July 4, 2018 by Jorge

Pride is so much more than just rainbows and parades – it’s about authenticity and courage!

 

It’s PRIDE Month!

The city of London, and cities all around the world, are glowing in fabulous rainbow glory!

There has been a seismic shift in LGBTQ+ representation in the media – GLAAD reported that 2017 was “the best year ever for LGBTQ characters on television”and 2018 has continued to provide a platform for LGBTQ+ people and characters to flourish – Rupaul’s Drag Race entered its 10thseason, Netflix’s Queer Eye has exploded in make-over madness, and there are loads of LGBTQ+ teen characters in shows aimed at the young people.

Even big fashion brands – H&MPrimarkASOS, to name a few– are going all out in support of LGBTQ+ people!

And while the world celebrates the courage of the men and women… and drag queens… who fought back in the Stonewall Riots in July 1969, it’s a shame to think that half of LGBTQ+ workers are still closeted at work.

It’s so disheartening that other wonderful LGBTQ+ people are having to put on an act, as well as their suits, when they go to work.

Inclusion 

When I first started working as a high-school teacher, I didn’t let my pride flag fly. I went to work every day a little bit nervous – I couldn’t really talk about what I had done on the weekend or who I had hung out with, so when asked how my weekend was, I would meekly answer, “Fine, thanks” and leave it at that. I spent every day editing and producing myself, making sure the person I was “being” matched what I thought my colleagues wanted. Needless to say, I wasn’t very happy and saw my world of work as a “necessity” not a place to thrive.

The turning point came when a member of the senior leadership team took me aside on a staff social to say, “What you bring to this school is really unique and special. Don’t be afraid. You’ll be fine.”

I remember that moment so vividly because as a young employee, someone who I saw as so important taking time to make me feel important was tremendously empowering.

From that day forward, I let my guard down and let people in. I started wearing more colour (literally and metaphorically) – I shared more of myself with my colleagues, I enjoyed coming to work, and as a result, my teaching and my work got so much more authentic and downright better!

So… This Pride:

Managers and senior leaders out there reading this, who can see that someone is feeling left out or not being themselves – be brave, be proud, extend an invitation to someone who might not be brave enough to ask for one – theyll surprise you! 

Colleagues who sit next to an LGBTQ+ person, go beyond the easy, pleasant conversations about fashion and everything “fabulous” – really invest, connect and get to know the whole person – they’ll surprise you!

To LGBTQ+ colleagues out there, be proud, becourageous and enjoy your second coming out!

Happy Pride Everyone! xo