Head of Research Evaluation & Impact and REF Programme Manager
I wanted to become an Ally in order to understand more about some of the challenges faced by the LGBT+ community in the workplace, and how I might be able to help colleagues to feel supported. At the excellent workshop Stonewall ran, the most striking lesson for me was when we were asked to have a conversation with someone else where gender and marital status could not be referred to: I found it revealing how hard I had to concentrate not to give this information, and I felt that it restricted my ability to build a rapport with my partner in the exercise. I also learned some surprising and sometimes upsetting statistics about how people in the LGBT+ community can feel unsafe or unsupported even in environments committed to equality and diversity. Since attending the workshop I have changed my approach to expressing my support for equality and diversity, sometimes through simple measures such as adding a line in my email signature or having a rainbow flag postcard by my desk; but also by ensuring that when I recruit or welcome someone to the team, I explain that this is an inclusive workplace and they can feel free to be themselves.