Representation Matters

As we head into Pride Month, I’ve been musing on conversations about representation – particularly in the context of Equalities and Diversity at work. This has played a prominent role in recent interviews in our restructure and in conversations arising from them.

It is very often the little things that have the most unexpected effects. I was reminded of this when someone remarked this week that they were wearing a bisexual pride pin on their lanyard because they had been inspired by my wearing one.

They had found it a relief to be able to make this statement, and hoped that in turn they would be able to help someone else be able to accept and be their proper selves too.

I was profoundly moved by this. Its one thing to have previously noted the addition of the pin to their daily appearance; another to have someone say in a public forum why, and their hope for further supporting others in a similar way.

I’m proud to work in a diverse community, and be part of ensuring that my workforce reflects that too. Representation matters. Being visible matters. Showing people they’re not alone matters.

Working Pride

Sadly with lockdown still wreaking havoc there’s absolutely no chance of getting to a Pride event this year, but at least through work there is an opportunity to celebrate a little.

I’m working as part of the LGBTQ+ Pride Network where I am, and this week has seen an invitation go up on the staff Jive network to post rainbows either as flags, themes, filters or whatever for Pride.

Cue one virtual Pride picture

Its only a little thing, but seeing everyone putting up posts is heartening. The rainbow Funko has been produced by them in support of Pride and the It Gets Better Project with part of the proceeds going to that charity.

So there’s a positive thing.

Corporate Queerness

Well, that was an interesting meeting. I signed up a few months ago to the fledgling LGBTQ+ Network at my workplace, and have since stepped up and got more involved with helping shape and run it. To that end we had a quick virtual meeting via Teams to start to thrash out the basic Values and Aims of the group.

This is based partly on the corporate aims and values for diversity and equality held in common working here, and looks at promoting wider sharing of information and practice among other things.

Along the way, people started dropping their ages into conversation around how different age ranges seem to prefer making social contacts. This ranges from apps, activities, social spaces, and the more traditional clubs and bars; and really emphasises again just how easy it can be to apply a wide brush to expectations that are then immediately subverted by individual experiences and expectations. It also revealed that I was the oldest person present, so to speak.

To quote Lady W as I recounted this later, this meant I was the oldest queer in the village. This amuses me, as I would in no way hold myself up as any kind of exemplar of queer experience in any community.

But there you have it – if need be I’ll be a voice for those who don’t feel they have the confidence to speak. There are worse roles I could take on.

Soggy Morning

I’m off to a masquerade thing this weekend, and so need to sort out a suitable mask for Lady S. Fortunately there’s a place near me that stocks all sorts of things so I’ve dragged myself out of bed in my day off to pop down to Kingston.

It’s a bit soggy. It’s raining so much the pigeons are hiding under the old barbecue on my balcony. From the sound of the cooing they’re busy making new pigeons. I’m half expecting to see them wearing galoshes the next time they’re perched on the railings.

Being Pride month, and an obstinate bugger, I’ve thrown on my Queer Umbrella t-shirt. It’s buried under my hoodie and thick coat, but it’s there. The last time I wore it was while at Con when popping out for supplies while Lady M was laid up with a migraine and heatstroke.

On that occasion I had a man yell “Queer!” in my face, which I suppose proved he could actually read. I looked at him. Every cosplayer on the street looked at him. He looked up in the silence and realised I was a head and a half taller than him and twice as wide. He dipped his head and went away.

I do not approve of this rain

I’m lucky. I’m a white male who easily fits into the bear stereotype in appearance. I’ve woken this morning to read two stories of homophobic assaults just in the first ten minutes of being awake, and as many incidences of people shouting about straight pride. I’m not dignifying that with capitals.

Pride is protest and visibility in the face of aggression. It’s political, it always has been, it started as a riot in the face of police brutality.

I’m queer. I’m bisexual, polyamorous, sex-positive, kinked and not going anywhere. Sorry, not sorry.

Just, who ordered all this rain?