What Pride means to me


As part of the August Herts Pride celebrations, some HCC staff members are kindly sharing what Pride means to them and some of their own LGBT+ workplace experiences and advice.

Katy (she/her) is part of Children’s Services and a proud LGBT+ member of staff. Katy shares more about the council’s LGBT+ staff network group and LGBT+ Allies Scheme and how these can help colleagues feel safe to be themselves.

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride is a time where I feel empowered. I take the time to remember those who fought for our rights and paved the way for us, and to acknowledge that there is still a long way to go. I’ve learnt more about Stonewall and have felt so inspired by our community. It gives me strength.

What do you remember about your first Pride event?

I went to London Pride in 2019 with my best friend, who wasn’t out at the time. I felt overwhelmed in the best way and whilst I understand that some people may not feel ready to go to an event like that (now or ever, especially with Covid), for me it was an incredibly positive experience that I’ve thought about often since then. The atmosphere was incredible and I felt proud to be who I am, surrounded by others who felt the same way.

What makes you proud as an LGBT+ staff member?

I am proud to be an LGBT+ member of staff and to wear my rainbow lanyard. This has started so many conversations with colleagues and I feel that it helps to make service users feel more comfortable too. When I wear my rainbow lanyard at work, I feel I am being true to myself and that makes me feel proud. Seeing colleagues wearing rainbow lanyards makes me feel as though I am part of something bigger than myself.

Why is it important to you to be part of the LGBT+ staff network group and what do you value about it?

I feel being part of the network helps me to feel less isolated. I don’t feel I have to hide who I am and that makes me feel valued as a member of staff, as well as improving my confidence. We’re a friendly non-judgemental group who keep in regular contact via emails and Yammer, and events often take place too.

Can you explain what the LGBT+ Allies scheme is at HCC?

The LGBT+ Allies Scheme is in place to support and/or advocate for LGBT+ people, both members of staff and service users. When you join the LGBT+ Allies Scheme, you are given a rainbow lanyard which you are encouraged to wear. This is to ensure that LGBT+ allies are a visible presence in the workplace, helping staff and service users feel safe to be themselves.

What message of support/advice would you give to anyone unable to be out to friends, family and colleagues?

I would like to say that there is no rush, that you don’t ever have to come out if you don’t feel ready, that coming out is a process and a choice that you continue to make throughout your life. Keeping parts of yourself secret doesn’t mean those parts don’t exist, so if you feel safer not sharing whichever labels you feel fit you best, that’s completely fine. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. That is a gift you can choose to share with others.

For some, coming out can be a slow process – a process that takes forever, because you can’t just flip a switch and come out to everyone who you’ll ever meet.

I want to reassure you that it doesn’t matter where other people are on their journey. Everyone is on a different path and you have to make the choices that are right for you. It’s important that you feel comfortable and safe. You are valid no matter what.

This page was added on 26/08/2022.

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