Learn how Julia Reidy, Liquidity Change Director at Credit Suisse, champions LGBTQ+ advocacy and allyship, breaking barriers and fostering inclusivity.

Tell us about your accomplishments to date?

I am helping to form our new Pride and Allies network as we go through change within our organisation. I continue my journey of allyship and we are working together with other networks to bring about greater understanding about the cross support we can give each other.

I have been co chair of the LGBTQ+ & Ally Network at Credit Suisse.

I have been the communications lead for approx 7 years supplying information and education to our colleagues on many elements of the LGBTQ+ community. Not only sharing information on awareness days, encouraging people to share and promote their allyship, promoting the use of pronouns, sharing global news stories, soliciting articles so that others have a voice, sharing role model information, sharing activities our network had organised, or we had been invited from other external networks. Also shared all the amazing work undertaken by our co-chairs (many external partnership events), showing what great role models they were.

I organised or co-organised and staffed events, being there to help bring about inclusivity in the workplace.

I was and am a visible ally in the office, sharing information with colleagues at specific events and on the work floor when the occasion arises, encouraging new allies to join the network to continue their ally journey.

I have been working with Aidsmap as trustee treasurer since 2019 – providing support so the charity can continue to do their amazing work.

What are the barriers in representing many intersectional identity groups?

People generally like to put themselves and other people in a box and some get confused when one doesn’t fit into box “X” but will fit into box “Z” “R” and “S” at the same time or none or all of the boxes. Most people don’t like to be stereotyped and therefor seen to be in a box, however there is cohesion in community, and when we can be together in a group of mixed boxes, that community can be stronger – so boxes with doors and the chance to grow and change can be helpful.

Lack of education and fear of the unknown are the biggest barriers for understanding those having different abilities and identity backgrounds. We aren’t all one thing at any one time and  having and promoting role models is such a huge help in wider society – Kelly Holmes shared – “if you can’t see it  you can’t be it” when she won her award a few years back – such an essential mantra to remember and Kelly is a great intersectional role model.

If we can share our knowledge of our LGBTQ+ community, the boxes won’t seem so important to those are looking in from the outside and then bring those inside and along for the journey. Those that are curious and not afraid will always welcome what they don’t know, overcoming that fear takes sharing of experience and empathy but can be achieved with joined up community action.

Ally’s originally outside, and then inside the community can help bridge the gap into the “unknown” and having an Ally share their knowledge and lead can sometimes open the door to allow those that couldn’t – now speak for themselves.

Do you think acceptance is improving?

I think it is 2 steps forward one sideways one back, then round again. I can see that with laws and that are being attempted to change on diversity and inclusion are taking huge leaps forward.

The PRA have given guidelines on D&I, good governance now includes having a diverse board and making disclosures about their diversity make up and companies are having to disclose their D&I policy when talking to clients, so the business world are standing up and being accountable. However governments are being conservative and wanting to change rights, the recent changes in America on Trans rights and the discussions in the UK have  raised concerned that hard fought rights over 50+ years can so easily be taken away.

In the UK people are political and will stand up for their rights, but not everyone globally has that opportunity, and we are in a multicultural society and we all look to what is happening with our global neighbours.

Having more Allies in the world brings about education and acceptance. Having that opportunity in the workplace to share information and bring about understanding, you bring others into the community, and then when they see acts of non acceptance elsewhere, they can make a change and bring about greater inclusion.

What does been nominated in your category mean to you?

It is hugely humbling and a great honour to be nominated. I look at my colleagues in the network with me, and in the LGBTQ+ community, and think of the things they do and opportunities and information that have brought to our wider network, and all our colleagues, and think they should be here as well standing with me, but I am also thanked for the work that I have done and continue to do. Being nominated really was great, and being  shortlisted was surprising but very exciting! I am reminded that even small efforts can have huge and lasting impacts.  I hope my nomination will show that you don’t need to be leading a company or heading up a business to make a difference to your LGBTQ+ colleagues, friends, neighbours and community. But that doesn’t mean that those in leadership have it easy either, they have so much to gain by creating an inclusive workforce environment so that all can thrive in their work life. The people I am nominated with have all shown great LGBTQ+ allyship in the work place, and I am proud to be nominated with them. Being nominated shows Allyship isn’t hard, and we can all be allies.