June is National Pride Month and our colleague, Richard, shares some history behind Pride and his experiences as a gay man working at CCP.

“Although pride events occur throughout the year, the catalyst for the gay rights movement first took place in June 1969 hence why we celebrate in June. Pride month commemorates years of struggle for civil rights and the on-going pursuit of equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, as well as celebrating the accomplishments of LGBTQ individuals. I feel that society is a lot more accepting now than ever before but… there is still a long way to go!

The sad reality is that even though members of the LGBTQ community have more protection, discrimination and hate crime still occur far too often. We are brought up with these stereotypical views which means I had to come out as gay and be asked questions like “when did you decide you were gay?” whereas on the flip side nobody has to come out as straight or decide to be heterosexual.

At CCP, I am the Recruitment and Development Manager, I am a gay man and a founding member of the Diversity & Inclusion Group. I feel lucky to be able to fully express the person I am rather than conceal it which I know others can struggle with in different work places. My experiences have also allowed me to support colleagues and young people whilst on their own journey.

In my free time, I also like to support others, I began as a helpline volunteer providing support and guidance to those who struggle with their sexuality, then I ran a Youth Group designed to provide a safe support place for young people who may not have had that at home. I sat on the board of trustee for Gay Glos and am now training new youth leaders. I have been honoured to be invited to speak and support other local organisations such as ‘Saving Jenny’ where I provided a talk one evening on the impact of Domestic Abuse on the LGBT community. 

This Pride Month, I ask you to take this pledge with me… “I will challenge inequality wherever I see it, I will respect the pronouns you ask me to use, I will provide support and information where I can, you are safe with me to be the authentic you””