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LGBT+ and Pride with HMRC: Harry’s experience

Category: testimonial, LGBT, LGBT+, pride, Lgbt diversity, LGBT Community, HMRC, Pride Event, What Our People Say, Staff Testimonial, LGBT employee

LGBT

In June, we celebrated Pride month, but what is Pride really all about, why and how do people celebrate it and how can companies show their support for the LGBT+ community?

Harry Price is a Recruitment Marketing Attraction Manager, has worked for HMRC for almost four years and is an LGBT+ champion at the organisation.

HMRC are vocal in campaigning for diversity and inclusion and this includes LGBT+ inclusion. But it’s one thing to say this, another to show it. We took five with Harry to gain an understanding of how it feels to be an LGBT+ member working at HMRC, how people can show their support for this community and what Pride really means to him. Harry explained:

“The big one I’m aware of at HMRC is called the Prism network. My interpretation is that a prism is something with many different sides, it’s a network for anyone that identifies with LGBT+ and allies. They bring attention to work related matters impacted by LGBT+ issues, create inspiring newsletters and use speakers and stalls to let you know what’s happening within the community.”

Having grown up in the country county of Lincolnshire, Harry recalls that he did not experience much diversity in his school years, that sexual orientation was not spoken about and that the approach to life was linear rather than free flowing. He said:

“Where I’m from it was never spoken about or seen. School wasn’t the easiest and growing up I didn’t know anyone of different sexual orientations. It was small in that aspect and that was the hardest part. There wasn’t much education, so I had to educate myself.”

Harry is now based in Nottingham, a much bigger city. We asked Harry if he thought bigger cities presented a more diverse experience:

“I think in a bigger city there is more likelihood of representation. Where I’m from there weren’t many people and they were all similar and it was harder because you were less aware of difference. My favourite thing about Nottingham is the diversity.”

And what about Harry’s experience of diversity within HMRC?

“HMRC is a really diverse workforce in lots of different aspects. I’ve seen support for diversity of thought, sexual orientation and different genders and it’s fantastic. Part of being a Prism member means you wear a rainbow lanyard and it shows people that you champion that message. Lots of people wear them. From my own experience people who are trans, different sexual orientations and allies wear them and it’s a really interesting and gratifying experience for me.”

“I’ve been lucky to find myself in places of work where I’ve been supported and HMRC is one of them. I’ve been able to hold seminars on LGBT+ and homophobia in the workplace. One of my favourite things about working here is the opportunity to learn about different people. I really enjoy getting to know people different from myself in life and in the workplace.”

Vocalising the issues different communities face can increase understanding and promote a message of acceptance and that is a strong message relating to the purpose of Pride. Even in modern times, the LGBT+ community face challenges, both personally and in the workplace. But what has Harry’s Pride focus been during this troubling year?

“My favourite part of pride this year has been representing the underrepresented. It’s been about evolving and standing up for the smaller groups within the community. This year, I’ve tried to champion things for smaller parts of the community such as LGBT+ people of colour; that’s been a big focus this year.”

And what is Pride really about?

“For me, it’s about a history, so don’t take for granted how we have it now because it wasn’t long ago that we didn’t have equal opportunities and now as we’re seeing things progress we need to know we’re all different but we’re all people. I think it’s important to see it’s not an exclusive party, it’s an opportunity to bring people together and show support.”

And finally, how can people show their support of the LGBT+ community and celebrate Pride with purpose?

“Don’t shy away from LGBT+ or Pride. People sometimes get worried they might offend someone so educate yourselves. I’ve seen situations where someone has addressed another by the wrong gender. Realise that everything isn’t as linear as you think. Be open minded and continue to be eager to develop and evolve. Don’t shy away from the difficult questions. It’s about being part of these conversations and being part of the world, there’s all kinds of things going on around diversity and I think it’s about standing up for something.”

Thank you Harry for sharing your experience with us.

 

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