The legacy of pride is bold, unapologetic and a self-celebration. It’s a way of proclaiming to yourself and to the world, 'I deserve to take up space on this grand planet, just as I am.'
A sudden anxiety filled my body when I first raised my arm to volunteer to write this month’s EA Things blog about Pride several weeks ago. I realised I had never openly written about my sexuality, let alone put it out on the internet for everyone to see. Then I sat back and thought…why the anxiety? You’re not exactly secretive about it, so why the sudden fear of speaking up?
So here goes:
I didn’t have a big ‘coming out’ moment and I was a late bloomer in figuring out my sexuality. Though I always knew something was different growing up, I didn’t realise what it was until my 25th birthday when I met the most unbelievable DJ (and yes, I did get a free VIP booth because of this new flirty relationship). What startled me the most at the time was that this DJ was female. I spent the evening openly flirting with a female in front of my friends and they didn’t seem surprised at all. Turns out they knew all along and I was the last one to admit it: I liked girls too!
I’ve been incredibly lucky to have the support of my family on this journey. When I told them, I was dating a girl, their words to me were: ‘As long as you are happy, we are happy whoever you love’. Wow, how lucky am I? Over the last few years, I’ve been able to truly be myself and express who I am without fear of rejection or judgement. This also helped me realise that I am, in fact, Pansexual. This means I'm attracted to people regardless of gender (Male, Female, Trans, Non-Binary, gender fluid etc).
I know I am luckier than a lot of people who don’t have this support. Recently on Instagram I saw a story of someone who was a victim of assault and homophobic slurs. Worse still, a survey conducted by Stonewall suggests that this isn’t an anomaly - 64% of LGBTQ+ people have experienced anti LGBTQ+ violence or abuse. The fact that this is still happening, and during Pride Month, shows we still have a long way to go. This is why Pride Month is SO important as we get to celebrate every member of the LGBTQ+ community, be our true authentic selves and support each other.
From a workplace perspective, the good news is that more and more employers are helping their people bring their whole selves to work, feel psychologically safe and embrace their individuality. My experience of Baringa in the 9 months I have been here is that our differences are celebrated as the very things that make us unique and special. We’re empowered to embrace ourselves and each other for who we are, just as we are. A lot of organisations can say they do this, but as an employee, how many times have you actually felt it?
When I first started at Baringa there were a few things which really stood out. Firstly, the signs on the toilet to let you know that you're welcome to use whichever bathroom you identify with - I had never seen that before! Secondly, our EMBRACE community really does do what it says: It embraces everyone who is part of that community, whether LGBTQ+ or an ally. They hold events, brunches and sessions to educate everyone on why communities like this are relevant and important inside and outside of the office. Most importantly, they're a community where I've made some of my closest friends, and that is genuinely there to support you. It really feels amazing to be working for a company that truly embraces the LGBTQ+ community and allows us to be out and proud!
So, there we are, that’s a bit of my story, and I hope that others feel empowered to speak up about their sexuality and be out and proud of who they are, because remember: You deserve to take up space on this grand planet, just as you are!
About the author
Amy has been an EA with Baringa coming up to a year and is part of the core team behind the scenes of ‘EA Things’. She is passionate about wellbeing, D&I, marketing, and raising the profile for EAs.
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