My personal experiences as an LGBTQ+ individual
Hi, my name is Jen. I’m a financial auditor, musician, a dog pawrent, and a member of the Lesbian,Gay,Bisexual,Transgender,Queer (LGBTQ+) community.
In light of it being pride month, I thought I should share some of my experiences. Emphasis here on the ‘my’ – I am very aware that each person’s experience as a LGBTQ+ individual can be very different.
I knew I was gay from as far back as I can remember. However, it wasn’t until the middle of primary school that I made the discovery that not everyone thought the same as me (shockhorror!). That was the moment I realised that I was different to many of my peers and so began my journey of figuring out what the hell that meant.
I grew up in the 90s-00s when the term ‘gay’ was still being widely used as a put down and where Ellen DeGeneres was the most prominent lesbian celebrity (I guess some things don’t change).
This negative connotation with the word gay made me think that my sexuality was not something that would be accepted by my peers and so I hid this part of myself until I was 16. How well I did at ‘hiding’ this is another story!
My mid to late teens saw the beginning of a shift in the media with more gay characters being brought into tv programmes (before being killed off a few episodes later!) and the ‘emo’ music movement (look it up!) bringing more acceptability to the idea of sexual fluidity, gender fluidity and bad hairstyles. This was also the time that I found a website called after Ellen (guess who it was named after?!). This was the mecca of lesbian content which directed you to film and television shows, music, web series and much more. Heterosexual people see themselves reflected back at them in a majority of media content so to see people like me in films and such was a revelation. Looking back, I cannot put enough emphasis on how finding this website helped me in accepting my sexuality and providing me with the confidence to come out to my family and friends.
I was lucky that my friends and family were so supportive of me and treated me no different after finding out that I was gay. However, I thought after coming out that that was it – that I’d never have to come out again. Boy was I wrong! Every single time I meet a new person I have to come out all over again. I have particularly struggled with this in the workplace where you never really know if people will accept you.
Again, I have been extremely fortunate to have been supported by my colleagues in every organisation I have worked for. However, Audit Wales is the first organisation I have been part of that not only welcomes but actively promotes LGBTQ+ issues as well as a number of other issues through a number of internal communications mechanisms including lunch and learns, regular intranet articles, networks and such. I think sometimes it can seem that we talk a lot about these issues in Audit Wales, if you do not identify as LGBTQ+ but as someone who does identify in that way, I can tell you that it means so much to know that you are supported.
We have moved forward so much since I was young(er) yet there is still a distance to go until being LGBTQ+ is as everyday as making your cup of coffee in the morning, and until you can go out in public with your partner without having to think twice about your actions.
You do not have to understand the ins and outs of the LGBTQ+ community, we only ask for you, to be accepting of our community, to learn when you can, and to try not to judge or make fun of people for things that may seem silly or trivial to you – they may mean a huge deal to somebody else
About the Author
Jennie Morris is a Senior Auditor within the Financial Audit team. She joined Audit Wales in 2016 as a graduate trainee after graduating from Cardiff Metropolitan University