National Inclusion Week 2023: supporting LGBTQ+ colleagues with SGN Pride

28 Sep 2023
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A man with glasses wearing a white and yellow tshirt. Logo for National Inclusion Week 2023 - Take Action Make Impact

All this week, we’ve been hearing from the chairs of our three colleague networks as part of National Inclusion Week 2023 on how they’re taking action and making an impact for the people we work with.

In the final part, we’re hearing from Bradley Barlow, Chair of SGN Pride.


Coming out can be a scary idea for a lot of people. For some, it’s hard enough coming out to family and friends – the people you’re closest to who are supposed to love you unconditionally, not knowing how they’ll react. And for many, the idea of being out in the workplace can fill someone with dread, missing the protection offered in those personal connections.

All of this comes with a current backdrop where the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community’s very existence is questioned and threatened by political and media agendas. Barely a week goes by where there isn’t a news story of an act of violence against an LGBTQ+ person.

So, what can we do to make sure that SGN is an environment for someone who identifies as LGBTQ+?

SGN Pride was named after the month it was created, June 2023’s Pride month, with a primary aim of making sure all LGBTQ+ colleagues feel safe while working with us and are able to be their authentic selves at work.

We’re fortunate to have a committee of colleagues who are proudly out. But, in a company of around 4,000 people, there is a strong likelihood that there are colleagues who don’t feel ready or able to disclose their gender or sexual orientation with others. There may be some who are questioning or exploring their identity in a way they’ve not experienced before – they may feel confused or scared.

SGN Pride is here for every one of those people.

We’re currently looking at a variety of ways we can support them. To start with, we’re today launching an updated and extended version of SGN’s gender and sexual orientation guide. Almost double the length of the 2021’s original version, it contains information about our network, a new section on microaggressions and an extended glossary of terms as well as the original content including support and resources available. It’s hoped that it will help to answer questions that anyone at SGN might have.

We’re also creating a new SGN Pride email address to allow questions to be sent to the committee to be handled confidentially, signposting colleagues to receive the appropriate support they might need, as well as answering general questions they might have.

I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet with the chairs of the LGBTQ+ networks at EDF, Energy Networks Association, Lloyds Bank and National Grid, following one of our network’s key aims to learn from and collaborate with similar networks in other organisations. Following information received in one of those meetings, SGN Pride were successful in having the option to add pronouns on Microsoft Teams switched on – a small but meaningful gesture to being more inclusive, something we’ll be discussing in more detail with colleagues next month.

I’m excited to look ahead to the upcoming year and the further actions we can take to make an impact. From commemorating awareness days such as International Pronouns Day, Transgender Awareness Week and LGBT+ History Month through to attending our first Pride events as a network, there’s so much to look forward to.

We want our LGBTQ+ colleagues, current and future, to know they’re welcome here and will receive the support they need. We want their managers to know we’re here to support them too with any questions they may face.

Now, more than ever, a network like SGN Pride is very much needed.