Following from Pride this weekend & to conclude Pride month, Sam Harrison, Group Development Director at Maximus shared his worklife journey as an out gay person, read via the Balance website HERE

Each year, the world is splashed with a rainbow of colour in June to welcome Pride Month, a significant celebration of how far the LGBTQ+ community has come since the Stonewall riots took place in 1969.

Sadly, there are still people, organisations, and specific countries where being gay is either illegal, frowned upon, or criminalised, which is why it is so important to recognise this community annually during Pride Month. “Pride has evolved for me personally from a celebration of who I identify as, as a young man to now supporting those who are still on their journey of coming out and accepting themselves”, says Sam Harrison, Group Development Director at Maximus, who identifies as a gay man. “We still need Pride Month around the world to hold up a mirror to those who are against us to reflect the standard of humanity we should be accepting; it’s not a criminal act, it’s purely people expressing themselves as the truest versions of themselves”.

Harrison started his career over 15 years ago, spending 10 of those years running branches of high-profile estate agencies in central London. “On my first day in my first job, my boss said to me, “Now, I don’t want you chasing any skirt in the office,” in my induction. At that stage, I was living as a gay man, I was out to my family and friends, and I was socialising with my friends as a gay man, but in my workplace, that one comment meant that for the next 12 months of my employment, I felt in a shadow, and it reminded me just how simple, non-malicious comments can actively harm people’s feelings of themselves and their safety around coming out”.

Maximus, is an independent out-of-home media owner that prides itself on recognising valuable talent and offers it’s employees the utmost support to excel within their careers. “Our founder Ashley Smatt’s key mantra is ‘Think Free, Make a Difference’, and to ‘Think Free’, you have to feel comfortable and safe to express yourself”. According to the charity Stonewall, over a third of LGBTQ+ people feel they need to hide who they are at work, and one in five feel that being LGBTQ+ limits their job opportunities. “Pride shines a light on the continued need to support people in the workplace, enabling all to thrive. If you create the right supportive culture, your people can be the loudest in the room; if you’re people are not supported correctly, they might be the quietest person in the room”.

Speaking about his experience of coming out in the workplace, Harrison touches on how times have shifted to become more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. “It was scary in my early career to be an out gay person. However, I’m pleased to say I’ve benefited both professionally and personally from the advances over the last 50 years since stonewall and all the Pride marches with societies continued evolution”. As the world reflects on how far LGBTQ+ rights have come, the community continues to strive for a future where every voice is heard and accepted.

Read the full article on Balance OOH website HERE