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Celebrating Pride: Liam’s Story

 

My name is Liam and I work in the Customer Experience Centre here at Yorkshire Housing. June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month and I would like to share my experience in my personal, and work-life as an openly gay man. I am fortunate enough to come from a very open-minded family, although I was brought up very Catholic and went to a convent high school. Coming out was something that truly terrified me, even having the family I had. Deep down I knew I would be accepted but there was that one part that always whispered “but what if they don’t?”.

Growing up, this whisper had a hold of me, and it wasn’t until I moved to Leeds for university that I came out to my whole family because I believed there was a slim chance of it going terribly wrong. I felt safer knowing I was 200 miles away. From growing up in a small conservative town in the South of England, to moving to a highly populated and diverse city for university was a huge eye-opener. Even though I was part of the LGBTQ+ community, I had never seen so many people that I could relate to and be so open with my identity, I knew that this is where I belong.

I have made so many gay, bisexual and transexual friends since moving to Leeds and looking back to 6 years ago, I have changed so much but I have changed into the person I am meant to be. As I mentioned, I am from a town in the south of England that is very conservative. Over the Christmas period I took my partner down to meet my family and it could not have gone better. However, being in public we did not display any affection to each other at all. We see news articles all the time of LBGTQ+ people getting beaten up, harassed and in extreme cases, murdered. Although we know that the vast majority of people will welcome us being ourselves, not everyone does. This is the case for the area I am originally from anyway but larger cities like Leeds are not the same and simple things such as holding hands feels safer than they would back home.

When I joined Yorkshire Housing I was fully aware of the core values; Create trust, Be curious, Make it happen, Achieve impact and Have fun. Just like joining any new company, I had no idea what people’s views are. Yes, we live in a world that is much more accepting than it was 50 odd years ago but there is still a while to go.

I have been with my partner for just under a year now and when speaking with new people in the company I will always say “my partner” rather than my “boyfriend”. In no way does this reflect Yorkshire Housing’s values towards LGBTQ+ colleagues, it is just something I always do when meeting new people. I know that with my managers, I always speak openly about my partner and am very comfortable with them.

I have worked for many companies in the past and I have never felt more comfortable being myself than at Yorkshire Housing. It truly sticks to its 5 values when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues. Pride month will always be a great time of year for myself and anyone else in the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate their identities together, and also allow allies to celebrate with us too.