Have I done enough?
I'm Jonathan and I'm a Continuous Improvement Manager here at the Insolvency Service. A few months ago, the Insolvency Service marked LGBT+ History month. There were a number of truly inspirational stories and blogs shared across the agency which had an impact on me.
So why am I now writing to you all? After all, I am not classified in the LGBT+ acronym, I don't have an inspirational coming out story to share and I have never been an LGBT+ Ally in the past. So why now?
I do feel that I have never treated anyone differently for their sexual orientation and I naively reassured myself this was enough and made me a good person!
Reading recent LGBT+ themed blogs, as well as watching the programme 'It's a Sin' (it's brilliant by the way, if you haven't seen it), made me take a look back at my own attitude towards the LGBT+ community. Looking back, have I been around people who have made inappropriate jokes or treated people differently because of their sexuality? The answer is sadly, yes.
On these occasions have I intervened or spoken up? I am ashamed to say in the majority of cases, no I haven't - not feeling confident to challenge, selfishly thinking this didn't affect me whilst reassuring myself it wasn't me making those comments or treating someone differently.
I have come to realise this does affect me. Do I want to live and work in a society that doesn't treat people equally? The answer is a resounding, definite no. I was shocked by the programme 'It's a Sin', and those events which happened in my lifetime. It got me thinking perhaps we have not come as far as we should have.
Nicola Adams made Strictly Come Dancing history by becoming the first celebrity to be part of a same-sex pairing. Perhaps the biggest progress will be when a same-sex pairing on a hit TV show is no big deal, not making any headlines and is simply the norm.
This has prompted me to join one of the agency's people networks and become an LGBT+ Ally. As an LGBT+ Ally I promise to:
- increase my knowledge of LGBT+ history
- be a visible ally to the LGBT+ community
- support diversity and inclusion in the agency
- no longer stay quiet when I notice inappropriate behaviours
- be willing to offer a listening ear
I'm pleased to see our LGBT+ Network has a packed calendar of events for June Pride. Of course, things are different with the ongoing pandemic, but the online celebrations will continue on our internal intranet for our staff to enjoy. There will be blogs on awareness and support, stories from parents of LGBT+ children, blogs about historical figures you might not have known were part of the community, and what's been dubbed as The Big Gay Quiz!
Further reading: Take Pride in research and innovation (Government Communications Service blog)