Blog: Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind
Emma Broadbent, Director of Registration and Revalidation, marks the start of LGBT+ History Month in her latest blog
It's LGBT+ History Month and I'm delighted to kick that month off by sharing the news that the NMC has gone up more than 100 places in the Stonewall rankings for the top LGBT+ employers: we're now at number 106, having nearly doubled our points from last year.
I’m proud to work for an organisation that’s committed to tackling discrimination, but we can’t ever take commitment to equality as a given. That’s why months like this are so important.
As a lesbian, LGBT+ History Month has a personal resonance for me. When I started working, making fun of gay people in a way that was unthinking was not uncommon, and I did also encounter direct prejudice. It made it uncomfortable for me to be out and so I often didn’t tell people I was a lesbian until I knew them very well. This has a strange effect because it means you avoid all those conversations about what you did at the weekend – and it’s difficult to build work relationships when there is a big part of yourself you don’t talk about. Not being fully relaxed at work also takes a lot of energy and you don’t give your best as a result.
Things have changed a lot – for the better. Attitudes have changed and there are many more role models around. I don’t hear those remarks or personally witness homophobia anymore and I don’t hide my sexual orientation. I am much more comfortable at work. Being able to be out at work means I am happier and more productive and I hope I can now act as a role model for colleagues who are considering if it's ok to be open about themselves in the workplace. I am sure I would have felt able to come out sooner if there had been senior LGBT+ role models in my workplace.
Having said how much more comfortable I am personally, my sexual orientation is not obvious. So often when I meet someone new I am faced with coming out again and the minute’s pause while the other person works out the appropriate response to my referring to ‘my girlfriend’. It can be hard work sometimes and it’s great when I encounter people who don’t automatically assume I have a boyfriend or a husband.
The best employers understand that diversity and inclusion matters. They understand that enabling you to be yourself in the workplace will allow you to flourish. Diverse groups of people bring diverse ideas, and encouraging perspectives from different communities improves innovation and creativity. And to get the best talent in our organisations we must recruit from a diverse talent pool and create cultures people will be proud to be part of.
Homophobia has not gone away – we often see examples in the press, assumptions that everyone is heterosexual still happen, sadly ‘gay’ is a term of abuse in many playgrounds and every week at the moment it seems we see some shocking examples of prejudice against trans people.
This is why LGBT+ History Month matters. It gives us all the opportunity to celebrate communities and demonstrate that inclusion matters, whether we are LGBT+ or not. Here at the NMC, we’ll be marking the month with a series of talks and events, organised by our wonderful LGBT+ Network. I’m really looking forward to attending and taking part.
Everyone has a part to play in supporting an environment where LGBT+ people can feel psychologically safe at work.
And remember, as Dr Suess said, "be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind".
Thanks for reading,
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