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DIO HR Director Jo Peel on LGBT+ Pride and embracing difference

Category: Women in Leadership, LGBT event, LGBT+ Network, LGBT+, pride, Lgbt diversity, LGBT Community, Staff Networks, Pride Event, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, staff network group, LGBT employee, Pride 2020


First of all I just wanted to say well done to the DIO LGBT+ Network for all the advocacy they have been doing over the last month, educating, collaborating and sharing stories.

I am really sorry they didn’t get to march for Pride this year. In my experience it is a humbling and fabulous day in equal measure. The last time I went to London Pride I went with the DSTL LGBT network – it was an amazing day; we took pride in marching behind the three Armed Forces (who the crowds were delighted to see) and we took great joy in being in front of the Absolutely Fabulous float which was spectacular.

I was disturbed by some of the banners at the end of the Haymarket by some anti-Pride groups; I simply don’t understand why some people don’t want others to be happy especially when it does them no harm. That said, we have to listen to understand and when we understand we need to explain that there is nothing to be afraid of just because someone is different to you – indeed it is to be celebrated.

​I think the pandemic lockdown has taught us a number of things but some of the best things to have come out of it are the small (and heroic) acts of kindness people have shown to each other and the look of joy on Zoom when loved ones can see each other. Perhaps for some, in the absence of physical contact, there have been more reflective, open conversations and sharing of deeper emotions. All this, I believe, leads to each of us feeling cared for, content and put simply happy.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​So, whatever the new normal looks like, it is so important that everyone in DIO can bring their whole selves to work, that they can talk freely about their partner and share their moment of joys without being guarded, and their challenges too. It is important that we do not act as a bystander when we see that people are not being treated with respect. We need to embrace difference – let’s face it, none of us are carbon copies of each other and there’s a relief, what a weird world that would be!

Our different mindsets, based on our varied experiences, bring innovation and creativity to our customers’ challenges and to the way we work and interact. We have far more in common than we have differences, so let’s listen to each other and share in the joy of the diversity that we all bring and help everyone feel included in our mission.

The recent Stonewall report is a tough read and I believe we in the UK are in a better place overall than the countries surveyed but it is important that we are never complacent. There is always more we can do.

I hope everyone had a very happy Pride and was able to tune into some virtual celebrations across the world. Hoping you had fun and got chance to shake your tail feathers and celebrate who you are!

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