Jon Knight - Stonewall Allies Alumni
Head of Lifesaving & Fundraising, Royal National Lifeboat Institution
It is always jarred with my personal values to see people being held back or not accepted for just being who they are, but I didn’t really have the knowledge or experience to back this up and not be a bystander. Similarly, as a straight white man, I had no idea about my own biases and ways or that I might have been part of the problem.
If you are like me you would probably tell yourself you don’t care who people are and what they do with their lives outside of work, but it is not enough not to care.
I took part in Stonewall Aliies Programme which I found really eye-opening. The facilitators left no stone unturned, pushed past any ‘British stiff upper lip’ to have real debates and created an environment of reflection and honesty.
Since the programme, I have taken on the role of liaising with our LGBT+ Network and supported my team to find ways to promote their campaigns. The biggest lesson from the programme for me was to be more mindful of my use of language in conversation and emails to avoid accidentally excluding anyone.
If you have got this far you’re probably at least interested in the allies programme, all I can say is go and do it. If you are like me you would probably tell yourself you don’t care who people are and what they do with their lives outside of work, but it is not enough not to care. There is so much work to do everywhere to get LGBT people to feel included in the workplace and they need informed and passionate allies to help make this happen. This programme is the perfect start point on your own journey to change the world, or at very least, yourself.
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