Bupa’s employee network DiverCity has made huge strides in raising awareness and understanding of LGBTQI+ since its launch in 2016. As those involved in the network gear up to attend Manchester Pride this weekend, DiverCity member Nikki Williams shares her story and what attending with her colleagues this year means to her.
“I have been ‘out’ for over 18 years and I am proud of that. The closet is for clothes, not people.
However, being out and proud is not always easy. The nightclub shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando in 2016 had a huge impact on me, which my Senior Manager at the time noticed.
As we discussed what had happened in the States I told her about some of the negative experiences I had had over the years, such as constantly being referred to as Gay Nikki, or Lesbian Nikki.
She looked a little stunned, so I continued, ‘you know, once I kissed my partner goodbye in Piccadilly Gardens which was met with abusive and threatening language being hurled at us, we had also been spat at’.
Shocked by this, she said she had never worked for such a diverse company and that we should show and celebrate that by attending Pride.
Shortly after, I had a chance meeting with my really good friend Angela Kay, who runs the DiverCity Team – a voluntary team of people who work to raise awareness and understanding about a range of topics including mental health, disability and LGBTQI+. Following that conversation I became a member of DiverCity.
We applied for the 2017 Pride, but were too late and it was full, so this year we made sure we applied early, and we were successful.
I am really excited to be attending Pride with my colleagues this weekend, with the people who believed in me here at Bupa and who have always supported me.
I have worked at Bupa for more than 12 years and am proud of the strides that have been taken to make Bupa UK an inclusive place where you can bring your true self to work.
This means so much to me; it means we can start to open doors, with the backing of Bupa. We can care for our people in the right way. We can be inclusive, and not exclusive. We can grow a better understanding of who we are, and what we are.
I’m proud we are looking after our diverse and outstanding members of staff.”