Meet the Marketing Manager: Benn Moore
It's been about 6 years since I came out in my workplace and unfortunately it wasn't on my own terms as I would have liked. Thankfully for me, the news was met with an outpouring of support and encouragement from my peers and I now look back on that period quite fondly. However, the years leading up to that experience weren't quite as easy going on my mental well-being. The energy spent hiding, and in some respects denying such a big part of my life, ended up having a detrimental effect on my output at work and stifled a lot of the enjoyment I should have had in a dream job.
Since then a lot more has been done to make the LGBTQ+ community feel much more welcome in the workplace and great strides have been made towards equality on a global scale which is heartening to see. These encouraging developments are even more illuminated through June when Pride month comes around and companies pull out all the stops in showing their support for the wider community. It's an incredible expression of diversity and whilst it shines a light on the strong relationship between LGBTQ+ and their allies, it also highlights just how far there still is to go.
LinkedIn launched a research project this week to delve a bit deeper into UK workers, both LGBTQ+ and heterosexual, to highlight some of the issues that are still prevalent in the workplace. I had a chat with Sky News recently about this here. They found that 1 in 4 LGBTQ+ workers are not out at work. Half of these have no plans to be out in the future due to fear of judgement or hindering their chances of a promotion. 35% of LGBTQ+ respondents have heard or experienced homophobic comments at work with 21% having experienced verbal abuse themselves. Finally, 38% of the straight respondents felt their LGBTQ+ colleagues should only be open about their sexuality if it's appropriate for the working environment. It's stats like these that underline the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and that also shed light on the companies that do it well.
Benn being interviewed by Sky News
I've not been at Tandem long, 3 months in fact, but one thing I've noted since being here is the company-wide emphasis on creating a work environment where everyone feels comfortable. I'm not talking about the beanbags, table tennis or the marketing living room—though these things certainly help—but more about the efforts to make people feel comfortable in themselves. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that kicked off the LGBTQ+ movement and paved the road to today. A few of us expressed how great it would be to turn the Pride celebrations inwards in light of this milestone and curate some events where we could not only explore the incredible story and history as a company, but also spend some time celebrating each other's stories along the way.
As a result, we've already hosted a Tandem Pride Pub Quiz night to raise money for The Albert Kennedy Trust. I've had the chance to host a Lunch-and-Learn with the whole company to speak about the Stonewall journey and what it means to me. And even though Pride month is technically over, today we have the incredible Layton Williams (Everyone's Talking About Jamie) joining us to speak about his journey. And if that's not enough, on Saturday (London Pride Day) we're spending the morning together as a company for brunch before heading to Soho to celebrate.
Next week, once the rainbow flags have been taken down from the windows and the app store logos are back in their normal colours, it's important to keep things moving forward. We spend a lot of our time at work and our colleagues become a bit of a second family so ensuring everyone feels themselves in the workplace all year round is imperative. It's great to see so many companies going the extra mile to support their LGBTQ+ employees but it's even better to be working in one.