TRIGGER WARNING: This article discusses the topic of suicide
The reason it is called Pride is opposed to shame and social stigma that historically LGBTQI+ individuals have been suffering from. The main symbol of Pride is a rainbow flag to reflect the diversity of the movement and denote the spectrum of gender and sexuality.
Celebrating Pride has a deeper meaning than simply wearing the colours of the rainbow. The colours and the calendar celebration are also there to make us think about the difference each one of us can make in someone else’s life. Sometimes a hug, a smile and a friendly word are all it takes.
We believe in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of all individuals regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and marital or civil partnership status.
We are sharing the following testimony from one of our colleagues with you to help raise awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion during the #Pridemonth.
Proud of Pride.
When the rainbow loses colour
I’ve been working in HR for 8 years now, helping build a culture of DE&I and wellbeing: it’s one of the key areas of my role here in Ventient. But last year something happened that made me think back to my time at university, and to Miguel.
If I’m honest, I didn’t know him very well. I mean we lived in the same city, studied at the same university, and had several mutual friends – both in real life and online through Facebook – but I didn’t really know him on a personal level.
He seemed to be a popular guy, enjoying life, surrounded by beautiful people having a good time and, looking in from the outside, you might have been envious of his life.
Last year, while browsing my Facebook feed, I noticed several friends were using black squares as their profile pictures and when I looked to see why, I discovered Miguel had died. I was shocked – he was about my age, and I had no idea what had happened.
Talking with my friends, I found out he had committed suicide, and the motive was linked to his sexual orientation: he was gay and had been rejected by his family because of this.
Miguel was one of thousands of LGBTQ+ teenagers and young adults who suffer from depression and anxiety and end up attempting suicide because of a society that didn’t embrace their diversity. A quick Google search is enough to easily understand that this is a serious issue. According to statistics from 2020, less than half of LGBTQ+ people felt they could be open about their sexual orientation to everyone in their family, and two in five LGBTQ+ students had hidden their sexual orientation or gender identity at university for fear of discrimination.
As I write, I can’t stop thinking about the irony between the meaning of the word ‘gay’ and the lives and experiences of so many people like Miguel. Did you know the term ‘gay’ used to mean ‘cheerful’ or ‘happy’? How can someone who feels forced to hide their own identity for so long be ‘happy’?
Would you feel happy knowing that with just three simple words (“I am gay”) your entire family/social support dynamic can change? How can we preach unconditional love to our children if three words can change everything? If it is hard for parents to hear, it’s even harder for their children to speak out.
Although happiness is a state of mind, we can all agree that external factors play a huge role in establishing it. And if this testimony can serve for anything, let it be to challenge you to visualise what your role could be in creating that state of mind for others. Because sometimes all it takes is a hug, a smile, or a friendly word.
Like Martin Luther King Jr., I also have a dream: I imagine a world where we can respect everyone, deconstruct prejudice, empathise, and naturalise love in all forms. A world where people can embrace difference and celebrate diversity. Can you imagine a world like that?
Maybe in that world Miguel would still be alive. And I believe that’s a diverse and colourful world we should all aim to build and take Pride in.
About Ventient Energy
Ventient Energy is a pan-European, non-utility generator of renewable energy. It currently owns and operates onshore wind farms in Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and the UK, with a total installed capacity of 2.8GW.
Ventient’s portfolio has grown quickly since its formation in 2017. The business focuses on sustainable growth that provides long term returns to their pension fund shareholders and generates renewable energy to help secure the future of people and the planet.
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