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Paul Kett: It is more important than ever that we are supporting one another

This month we hear from Civil Servants about allyship and how to be a good ally.

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By Paul Kett

Paul Kett is the Director General for the Higher Education and Further Education Group, at the Department for Education

Like so many things these past months, Pride has looked and felt very different this year, shifting to primarily online events – and given the rich LGBT+ culture we have, film, music and literature seem to have played an even more important role this year.

As an ally these events are important – personally they provide moments for me to connect with those who are LGBT+ and to understand the good, the bad and indifferent of peoples experiences, and generally to improve my own understanding of LGBT+ colleagues working at DfE. These events also provide an opportunity for me to signal my support – both at the events and in talking about them with colleagues afterwards. So in the absence of being able to ‘turn up’, I turn to a blog!

My allyship has focused on helping ensure DfE is a truly inclusive and supportive place, so everyone can be themselves at work. Though in our current context of our all working from home has shown a new challenge – and the importance of considering that to be truly inclusive at work is more than about our place of work. I’ve found some LGBT+ colleagues for whom being at home during this period has been incredibly difficult as their home environment is not one where they can be themselves, or they don’t have access to the community that gives them support. Indeed for some it was that work was a place where they could be themselves and that social element of the workplace has been hugely missed. And so it is more important than ever that we are supporting one another – and it is something I have been immensely proud of the way colleagues across DfE have been checking in with one another, and providing a kind and supportive place to chat even when that has to be on a teams or phone call rather than in person.

Introducing our new resources for allies. Want to be a good ally to your LGBT+ colleagues? We’ve produced and collated a range of resources to help you.