At Atalian Servest, we recognise that our most valuable asset is our diverse workforce. CHROMA is committed to ensuring our colleagues feel valued, included and able to reach and exceed their potential.
In celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month, we asked the LGBTQ+ CHROMA committee members to share an individual they found inspiring. From politicians and journalists to mathematicians and singers, it is without a doubt that the LGBTQ+ community has made a stamp on our history.
Melissa Etheridge is inspiring to me, her music helped me through the time of ‘my coming out’ at the grand old age of 35!
Melissa Etheridge came out as a lesbian, despite the then music scene being mostly unaccepting of Gay and Lesbian artists. Melissa told her record label about her sexuality and they didn’t flick an eyelid, they produced her records because she sang great country music. Her album ‘Yes I Am’, produced in 1993, ultimately became her coming out album.
Melissa’s story shows the importance of people being true to themselves and having good people to support them. I would love to believe that one day soon, an individual’s sexuality is of no concern and is an every-day acceptance.
Angela Page, Lesbian Rep
For me, it’s Alan Turing. He is acknowledged as one of the most innovative and powerful thinkers of the 20th century, for his pivotal role in breaking the Enigma code during World War Two.
But, in 1952, just 11 years after the code was cracked, Alan Turing was prosecuted for homosexual acts. He accepted chemical castration treatment instead of prison but, sadly committed suicide just before his 42nd birthday.
In 2013, Turing received a posthumous royal pardon, and in 2017, ‘Turing’s Law’ was introduced. Turing’s Law saw thousands of gay and bisexual men convictions overturned; the historic moment was a real step forwards in the fight for equality for the LGBTQ+ community.
Mark Hawkins, Gay and Bi-Sexual Committee Rep
Billie Jean King
As an avid tennis fan, it would have to be Billie Jean King; one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Her achievements on the tennis court are well known, however, off court she also raised large sums to fight AIDS, contributed funds to combat homophobia in schools, and supported efforts to stem gay and lesbian teenage suicide rates.
She has been awarded many accolades in her fight for gay rights. Most notably, she created the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative to help create a more inclusive workplace that will ensure equal pay and encourage self-expression
Kelly Howell, HR Director
I am inspired by Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California, United States. He defied critics and stood-up to protect and further the rights of those identifying as LGBTQ+.
Shortly after being elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, he famously said: “If a gay can win, it means there is hope that the system can work for all minorities if we fight. We’ve given them hope.” Harvey is an iconic figure and has inspired countless others to run for public office across the world.
Personally, Harvey has inspired me to fight for my beliefs and to not be afraid of those that put me down or target me because of my sexuality.
Thomas Howard, Events and Social Rep
Paris Lees, an English journalist, presenter and Trans Rights activist is inspiring to me.
She topped The Independent on Sunday’s 2013 Pink List, came second in the 2014 Rainbow List, and was awarded the Positive Role Model Award for LGBT in the 2012 National Diversity Awards. She is the first trans columnist in Vogue and to present shows on BBC Radio 1 and Channel 4.
Lees, working with Trans Media Watch, challenged Channel 4 to remove transphobic material from its broadcasts, and consulted with the channel for its documentary called My Transsexual Summer.
She currently works with All About Trans, a project that tries to bring together journalists and other media professionals with those with identify as transgender.
Joe Fletcher, Human Resources and Trans Rep
One of the people who inspires me in the LBGTQ+ world is Ellen DeGeneres. She came out as gay in 1997 through a ground-breaking episode of her sitcom, Ellen, be
coming the first lead character of a TV series to announce she was gay. Despite the significant backlash she received, Ellen went on to have a great impact on LGBTQ+ performers, inspiring many people to follow in her footsteps.
Normalising being gay should never be undervalued and I hope for the day when ‘coming out’ isn’t needed and instead, everyone can just be themselves.
Michaela Talbott, Women’s and Lesbian Rep
A great hero of mine is Davie Bowie, as well as being remembered for being the epitome of cool and a real musical icon, he will also be remembered for redefining sexuality.
Bowie told the world he was gay while on the cusp of fame in 1972, with homosexuality only being legalised a few years prior. Four years later, he famously told Playboy magazine that he was bisexual and, that it was the best thing that had ever happened to him. Later, he told Rolling Stone magazine that he had always been a closet heterosexual.
Regardless of how Bowie identified his sexuality, it is clear that he was a revolutionary icon for pushing the boundaries of what was and wasn’t acceptable.
Des Gorman, Men’s Rep