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21 June 2024
Embracing authenticity: The journey to LGBTQ+ inclusion
This year to celebrate Pride Month, we wanted to give a voice to M&G colleagues who have a story to share about why LGBTQ+ voices are important.

 Colin SmithColin Smith, Real Estate VAT Senior Manager, told us how bringing your whole self to work matters to him.

For me it is a hard won privilege because it wasn’t possible or easy in previous jobs. When I first started a relationship with another man I avoided discussion with colleagues, even those I worked with closely, about what I did at the weekend. If I did, I referenced only 'I' not 'we' and occasionally, much later, 'my partner', although even that became a loaded term, inviting knowing looks and further questions.

So, I rarely met colleagues outside of work. Invites to external functions were politely refused, and group discussions about husbands, wives, families, home, pastimes were avoided. Instead, I focused on revealing nothing because of the thought that someone in that group doesn’t like you. Maybe you’ll be the exception they use to say things like “I think it’s wrong, but I work with one and he’s alright.”

So much brain power devoted to not revealing myself to people I couldn't really trust with the knowledge.

We know that homophobic people exist, because if we hide ourselves well enough, we hear them. Homophobic locker room banter always comes out of the closet when people think it’s not being watched.

In the 1980's and 1990's, the peak of the AIDS crisis, it was quite normal for high profile individuals to be outed in tabloids, with reputations and careers ruined. Hollywood stars, rock musicians, artists, business people, and celebrated national treasures. With every death or announcement, LGBTQ+ people became more visible and less easy to ignore, but also easier to fear and hate. Thousands died, and the perception was that if you’re gay, you probably have AIDS, and I probably shouldn’t shake hands with you.

But as people found out that LGBTQ+ people were their brothers and sisters, parents, children and friends, we became harder to ignore. We’re no longer an abstract group defined by what we do in the bedroom. Gradually, successive governments repealed laws and allowed us to be affectionate in public, commit to each other, adopt children and even die with the one we love at our side. It’s something which was denied to so many victims of AIDS because we couldn’t be ‘next of kin’.

In 2014, I married my husband, Eric, and many of my M&G colleagues were there to celebrate with us. I’m proud of how far we’ve come and where we are now, and confident that I can bring my true self to work at M&G.






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M&G plc is a company incorporated and with its principal place of business in England, and its affiliated companies constitute a leading savings and investments business. M&G plc is the direct parent company of The Prudential Assurance Company Limited. The Prudential Assurance Company Limited is not affiliated in any manner with Prudential Financial, Inc, a company whose principal place of business is in the United States of America or Prudential plc, an international group incorporated in England and Wales.

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