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I’ve been working at Lloyds Bank for 16 years, and have always been proudly gay, but five years ago I felt it was time for me to be even more visible in supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Rainbow, our colleague network is a community for LGBTQ+ colleagues and allies at Lloyds Bank. As soon as I joined, I was instantly able to connect with others like me. That year I also attended my first Pride event representing Lloyds Bank. I clicked with so many colleagues and realised that there was still more we could do to amplify the Rainbow Network further, locally and nationally. 

During lockdown, we had to think of a totally new approach to celebrate Pride and feel connected as a community, especially as we had big plans to celebrate our Rainbow Network’s 10th anniversary. More than ever, it was important to stay connected. 

So we’ve gone virtual and launched a series of events which span over 10 weeks to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Rainbow. As part of this, I hosted a History of Pride session for colleagues, showcasing the people and stories that have shaped and defined our community over a number of years.

In order to keep looking forward, it’s just as important to look back, so we can learn and progress as a community.  

We looked at the needs of different communities and why hosting a diverse range of Pride events is so crucial to their growth and recognition; events like UK Black Pride, Muslim Pride and Bi Pride UK. People sometimes need reminding why Pride started and that it’s so much more than a big party or parade. Over the tumultuous past few months in lockdown, many of us have taken time to reflect, so we knew that it was more important than ever to take our colleagues back to where it all started; the Stonewall uprising with Marsha P. Johnson and other brave queer and trans people of colour. We also had a speaker from Open Doors London, one of our charity partners who spoke movingly about her experience of 30 years of Pride and how the movement continues to change and grow. In order to keep looking forward, it’s just as important to look back, so we can learn and progress as a community.  

I’m proud to be recognised by Lloyds Bank as an LGBTQ+ Role Model for my contribution to supporting LGBTQ+ customer and colleagues. During lockdown, our community’s needs were magnified, but staying connected through virtual events and celebrations, it really has made us stronger. Every member of our LGBTQ+ community is now more visible than ever.