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Blog on Together LGBTQ+ Inclusion Group for Pride Month 2022 by Head of Operations and Development Matina Marougka

Posted on 13, June 2022

This June I am even prouder to identify as an LGBTQ+ person.

I am proud that I am in a loving relationship that has survived the challenges Covid put on all of us.

I am proud that I have friends and family who do not view my relationship as different because my partner is same sex as me.

I am proud that my mum has finally met my partner and has started seeing her as the person I chose to be with, no judgements or unnecessary labels attached.

This June I am even prouder, as I belong to an organisation that sees past my LGBTQ+ identity. An organisation that does not treat me differently to any other employees. Within Together, I can proudly talk about who I am and what I can bring to the organisation.

It has been some time since we, Together employees, were given the chance to talk about what matters to us most in terms of our identities and what support we need from the organisation. As a result, a number of inclusion groups were created following our suggestions. These group represent our different identities and are not based strictly on the protected characteristics. There are numerous of them at present: accessibility and additional learning needs, Black staff and staff from Ethnic Minorities, carers outside work, gender inequalities, lived experience of mental distress, peri-menopause and menopause, physical health, and for course the LGBTQ+ group I am a member of. The list is growing…

Facilitated by our Inclusion Manager, my group meets regularly to discuss what is important to us and make recommendations to the organisation on what needs to change. We have been looking at the Gender Identity policy, for example. Each group sends a representative to the quarterly organisational Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) steering group, where our CEO listens to the issues we present to her, based on our experiences, as well as the suggested solutions. Action plans are formed and all of us involved collaborate to bring change.

Working for a charity means that things usually happen quite quickly, there is less red tape and more flexibility. My group suggested two things that were actioned immediately: we wanted to raise awareness across the organisation about LGBTQ+ matters and asked that our logo changes to the Pride one. With this in mind, all employees were encourage to replace the original one with this for the whole of June. It has been encouraging to see the uptake!

The second thing we wanted was an organisational lanyard that has the rainbow colours. This was particularly important to those of us who work in frontline support, as we want to ensure that our service users understand we value diversity, we do not discriminate and are inclusive of everyone. It is also an important message to give to other organisations we work with: we are proud at Together of everyone that works for us, we want people to bring their whole self at work and feel supported to do so. I can’t wait to receive the new lanyard, which I will very proudly wear at the office.

June is not only a Pride month for me. June is a month I celebrate my time at Together, I joined the organisation 13 years ago and still counting. This journey has taken me to my current role as a Head of Operations and Development for our Advocacy and Criminal Justice service.

This June I am proud to be part of Together and be able to contribute to all these initiatives to bring positive change and create positive employee experiences.

This June I will proudly wear my new organisational lanyard.