On pride month, I’ve been reflecting on what significance it holds for me. What feels important to me at this moment?
Like most values-based organisations at The Wellbeing Collective we’ve been really immersing ourselves into what it means to work well with difference and diversity. For us, the content of our discussions has been mainly about race and culture; we do not want to shy away from, of be afraid of, difficult discussions at this important moment in our shared world history. That said, we’ve long celebrated difference and diversity in our team; the pride of having members of our team who are from the LBGTQ+ community has really enriched our shared experience of what it means to be different. We are part of our own diverse community.
In this context, I’ve been personally challenged around the behaviours that I, as a gay man, have often displayed to meet heteronormative expectations. I’d never really thought about it a lot previously, in fact it probably has been something hidden from my immediate awareness. It’s only in our conversations around race that I’ve also noticed how I’ve often adapted to fit in, to perhaps hide away something of myself, that I have somehow felt oppressed. I notice this often when others are talking about their family life, and I have something that stops me from talking about mine. In fact, the intersection between the experience of those behaving differently because of their race and mine somehow feel closer than I expected. I know this is my personal challenge, many really value ‘me for me’, but it’s sometimes that feeling that there’s ‘something in the air’ that stops me from being really who I want to be.
On pride month we have a lot to celebrate and value, but as I have reflected, I would encourage you to do so to. My goal is to work on actively being proud of who I am, proud of my own rich family life, to speak out about who I am, to be proud of my identity, to embrace my difference as I strive to do so in others. If there something I have taken away from this last year is that it is not good enough to say we embrace difference, we must actively do something about it and ‘call it out’ in ourselves and others when we see that this is not happening. That is my task and I hope it is yours too!
Tim Coupland, Consultant, TWBC.