Kate Lumetta, who is Co-Chair of the Employee Pride (LGBT) Network invited Families Together London to their offices. UBS has a programme called Straight Allies. This talk was to take place during Diversity Week at UBS and it was well advertised within the organisation. Kate had 70 people wishing to attend but sadly, because of major upheavals at UBS the previous week, lots of members of staff were absent – so – we ended up with 7 attendees! Still, I think Mary and I gave a good account of who we are and what we do regardless of the lack of participants.
Needless to say we did not use the podium, raised platform or microphone set up but just kept it very informal.Mary and I discussed how we would present our ‘piece’ and I set the ball a rolling by talking about FTL and how it has grown over the years and helped parents when they were at the end of their tether and then Mary gave her perspective on the complications surrounding religious beliefs whether they be Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu etc. We also talked about how to deal with being a supportive colleague when another colleague comes out. What to say and more importantly what not to say. Inclusion is very important and I gave an example. Monday morning comes and people gather around the coffee machine asking who has done what over the weekend. It is important for a gay member of staff to feel able to say openly that he/she and his/her partner had a great time staying at a cottage in the Cotswolds and had great walks and super dinner at the local pub instead of steering away from the gathering and feeling excluded.
It was amazing that although there were so few people present the hour went by extremely quickly and Kate emailed us to say what a valuable session it had been.UBS made a very generous donation to FTL of £300 which will cover the costs of three meetings at Battersea.