19 May 2020
The theme for London Pride this year was going to be ‘allies’ in recognition of the important role that non-LGBT+ individuals play in creating equality.
Whilst we won’t be celebrating Pride with a march this year, I think it’s still important to recognise and celebrate the work that LGBT+ allies do in supporting our community in the workplace. Especially as we mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. In a world where in many places of work being LGBT+ is increasingly accepted, what does being an ally look like?
I recognise that I write from the privileged position of being an LGBT+ person in a large city who has been fortunate enough to never encounter any overt work-based homophobia. Despite that, I’ve still felt the importance of allies.
Part of being an LGBT+ person is regularly finding yourself in the minority. Even in relatively innocuous situations this awareness can have an impact on behaviour. For example, as a gay male at work socials when the inevitable “do you have a girlfriend?” question arises – do you out yourself or do you keep quiet and stick with the crowd? Sometimes the fear of being seen as ‘different’ is enough to prevent us speaking freely about our lives and loves. Having visible allies makes a world of difference in scenarios like this. It means we don’t have to worry, even if those worries were unfounded to start with.
Visible allies do something really powerful – they allow a culture of inclusion to flourish. At LCP we have a Partner Champion network where leaders across the firm commit to visibly supporting one of our four Diversity and Inclusion networks. We have 9 Partner Champions who support our LGBT+ Network. In these roles they are vital in boosting acceptance, taking part in events such as our Pride march last year or just calling out homophobia where they see it in the media or society.
Being a visible ally means that no one has to worry about “playing it safe”. It may seem like a small thing, but it isn’t.
LGBT Great, the dedicated organisation that exists to develop LGBT+ diversity and inclusion in the pensions and savings industry, are running a campaign to mark the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia.