By Jon Rumley, Walmart Canada Corporate Affairs
Mads Otter is the first openly transgender associate at the Walmart Victoria Supercentre.
“I’m a Walmart baby,” Mads says. “This is where my parents met. My dad still works here.”
When Mads was looking for a welcoming place to work, he knew Walmart was the right place.
“It’s 100% a safe and inclusive environment,” Mads says. “I’ve made friends here. It’s a great feeling.”
As a transgender associate, it’s important for Mads to feel like he can be his true self at work.
“I like to make people feel comfortable around me,” he says. “I don’t want anyone to ever feel bad.”
That’s why we celebrate the International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31. Walmart prides itself on being that place where all are welcome, including the approximately 75,000 trans or non-binary people living in Canada today.
“This day makes me proud,” Mads says with a smile. “I’m on that track of being in the body I’ve always wanted to be in.”
Mads recently underwent top surgery and began taking testosterone, which he calls important steps in his transition.
“I knew when I was 7,” he says of being trans. “My friend came out in middle school and it made so much sense to me.”
Mads recently accepted a promotion to become his store’s fashion department manager.
“I never saw myself as becoming a manager,” Mads says. “I feel very validated.”
“He brings an open and trusting environment to those around him,” says Walmart Canada CAP 1 Assistant Manager Eugenia Peluso. “With his outgoing, open-minded and friendly personality, he helps create an inclusive workspace.”
Store Co-Manager Paul Tungsiriratana called Mads’ promotion “another step forward in gender equality, diversity and inclusion.” Associates at the store say they are committed to being allies.
“Being an ally means having an open mind and being accepting and supportive of those around you, no matter the differences,” Eugenia says. “Everyone is unique in their own way and those who identify as LGBTQIA deserve the same respect and inclusion as those around them.”
Mads appreciates the inclusive environment he’s experienced since joining Walmart in February 2021. He also understands it may not be so easy for others to come out and be their true selves, especially at work.
“You have to be comfortable with yourself before you tell a big environment. It takes time to find your identity,” he says while sharing his own experience coming out.
“My parents weren’t very surprised. They mourned the loss of a daughter, but they gained a son in the process.”
Small things can make a big difference for people like Mads.
“I’m very happy because we’ve brought back the pronoun pins, which makes me very excited,” he says. “It’s making it a very normal thing. It makes people feel really validated. Some may not care, but to others it’s everything.”