Vicki, Hospitality Manager
“I was living in a Devonshire seaside town when I first came out and not everyone was that nice. I had a lot of comments shouted at me and was even spat on in the street. But I had an amazing group of friends to support me and, after a while, things settled down and I became that one lesbian person that people know – you know, that one where they say: ‘She's a lesbian but she's alright actually!’ It didn't take long for me to realise that life was going to be just fine and a lot of fun.”
Based in Derby, Vicki is a Hospitality Manager with us. She initially joined us on a temporary basis in a seasonal role, but she soon realised that M&S is a great fit for who she is, and for all that she wants to achieve in her career…
“I came out when I was 21 (I'm 39 now). The first person I told was actually my grandma. She's a very forward-thinking older lady and she was so happy that she had a lesbian granddaughter that she used to tell people in the street about me! After that, coming out to the rest of my family was pretty smooth and, luckily for me, they were all supportive.
“I realised very early on that I was M&S through and through, and that I wanted to start a career in the company. I also know I'm not where I am today because I'm a lesbian, but because of the way I work. I’ve had nothing but good experiences during the five years that I’ve been with M&S. I have an amazing manager who I have a very honest and respectful relationship with. He’s really supported and believed in me, pushing me to achieve my potential. The best thing about M&S is that everyone is equal and being gay just isn't an issue.
“Personally, Pride means being myself every day, no matter where I am. I used to live and work in London, so would go to Gay Pride and Soho Pride every year. I’ve been in the Pride march once and it was just amazing to be part of something so big, colourful and fun. The crowds along the march are pretty special too.
“I think the change in attitudes towards our community is pretty mind blowing really. I remember the first lesbian kiss on Brookside caused absolute uproar and scandal. Now, no one would bat an eyelid. I see young couples walking down the street holding hands, as I do with my girlfriend actually – that would be completely unheard of when I came out. It really is wonderful.
“I consider myself lucky to be a lesbian. The experiences I've had, the people I've met and the stories I've got to tell – I wouldn't have had that if I wasn't. I probably make it sound like being a lesbian has been a rainbow-coloured breeze, but it hasn't. Quite a few years ago I was beaten up for being a lesbian, which as you can imagine was pretty bad. But it didn't take long to get over that and soon it was just a bad memory – another thing to add into the mix that has made me who I am.
“I never take anything too seriously and have fun every day. I'm very proud of what I have become, of what I’ve achieved and of who I am.”Inside M&S