What’s the great thing about people? Well, we’re all different, we are all unique, we all have our own story to tell. Our life experiences are what make us diverse. So, we’re opening up.
Inclusion and diversity is the belief that every single individual matters. And that’s why by opening up and sharing our stories, we can celebrate difference and uniqueness that bit more.
Every February in the UK is LGBT+ History month. The month is dedicated to promoting equality and diversity, highlighting historic LGBT+ figures; their history, lives and experiences. This year the theme centres around mind, body and spirit. Claiming our past, celebrating our present and creating our future. At Colt, we reached out to our employees and offered them the chance to open up and highlight an LGBT+ person in history and what they’ve done.
Today we spoke to Mélanie Castelo, French-born Global Reach Lead Coordinator based in Barcelona. Her role involves talking with people across the globe, delivering fibre and working with our partners.
Q: Hi Mélanie, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Can you briefly sum up what LGBT+ History month is?
A: LGBT+ History month is the opportunity to remember and highlight facts, people, and historic actions related to the LGBT+ community. It’s the perfect moment to give visibility on what has been done so far, spotlight the people who helped improve LGBT+ rights, and focus on what still needs to be done.
Q: Why is it important to the LGBT+ community?
A: It gives visibility. Like I said before, it reminds us that we still have a long journey regarding LGBT+ rights. Some rights have only come in to effect in recent years.
Q: What does LGBT+ History month mean to you?
A: The LGBT+ month is vital. Through it, we can recognise those individuals that fought to give us visibility, and battled for inclusion and diversity. They started the journey that allows us to benefit from some of the rights we have now. It’s also important for younger people to see the individuals who fought for them to have more freedom today. We should honour these people by continuing the battles that they started.
Q: Do you think we need to do more to talk about LGBT+ history and why?
A: We need to talk more about LGBT+ history, as it’s part of our today and our tomorrow. We must remember everything that was achieved yesterday was a long and difficult journey that we can’t give up. It’s also a way to be thankful to all who contributed to making a better tomorrow for us and the next generations.
Q: Who is your role model in LGBT+ history and why?
A: I would say my role model would be Colette. Colette (also known as Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette) was a French writer in the early 1900s and openly bisexual which, at the time, was a challenging thing to say. During that time, it was also hard for a woman to be a writer and get the recognition they deserved.
Q: Do you have a specific quotation that resonates with you in your life?
A: A quotation that makes a lot of sense for me would be: “Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.” From Barbara Gittings, who was an American LGBT+ activist in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Q: If you could encourage people to do one thing this LGBT+ History month, what would it be?
A: To be curious. Search for historical facts and people that made a difference. You would be surprised at who you recognise that are contributing to the LGBT+ cause. And of course, share your findings and educate others, which is key for visibility and inclusion.