As part of celebrating Pride month and raising awareness of LGBT+ inclusion issues, colleague Annabelle Parker-Lynn, Retail Manager, shares her story and reflects on how things are changing.
When I came out 10 years ago, it wasn’t easy, especially for my family. However, the relationships did heal over time and things are now in a good place. I appreciate though that not everyone who comes out always has the love and support of their family.
I would certainly say that society is changing and becoming more open and accepting of people for who they are, without judgement.
For example, when I joined JMG around two years ago, I openly shared my personal situation within a few months. At previous companies, it had taken me a lot longer to open up for fear of ridicule or judgement. But at JMG, the culture felt different; more like a family. So when colleagues were chatting about what they did at the weekend and I was asked the question, instead of worrying about what to say, I just explained I spent it with my wife and daughter. I didn’t feel I needed to hide who I really was.
My daughter is 4 years old now, but when she was a baby, my wife and I would get the usual attention new babies seem to draw, when strangers come up in the street or park and want to chat. We’d get asked the question: “so where is the father?” But we’d explain that we’re two mummies and that was it. No one seemed to question it any further and the conversation would usually then trigger the usual baby-related questions about sleep, feeding and general wellbeing.
My daughter’s nursery is also brilliant about our family set-up. On Mother’s Day we get two cards made for us and on Father’s Day, our daughter makes cards for her grandads, as my wife and I have a great relationship with our dads. It’s brilliant that she is made to also feel included and not left out in anyway.
If I tell people I have a daughter, then there is still the assumption that I’m married to a man. However, I don’t take offence or think anything of this; it’s purely just an inquisitive question and I find most people I speak to are very accepting without judgement.