This is me
I’m a 34-year-old Mancunian gay man, managing IT professionals but also leading on Diversity and Inclusion for BPDTS, working within DWP Digital. I’m also a member of DWPride – our LGBT* network. I’m based in the Manchester hub, right in the heart of DWP’s digital operation.
My passion is equality and inclusivity and I’m so grateful to work in such a diverse and inclusive environment here at DWP Digital. You can just can feel and see it here – it’s what we do, how we act and who we are.
It means I can come to work and be who I am without fear of discrimination. In fact, we go beyond that: we celebrate all of our differences and think independently… but we do it together. For that, I am extremely proud.
I’m keen to take an active part of in the LGBT* community both in and out of the workplace, bringing me onto the subject of Pride and why I’ll be marching this year.
Why Pride is so important
Pride is a very powerful emotion – and could be about anything; your sexuality, gender, religion or even your shiny new trainers!
But sometimes being proud of something can narrow your view and let you forget about how we earned to the right to be proud in the first place. I want to talk about where we (the LGBT* community) have come from and where we are heading…
Back in the late 1960s most people in the LGBT* community had almost zero rights to love who they love and be who they truly are. It was the bravery of the minority who stood up and marched for their human rights that shaped the thousands of Pride celebrations as we know them today.
50 years ago today, police raided a bar in New York called the Stonewall Inn. The LGBT* community there at the time had suffered constant brutally and persecution, so on the night of the 28 June 1969 they decided to stand up for themselves. They retaliated with bravery that night which led to 6 days of protests that served as a catalyst for gay rights protests around the world.
The world is a very different place 50 years on and it’s easy to assume that we are always moving forward. However, LGBT* issues are ever more prevalent in the media, and though there have been lots of positive developments recently, particularly in trans rights and more countries legalising gay marriage, these success stories are countered by many shocking ones. For example, Brunei where they recently passed death penalty sentences for homosexuality. And here, in the UK where people have been protesting against the teaching of LGBT* relationships in schools. It’s hard to believe that in 2019 some people still hold these views and not everyone is more accepting and diverse.
What Pride means to me
For me, attending a Pride event is not only a celebration of the diversity of your city and community, but also about thinking of those who don’t have the opportunity to do the same.
Their march or fight is streets apart from what we experience in our great country. Their pride may be in secret, met with great hostility and discrimination or even worse… not happen at all!
This is one of the reasons why this year’s theme at Manchester Pride is ‘Deep Space Pride: A Future World of Equality’, inviting the city to look ahead and envisage what the world could look like in the distant future, particularly regarding LGBT* communities and the attitudes towards them. So, when I march this year at Manchester Pride along with my partner and some of my Civil Service colleagues, this theme and these people will be at the forefront of my mind.
I hope that one day these less accepting people can come together and party under the rainbow as we do, so they can celebrate who they truly are. That is why I’m marching at Pride.
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