Mental Health Awareness Week: supporting trans employees in the workplace
Last weekend I went to a colleague’s wedding. It was a magical day. The bride was beautiful, the groom handsome, the sun shone, and of course their parents were proud of them. We all were.
Pride, you see, is important. It is that feeling of satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements or qualities. It is a celebration of all that one is and all that one may become.
For LGBT+ people obtaining a sense of pride can be difficult to achieve. I know that in the time that I grew up in it certainly was. It was difficult to feel proud when as a teenager you first knew you were different at exactly the time in your life when it mattered most to fit in. It was difficult to feel proud when at university you started a loving and healthy relationship with the woman who would one day become your wife but you lived in constant fear of being found out by family and friends. It was difficult to feel proud when you came out to your parents and you saw their distress and felt their disappointment that you had not chosen the life they wished for you. It was difficult to feel proud when you started your first job and the senior partner asked about your boyfriend and you did not have the courage to tell him that ‘he’ was a ‘she’ and decided it was easier in future not to talk about your personal life at work. Those experiences shaped who I am. They also influenced me to do better.
That is why I, along with others, decided to establish an LGBT+ & Allies network at Kingsley Napley. Because, for those of you who have asked… Yes, even in this day and age, even at our firm, there is still a need for a network supporting LGBT+ people in the workplace. Our network provides friendship and support for those who identify as LGBT+, we celebrate successes, we call out inappropriate behaviour, we educate and influence. Most importantly, we aim to act as role models and demonstrate through our own actions that one should feel proud of who one is and know that at work one will be supported to achieve anything one desires.
This year on 7 July 2018 over 500 LGBT+ parade groups will March through central London. This year’s theme is #PrideMatters. It does. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still a way to go.
I won’t be at the Pride parade next weekend as I will be celebrating a first birthday party. The birthday girl is loved by many; most especially by her two dads. I am proud and inspired by them for choosing to make their own family. They are proud of their little girl, as she, without a doubt, will be of them. My birthday wish for her is that she grows up in a world where LGBT+ people feel proud to be themselves. We all do.
Over the next two weeks to celebrate Pride members of the network will be writing blogs to raise awareness about the issues facing LGBT+ people in our communities and the world today.
Happy PRIDE. #PrideMatters #KNPride
Melinka Berridge is a partner in Kingsley Napley’s regulatory team. She is a founding member of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion group and LGBT+ & Allies network.
Kingsley Napley are publishing a series of blogs to celebrate Pride and to raise awareness about the issues facing LGBT+ people in our communities. You can view our other blogs here
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