21JUN Acosta Pride: Ollie’s view
In part two of our Pride mini-series, Ollie Eden – one of Acosta Europe’s HR Administrators – talks to us about the pressures of continuously coming out at work and the support needed to make workplaces open, respectful and positive for all employees.
“Coming out as LGBTQ+ can always be difficult, but for a lot of people it is even harder at work. We spend the majority of our lives here, and more often than not spend more time with our colleagues than we do our own family. It is therefore vital that companies create a space and culture where everyone can be open and be their authentic self.
Every time I’ve started a new job I’ve dreaded coming out all over again – even if no one has given me a specific reason to feel unsafe or judged for being me. I didn’t have the chance to have these worries when I joined Acosta Europe though. I found an ally on my first day, well actually she showed me around the office at my second interview and I’m 99% sure she knew then.
It is a great help when joining a company to know that there are allies and other LGBTQ+ colleagues, it instantly made me feel more comfortable being open about my personal life. Being in the HR Team allows me to contribute to this open, respectful culture in the form of advice, input into policies and being able to influence our people agenda. Everything adds up to help you feel positive about the company you work for and that is something that is really important to me.
Outside of work though, the world is still a scary place and there is arguably a long way to go before full acceptance and equality is achieved. The fact that it is still illegal to be gay in 71 countries, equal marriage is still not law in Northern Ireland and people are being attacked – simply for being who they are and for expressing themselves – demonstrates how far we still need to progress.
If anything, Pride month this year should be to celebrate yourself, celebrate your colleagues, friends and family. Let everyone know they are loved and appreciated – show them that their contribution to both work and society is valued.”