Category: LGBTQ Community, Pride Month, LGBTQ+, LiveWest, LGBTQ+ Ally, LGBTQ+ Inclusion
Our Executive Director of Operations shares her memories of Pride Month
About six weeks ago one of my colleagues asked if I was interested in writing something about Pride and to be honest, I wasn’t too up for it.
After all, it’s Pride. I’ve done it before, I’ve been going to Pride events since the late 80’s (yes I am that old) and I’m not sure anyone is really that interested. I have a great job with fabulous colleagues.
I work in an environment where actually no one really cares about my sexuality, so why do I need to write about Pride – maybe we don’t really need it anymore? Anyway, then I forgot about it.
Fortunately, the members of our Sexuality and Gender Equality group didn’t and they have been busy working on Pride events for LiveWest. As part of the organised events I got my special Pride T-shirt, popped into Skypark, our head office in Exeter, and popped it on for a nice photo under a wonderful rainbow balloon arch. Photo done I jumped in my car and headed off home.
It’s Friday night so, I decide I’ll stop off and grab a bottle of chilled wine (sauvignon). Then it hit me, parked up in my car about to go into the shop I looked down at my Pride T-shirt. Suddenly I was slightly uncomfortable. I’ve got to go into the shop in a Pride T-shirt.
Now that might seem a little weird to you, that I’d even think about it and not stride proudly in there, but the reality of a lifetime of getting “looks” and the odd bit of abuse does have its impact and as a result I bare a few scars. For a moment I thought about hiding myself – could I change my T-shirt in the car? (best not) did I have a hoody on the back seat?
Anyway, the moment passed, and the wine won out and off I went into the shop, grabbed the wine and went home. A few days later I popped into the local Co-op - they are celebrating Pride and there a guy behind the till in this Co-op Pride T-shirt. This is a straight guy wearing a Pride T-shirt (I know because we all really do have gaydar it’s a real thing we are born with it).
Seeing him there makes me feel safe, I know that its going to be a safe place for me because here is a company that is happy to openly celebrate Pride and you know what, that’s important - I want to feel safe.
So back to by Pride blog. Being honest, in the LiveWest world I’m privileged. I’m a Director and its easy for me to be open and visible about my sexuality, my position makes it hard for people to make me feel uncomfortable.
That’s not the case for everyone – there will be colleagues who will struggle because maybe they are not sure about their sexuality, or don’t feel comfortable sharing with colleagues or maybe aren’t yet ready for their family to know.
So, whilst Pride is a time for us to reflect on the progress we’ve made towards equality, it’s also a time for us to acknowledge that we still have more to do.
Pride isn’t just a celebration where we wave our rainbow flags and party. Pride matters because everybody should feel comfortable and safe being themselves at work and we are not quite there yet, so we need to wear our T-shirts until we get there.