Pride is an important time in the LGBT calendar and a time to both reflect and celebrate. June is the month chosen to celebrate pride as it was the month of the Stonewall riots, the protests that changed gay rights for a lot of people in America and beyond.
It's about people coming together in love and friendship, to show how far gay rights have come, even if in some places there's still some work to be done. Pride month is about teaching tolerance, education in pride history and continuing to move forward in equality.
We have asked a number of colleagues across the Kingfisher Group to write a short blog explaining what makes them proud.
Crispin Burridge is the Director of Property Environments at Kingfisher. Crispin has worked in the Group property function for 10 years working closely with the local markets to support the local teams. His role covers everything from construction and maintenance to workplace design and operational efficiency.
As a gay man, coming out at work is as difficult as it is at home the first time – or maybe it isn’t!
I have been with Kingfisher for almost 10 years and enjoyed a Group role that has enabled me to travel all over the world. I had to make a decision from day one as to whether to hide my sexuality or not – it would define the way people would relate to me and possibly trust me for who I really am. I decided to be open about my sexuality from my first interview. I didn’t force the issue, but when asked about family, took the opportunity to explain my domestic situation. I arrived at Kingfisher as an open and proud gay man.
I have found that trust is a two way process. Let’s not pretend it’s going to be that easy for everyone, but if the more confident members of the community can be open and live their lives openly, we can start to build greater understanding amongst colleagues and create a safer environment for those who are less certain of coming out.
I don’t shout about my sexuality but neither do I hide it or allow others to diminish its importance. It is also important to understand where others are on their path of understanding or recognition of the LGBT community. I have learnt that I don’t need to hide my sexuality but at times be aware of how I introduce the subject.
During my 10 years in Group I have never been judged or felt intimidated. But we do have to re-set the boundaries, as being ‘accepted’ is not that far from being discriminated against. I am proud that that the LGBT community in Kingfisher have formed a network to find positive ways in which we can work with the business to create a more inclusive culture internally and to recognise the benefit of building a secure and mentored environment to bring the best out of our LGBT colleagues at every stage of their journey and potential.