Scott, People Policy Specialist
“Pride for me is an opportunity for the LGBT+ community to recognise and celebrate the achievements that have been made during a challenging history. It’s a time to remember those people who’ve worked hard and made sacrifices in paving the way for our community, so that future generations won’t be discriminated against or victimised. It’s also an opportunity to highlight the challenges we still face, both in this country and around the world.”
Scott is a People Policy Specialist in our Human Resources team, is CIPD qualified and has BA in Psychology. He has had an important role to play in making sure LGBT+ people are represented at M&S and he thinks that the newly established LGBT+ Yammer group can help us to listen to our employees, to hear about any issues they may have, and to ensure that everyone here can have open and honest discussions about the topics that are important to them.
“I was particularly nervous about coming out. I was 20 years old and, until that time, I’d been in straight relationships. I struggled personally – coming out to myself was probably the initial obstacle; accepting the way I am despite having known I felt different to others from an early age. When I did accept that this was who I was, I felt an incredible pressure had lifted.
“Then I had to face the process of coming out to friends and family. I was at university and coming out to my friends was emancipating; they all accepted me for who I was and their friendship did not waiver. Coming out to my family was a little tougher. However, over time my family have come to understand what it means for me to be gay and they have always continued to love and support me, my partners and LGBT+ friends.
“I attended Pride for the first time in the early 90s. It was a much smaller event then and was at the time of Clause 28. The sense of political activism at the time felt much stronger as there was greater inequality in relation to our community than there is today. I had just come out, so it was an exciting time, but it was also slightly unnerving trying to understand how I would fit in to this new community and who I would identify with. I feel that Pride today is more celebratory than it used to be, but it still maintains the principle of promoting LGBT+ visibility.
“In my lifetime, there have been some incredible changes – equal age of consent, gender recognition, civil partnership, same-sex marriage and adoption, and LGBT+ people being allowed to serve openly in the military.
“Personally, I now feel much more confident in having the freedom to express myself as a gay man – I have the courage to be myself. Having said that though, there are times that I still feel inhibited in being able to do the things that others take for granted, like showing public affection towards my partner. I believe that society has become far better educated when it comes to diversity and inclusion, but there is more to be done to give people the freedom to really be themselves.
“Being an openly gay man, I feel that I can be myself. I believe being gay has made me accepting of other people’s differences and given me a greater appreciation for diversity. It has developed in me a greater sense of fairness and I feel this stands me in good stead within both my personal and professional life.
“For the first time, M&S will be taking part in Pride in London and I have had a role to play as part of the steering group. What has been amazing about this process is the amount of support we’ve had from people around the business who are willing to donate their time and expertise to help achieve our goals.”Inside M&S