 in the Pride Index, an index for evaluating efforts related to sexual minorities. Also, we invite outside lecturers and LGBT persons as speakers every year to provide training for employees to deepen their understanding of LGBT issues. In 2018 and 2019, we participated in a parade at the Tokyo Rainbow Pride, one of the country’s largest LGBT festivals.
Scene from Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2019
Pride Index Gold Rating logo
- Editor’s Note (From the Diversity Promotion Office) -
About 259 kilometers northeast of Bangkok, Korat, the largest city in the Isan region of Thailand, is a town where you can enjoy people’s warmth and tranquil scenery unique to Isan. What impressed me during the interview in Korat was a compassionate heart. At JKOT, for example, at the start and end of work and when employees pass each other in the hallway, they greet each other by saying “Sawadee” with a smile. During work, they always took care of their partners with all their heart to see if the partners were able to work comfortably or felt any inconvenience.
During this interview, I was also impressed by the way Nanpaphat -san worked on daily tasks with the feeling of gratitude toward surrounding people in mind. In this way, I felt that mutual respect and sympathy led to diversity at JKOT, which respects diverse backgrounds and allows diverse employees to work together regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation or disabilities.
We will continue to feature diversity in various countries through interviews with employees active in various countries and regions.
Mihoko Hasegawa, Diversity Promotion Office