We’ve asked civil servants to blog about why it’s important to #beyourself this Pride. Kris McKeown works for Disclosure Scotland and writes about why being an LGBT Ally is important.
I have always been a believer in the notion that you do not have to be part of a particular gender, race, religion or sexuality in order to have empathy and affinity with those who are.
Additionally, I am of the belief that you do not have to be part of a group to be offended, upset by and want to challenge abuse or ill-treatment of that particular group.
I wanted to express those beliefs and attempt to put them to practical use rather than simply being internal feelings. I feel I have a duty as someone who is in a majority group to support people who are in the minority, rather simply paying lip service to my stance on these issues. This is not through any guilt or privilege, but from a moral purpose.
From a more personal perspective, this is why I wanted to be an LGBTI Ally when the opportunity presented itself to me:
An ex-colleague of mine, a gay man, was once subject to a homophobic remark from a Line Manager. He was very upset by it and I was shocked at what was said to him, especially from someone in a position of authority.
He said that because of the remark that was made and the attitude expressed by a higher grade, that he would always feel like one of ‘them’ (outwith the team) as opposed to one of ‘us’ (within the team). I considered the notion of being considered second class or inferior because of one aspect of my life, my sexuality and the thought was horrendous. This feeling never left me.
If you cannot be yourself at work, you cannot fully be yourself at all. If I can only ever make just one person never feel like my ex-colleague, then being an Ally will have been utterly worthwhile.