Record numbers of civil servants march in London Pride.

London was painted in the colours of the rainbow over the weekend, as the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans* communities and allies came together for ‘Pride in London’.

The Civil Service was out in force for the parade, with over 120 LGB* staff and straight allies marching on the streets of the capital – more than ever before. The Civil Service Rainbow Alliance (CSRA), the cross-departmental LGB* network for civil servants, successfully co-ordinated the Civil Service’s participation in the event, working alongside a number of departmental LGB and LGBT networks. We had staff join us from right across the UK, from the South-West and Wales to the North-East.

A wide range of departments and their agencies were represented in the march, including the:

  • Cabinet Office (CO)
  • Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
  • Department for Education (DfE)
  • Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
  • Department of Health (DH)
  • Department for International Development (DfID)
  • Department for Transport (DfT)
  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
  • Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT)
  • Home Office (HO)
  • Ministry of Defence (MoD)
  • Ministry of Justice (MoJ)
  • Treasury Solicitor’s (TSol)

In addition to the departments marching in the parade, the Government Equalities Office were also running a stall at Trafalgar Square.



 


We also had a variety of staff from different grades around the Civil Service. Staff from across the Civil Service joined the parade, including staff in front line roles in benefits and tax offices, policy and HR staff and more. Richard Heaton, Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office, and Sue Owen, Permanent Secretary for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Civil Service LGBT Champion joined us – they even carried the CSRA banners!

Speaking after the event, Richard Heaton tweeted:



 


The presence of such a range of staff on Saturday was really important to many on the march.

“It was great to see staff from AO to Permanent Secretary, and from different departments, brought together by their diversity. It was a fantastic chance to represent the Civil Service as a place in which LGBT people can feel pride in working,” said Niall Goulding, who works for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.



 


“The Civil Service serves the public, so it’s important that the public sees that the organisation is representative of wider society,” thinks Michael Contaldo, a civil servant from HM Treasury. This year was the first time he took part in London Pride.

“This year I took part in the London parade for the first time with CSRA to acknowledge that I work for an employer that respects and supports a diverse workforce,” he said.

The Civil Service’s participation in Pride is important to showing how diverse and supportive the organisation is of LGB people.

Of course, the work that civil servants do supports LGB people both in the UK and around the world on a daily basis; that’s why Charlotte Jackson, from the Ministry of Justice, was marching on Saturday. She said that Pride, for her was “about embracing the rich diversity of the LGBT&Q community and its supporters. It is also about reflection, and sparing a thought for those who have, or still do face adversity and intolerance just because of who they are or whose rights they want to champion.”


 

 


Oliver Entwistle, Chair of the Civil Service Rainbow Alliance said:

“I am really pleased that so many civil servants from across the UK came together to celebrate Pride in London on Saturday. It was a visible demonstration of the diversity of the Civil Service. For many years, civil servants were not able to be openly LGB in the workplace. That has now changed. Today, civil servants can not only be proud to come to work but proud to be out at work.”

He said that he was “looking forward to building on the success of this event as CSRA participates in Pride events across the UK.”

Kate Scott-Hughes, CSRA’s Vice-Chair and CPS LGBT Network Co-Chair, added:

“It was really inspiring to have so much support from across the Civil Service and from allies as well as LGBT people. It is so important that the Civil Service reflects the public we serve and on Saturday we demonstrated that we reflect LGBT communities too. That will make a difference to a significant proportion of the population.”

David O’Connor, chair of the Cabinet Office LGBT network, and co-ordinator for CSRA’s participation in Pride said that “it was fantastic to see so many departments and agencies coming together to represent the Civil Service on Saturday.

“We hope that the pride and enthusiasm shown on Saturday will continue through the coming year as CSRA and departmental networks continue to work together to make the Civil Service a place where LGB staff can truly feel comfortable and safe being themselves. A big thank you to everyone that was involved in organising the Civil Service participation, and to all those that showed their support and took part on the day”.

The Civil Service will be taking part in several other Pride events over the next month. You can register to attend here.


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