Monday, 16 November 2015

LGBT professionals

I guess I’m an LGBT professional, but being self-employed and still using my male credentials for work means I’m not really ‘out’. But I’d like to mention some of those who’ve made the bold, brave step of coming out in employment and are thereby making the reality of trans life better known.

This post was prompted by a special feature in London’s Financial Times of October 20th, entitled “Executive Diversity”, featuring a number of articles about top executives who are gay or trans and what it means for corporations and multinationals.

The centre spread is an excellent article by my friend Pippa who manages, in just 700 words, to explain trans life and diversity to non-trans people and the usefulness to companies of having their LGBT employees ‘out’ at work. Pippa, whom I see a lot and whom I’ve presented as the ultimate party girl in this blog, is also a VP of banking multinational Crédit Suisse. Gender fluid, she works as Pippa or Phil, as arranged with her employer.

Last week she also gave a presentation at the Credit Suisse office in London’s docklands on the same subject, attended by some 300 professionals.

Amy Stanning, who’s been out with us to lunch in the past, is with Barclays Bank and the Financial Times defines her as a leading LGBT executive. This is fantastic.

The financial sector used to be a bastion of macho culture and privilege but after innumerable failings, certainly in British industrial tribunal cases brought by women in particular, but LGBT people also, this sector has had to change and here’s a living example of just how, incredible as it may seem. Well done, Pippa and Amy.

I should also mention the trans candidates for the general election back in the spring who are also showing that we really can and do participate in society like anyone else, especially Stella Gardiner who did brilliantly in the Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency, nearly tripling her party’s share of the vote since the last election (and this despite some very nasty abuse from the USA, like a domestic election is anyone else’s business!) Thanks for your efforts, Stella, and for putting yourself out there. 

Sue x


  1. That all sounds like brilliant news, if I may say. The part about her employer, being okay with Pippa or Phil, is interesting. I've heard from a companies, that this makes them nervous. Not so much around the trans / gender fluid elements, but the apparent lack of laws that can protect people. Still, if enough people carry on living, let's hope HR and policy catches up.

    1. Thanks, Lynn. I couldn't actually believe what Pippa was telling me about her work situation the last few times we've met. But there it is in the national press and paraded in City LGBT events. I do feel it helps her that she is very senior in her organisation, and Amy Stanning, too, for that matter. I am still sceptical as I suspect a junior might find it harder, whatever the official line might be. There are specific laws in the UK against racism, but other forms of discrimination still require the victim to make all the effort to present a well-evidenced complaint. Maybe that will change (and many discrimination cases lost by the corporate world have largely contributed to this change of approach), but this positive step may mean that legislation against LGBT discrimination becomes unnecessary because one day the fact that someone is trans (or gay or black or older or whatever) will not be an issue with anyone. Sue x