I recently read a BBC article with Tom Allen about gay shame and it really resonated with me.
Growing up, I went to a tough boys school and coming out as gay was a nightmare. I was bullied, mocked and made to feel worthless. This was a time when newspapers were still outing celebrities for a newspaper headline.
There’s no doubt that public attitudes have improved a lot since then, and many workplaces are more inclusive today. But when I went to work for the police, I had to experience homophobic bullying all over again. It was a place that had all the right equal opportunity policies written down somewhere, but they meant nothing when I was being subjected to verbal abuse every working day.
Those experiences are in the past, but the shame and sense of not belonging is hard to shake off. It can be a tough fight to find inner happiness when you’ve been through that.
It’s why I don’t just pay lip service to the idea of equality and diversity at JMC - I actively promote it. It’s vital that workplaces are a safe space to be gay. Good mental health depends on feeling valued and supported, and too many LGBT people still feel they won’t be if they come out to their colleagues.
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Written by Jason Connolly