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Be yourself at work

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Lorna Fulton, Leadership Solutions Manager

At Stonewall we know that in school, college, university or work, people perform better when they can be themselves.

We also think that your sexual orientation is a part of who you are and this doesn’t go away when you step into the workplace. As you read through this guide, you will see hundreds of employers who believe this too. They know that building a working environment where people feel able to be out with their colleagues, managers and clients is the kind of environment where people can thrive. Starting Out is a great way to evaluate which UK employers are working to create inclusive places to work for their gay staff and we think that they will be able to take your talent further, helping you to soar in your chosen career. After all, you deserve an employer who values you for who you are.

And what better way to find out what it’s like to work somewhere than to hear from out gay role models? Through reading their stories in this guide you can see the impact of being yourself in the workplace. It’s the missing piece of the jigsaw in creating a really great place to work. Each of the employers featured here works with Stonewall through the Diversity Champions programme to ensure that they are constantly improving their workplace culture. These employers embrace difference, they don’t just tolerate it. They are focused on developing diverse talent, and they want to know that you haven’t left the real you at home.

Getting the job you want in a highly competitive market means that you have to stand out. By the time you get to interview stage, the recruiter already knows that you have the right skills, qualifications and technical ability, so this is the opportunity to really bring the best of who you are to the table. Trying to hide part of who you are because you’re afraid that the employer won’t like the fact that you are gay is exhausting. Remember, there’s really no one else like you, so bring your whole self into the workplace – including who you are as a gay person – and watch your talent take you to great places.

One of my role models, Maeve Malley, a Consultant Systemic Psychotherapist, sums it up really well when she says: ‘If you invest yourself in something you care about, you’ll probably end up being a role model for someone. If that doesn’t work for an employer, you know what? It’s probably not a great place for you to be.’

Use Starting Out to find that great place and who knows, it could be you featuring as a role model in next year’s guide.