Our LGBTQ+ Affinity Group is all about supporting the PFG vision for equality and inclusivity, allowing all people to thrive at work, regardless of their background, sexual orientation, gender identity or circumstances. The Group forms part of our Be Yourself inclusion community, along with our Disability, Ethnicity and Gender Balance Affinity Groups, which all work together to create and build on an already inclusive PFG culture.
The LGBTQ+ group’s primary focus areas are:
- Providing direction to the Group in committing to a culture of support, safety and acceptance for LGBTQ+ persons, identifying areas for improvement when changes impact upon that commitment.
- Helping the business identify issues affecting LGBTQ+ persons and support solutions to these issues, for both colleagues and customers.
- Providing a network for LGBTQ+ colleagues as well as raising general awareness of issues facing LGBTQ+ people within everyday life and highlighting the contributions made by LGBTQ+ people.
- Promoting a supportive environment within all business areas for LGBTQ+ people.
- Working alongside other Affinity Groups to ensure we consider other individual characteristics that intersect and overlap with those of the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride Celebrations 2021
Internally the team have prepared some communications and events to help raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ Affinity Group, it’s purpose and what it means for colleagues around the business. We've been sharing information about the history of Pride and the flag as well as articles advising on ways to be a better ally, to help others better understand the celebration.
Across PFG we’re celebrating the diversity of our colleagues with a number of activities; including Pride related competitions, and providing digital graphics so all colleagues have the tools to show their support.
Speaking to some of our colleagues, we asked: "What does Pride mean to you?"
I think it’s in the name, a positive celebration of being yourself. A statement that you’re proud to be associated with the LGBTQ+ movement and that you take a stance in support of equal rights irrespective of your gender or sexual orientation. It’s a chance to party but also to reflect on how far we’ve come and to ponder the road yet to travel. ‘Pride’ is both the celebration and standing firm in the face of insults and abuse that may be hurled your way during the course of the day. To sum it up, it’s about how pride, jubilation and togetherness can overcome the naysayers. Andrew, PFG colleague
My first Pride 1992. 19. Still under Section 28 and no equal age of consent. It was also the first time down to London as an adult. Seeing the streets filled with people on the march who were just able to be themselves and had travelled from across the UK. Local events weren’t really happing then and there were no corporate sponsors for big floats. It was great weather and a great vibe. Though I remember walking through Brixton to Brockwell park for the festival and concert stage - hearing abuse and having stones thrown at us as we walked there. The legislation has changed but still people are subject to abuse – so visibility and reminding people of the next step in progress is essential. Dave, PFG colleague
As well as sharing what Pride means to us, colleagues have also been telling their own stories and giving friendly advice on self-acceptance:
The path to self-acceptance is not an easy one, but once you let go of the things you can’t change and start being kinder to yourself, you will become more comfortable with the things that make you unique. Scott, PFG colleague. You can read more on Scott’s story by clicking on the accordion below.
Pride to me is about acceptance of others, but most importantly, yourself. Self-acceptance is an ongoing process, which can at times feel daunting and insurmountable – especially when there are people and organisations in the world that are not accepting of things that make you, you.
One of my earliest memories of being bullied for being gay was when I was at primary school. Before I even had a concept of what sexuality was, let alone my own.
The bullying I endured because of my sexuality, carried on through my schooling and there was nothing in place back then to address this or to help me personally deal with how I felt. Bullying of gay people often carries on at home too and I was not immune to this. A lack of safe spaces for LGBTQI+ youths can lead to tumultuous home lives, familial rejection and abuse. Young LGBTQI+ persons make up 24% of the youth homeless population in the UK.
At the time I was trying to figure out who I was and my sexuality was always something that I was made to feel that I should be ashamed of. Due to the pressures of bullying at school and at home, my living situation became unbearable, so in the absence of those safe spaces, I also became part of that statistic and ended up ‘intentionally’ homeless when I was 16, living in hostels until I got my own flat at 17.
Having struggled with my sexuality in my early teens, I was really happy when I started meeting people who were more like me but unfortunately, my first relationship became abusive (coercive control, negging and gaslighting) and this had an impact on how I viewed and judged others (gay men mostly) based on their sexuality.
I found the strength to leave my abusive relationship at 22. This is when I really found myself …I was free to live my life and be who I wanted to be. Now 15 years later, I am happily married and finally comfortable with those things that make me, me and proud of myself for overcoming those obstacles to my self-acceptance.
Surrounding yourself with diverse people who accept you for who you are is healing and you will learn to be more accepting of yourself and others. The path to self-acceptance is not an easy one but once you let go of those things you can’t change and start being kinder to yourself, you will become more comfortable with those things that make you unique.
Coercive control is an act or pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation (or other abuse) that is used to harm, punish or frighten victims. This controlling behaviour is designed to make a person dependent on the perpetrator by isolating them from support, exploiting them, depriving them of independence and regulating their behaviour.
Negging is an act of emotional manipulation whereby a person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment or otherwise flirtatious remark to another person to undermine their confidence and increase their need of the manipulator's approval.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment.
If you are being bullied or subjected to any kind of emotional abuse and need support and or advice, you can reach out to:
Bullying UK: 0800 800 2222
By texting ‘SHOUT’ to: 85258
Samaritans: 116 123
National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247