What It’s Like Being Part of an LGBTQ+ Network
Beth Pollock, OVO
Hi, I’m Beth (my pronouns are she/they) and I’m a part of the OVO LGBTQ+ Network, Pride in Ourselves. I identify as Queer and I joined the network in 2020 because I wanted to help make OVO a more inclusive workplace.
Prior to joining, I had never been a part of a LGBTQ+ network in the workplace. To be honest, not many other workplaces I have been a part of have even had a network. My initial view of this initiative was – is this just another LGBTQ+ scheme which aims to group us together without tackling the issues in the wider work community and with no real goal to be inclusive? Was it just a group to say they had tried? I’m so pleased to be wrong on this occasion!
The group was made up of so many different people with different reasons for joining and caring so deeply about the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people. They inspired me to care more about my community and the issues we face. A key part of this was seeing the Trans-inclusion policy, it is essentially a guide for trans people (at any stage of their transition) and also a guide for managers to provide the best support possible.
OVO are more committed to inclusion and diversity than any other company I have been a part of. The work that is being done to ensure our workforce is representative of the population and all their characteristics is refreshing to see and unlike many others, OVO are honest with their shortcomings and committed to making a great place to work.
The Pride in Ourselves network has truly encouraged me to be my authentic self at work and the benefits of this have been huge. I am happy at work, I share my ideas and collaborate with others, I have more energy and drive to do well in my role, and I have overcome some of my own internalised homophobia. You see, a lot of us have a hard time at some point with ‘coming out’ and those of us who have, often have some form of internalised homophobia, not at others but towards ourselves. We hide parts of ourselves because they don’t fit other people’s norms but when you are encouraged to fully be yourself, you can’t hide those parts of you anymore. Whilst the network has helped me grow professionally, it’s helped my personal life so much more which is why I will always advocate for LGBTQ+ networks and inclusive policies and why I am proud that we at OVO are sponsoring the LGBT Network category of the British LGBT Awards. Networks like ours are so important and it’s great to see so many worthy finalists doing great jobs to support their people and communities.
About the Author
This article is written by Beth Pollock, of British LGBT Awards 2021 category sponsor, OVO.