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Celebrating LGBT+ Pride month at Oxford Job Centre

Mark gives us an insight into the Oxford Job Centre pride celebrations.

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By Mark Lambert

Mark is currently the Civil Service LGBT+ lead for South East England and a DWPride Committee Member and Lead for Southern England.

Today at Oxford Job Centre (24 June 2020) we celebrated LGBT Pride month.

I felt it was important to mark this event as normally LGBT + communities and their allies would be marking the occasion by parading and partying throughout this month. Obviously, this was not going to happen this year, but I thought it was important that the occasion was still recognised.

I decorated the ground floor of our job centre with 10 different flags from our some of our various communities (these flags included the standard Rainbow flag, the BAME Rainbow flag, as well as flags representing, Asexual, Bisexual, Pansexual, Trans, Gender Non Binary and Gender Fluid communities).

Inviting our colleagues throughout the Oxfordshire Job Centre Cluster along with our Counter Fraud and Compliance Debt Colleagues, myself and my colleague Kate, co-presented 45 minutes of quizzes (a picture round featuring famous LGBT+ people, multiple choice round featuring famous LGBT+ people and events, and a music round with performers coming from LGBT+ communities and their allies).

I also gave a talk at the beginning of the session arguing why events such as Pride are still needed as despite having more equality in law as this is not always recognised in everyday life.

For example:

  • 19% of LGBT+ employees have experienced verbal bullying because of their sexual orientation;
  • 26% of LGBT+ workers are not open to their colleagues about their sexual orientation;
  • 42% of Trans people are not permanently living in their preferred gender role and feel they are prevented from doing do because they fear it might threaten their employment.

(Source Stonewall 2019)

Luckily here at the DWP we have themes such as “I can be me in DWP” and “ bring your true self to work” and also with 2020 being the Civil Service Year of inclusion and high profile Civil Service Initiatives such “PrideON”, I think we are certainly progressing as an employer here, but we still have a way to go and unfortunately there will always be some pockets of resistance that need to be challenged as we go forward.

PrideON is a programme of digital events and content across the month of June to help celebrate Pride in the Civil Service. Do you have a digital event or content that you want us to share? Contact us.