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Fran Giles, Heath and Safety Advisor and Secretary of Pride@Grosvenor
I am very happily out (as I have spent far too long hiding my true self away) and my key identifiers are Bisexual, GenderFluid and Polyamorous. My pronouns are she / her. It has taken me nearly my whole life to work out who I am, but I have finally managed it!
In addition, I have many trans friends and so I am aware of the struggles that they face to be accepted. I have often helped my trans friends with makeup tips and lent them clothes and shoes (as I have size 12 feet!).
I am usually someone who works and lives in the background, but I feel it is important to encourage people to be their true selves (whatever that is) and so I am coming out into the “light” to share my story and join the Pride@Grosvenor network.
I am very excited for the launch of Pride@Grosvenor – it shows very clearly that our global company supports diversity and inclusion as it works to support its staff in their endeavours to be themselves. With the network we can provide support for employees with any LGBTQ+ issues or challenges – and there are contact details available that any member of staff can use to have a chat with someone who will be there to support them. These supporters are happy to talk to anyone – you don’t have to be in the LGBTQ+ community to contact us.
I believe Pride@Grosvenor will help all our colleagues, both LGBTQ+ and allies, across the whole of the Grosvenor Estate.
James Manning, Social Impact Lead and Chair of Pride@Grosvenor
Before I joined Grosvenor last year, I was very apprehensive. I had not heard many positive stories of being gay in the property sector and I was having second thoughts about joining Grosvenor at all. How would I share the fact that, shortly after joining the business, I was getting married to a man?
As it turns out I had no need for anxiety. I couldn’t have asked for a better response from my new team and colleagues across the business. Everyone I spoke with was welcoming and supportive; even organising a pre-wedding drinks event and inviting my fiancé.
Whilst my own experience of being openly gay within this sector has so far been positive, I recognise that not everyone’s experiences of being LGBTQ+ in the property industry is. Not only that, but in a sector that lacks diversity and has a poor reputation for inclusion it can be very difficult to attract and retain individuals who could contribute to improving the D&I within the industry.
That is why I am delighted to be helping set up a Pride network at Grosvenor. Pride@Grosvenor is an important opportunity for Grosvenor to not only support its staff (both LGBTQ+ and allies) but also to send a clear message to people who might think that the property sector is not for them. It is so important that we celebrate diversity no matter what form that might take. Together we can change perceptions and build a more inclusive culture both within our business but also within our industry.
Jenna McKenzie, Health and Safety Administrator in Eaton
Kicking off with a cabaret evening in one of the city’s gorgeous old church buildings which is now used as a creative space, Chester Pride 2022’s main event was a two-day mini festival and Pride march in the city centre. Now I would love to say that I signed up to be a Pride volunteer for only the right reasons….but I was also openly excited about dressing up as a rainbow.
The volunteer job lists began with some physically demanding tasks on one of the hottest days the UK has ever seen, but volunteers from companies, sports groups and other charities around Chester turned up in force, collectively making a huge difference by the end of the ‘set up’ day. The site was ready for traders, wellbeing organisations, performers and parade participants.
The parade day was even hotter…this did not hinder the efforts of the parade goers who arrived in droves, some wearing the most colourful, creative, outrageously gorgeous and flamboyant outfits Chester has ever seen. Even a brief bomb scare, an unwanted reminder that ‘care-free’ can’t be afforded at these events and which saw the entire site being temporarily evacuated, didn’t dampen the celebratory atmosphere. It was just a dodgy looking gas canister and, the parade went ahead as planned. Although not before I tried to stop the bomb squad entering the event area because I thought they were just punters trying to get in – I’m not gonna live that down.
Following up the rear of the parade as a marshal, I felt hugely proud of this city, seeing the thousands that gathered along the closed roads of the city centre, waving rainbows, chanting pro LGBTQ+ slogans, singing, supporting, filming, masking the signs and shouts of protestors, and (best of all) holding their children up so they see and join in. Nothing makes me tear up more than mass community spirit, so if you see any pics of a marshal wearing rainbow leggings and crying whilst smiling, dancing, and waving a rainbow parasol around, send them onto me cos I didn’t actually manage to get any pictures of myself!
A fortnight of fantastic firsts for me: First Pride event, first parade participation, first time being part of a human chain (required to move a mountain of beer crates into the booze tent), first time shedding tears (of pride) in front of hundreds of people, first blog.
I had the best weekend and what I am taking away from this experience is the fridge magnet quote, in a world where you can be anything, be kind. Also, that I’m still learning, accept I will always be and that nothing feels better than standing together regardless of who we are, being proud and in alliance.
Lots of love, from one Proud Ally
Partnering with LGBTQ+ charities to educate young people within Westminster and Chester on diversity and inclusion
Thinking Film's project to share the experiences of LGBT people across Merseyside to confront the homophobia and intolerance across the city.