Guest blog: Pride in being our trueselves

In this guest blog, Hannah Harvey, Chief Operating Officer at Saffron Housing Trust, reflects on her personal experience of coming out at work, and how we must go beyond Pride Month to achieve equality.

When I look back over my career, I don’t have many regrets. In fact, I am proud of how far I have travelled as a person, both personally and professionally.  Over the years I have been fortunate to find a job that gives me both a sense of purpose and has enabled me to make a small difference.

Being other

But as I have entered my (yes. I am going to say my age) 40s, I often wonder how much easier the road could have been if I had felt able to share my whole self at work much earlier. I was often so crippled by fear of judgement or rejection that I chose to play it safe and hide my true self from those in my orbit. Eventually as I built enough trust in the people around me I would “come out”.

Now this was often nothing to do with the people around me – more scars that I have carried with me from the past influencing how I behaved. I have been subjected to homophobia for too many years to mention. Sometimes this is overt, sometimes it’s subtle, but whenever it happens it still stings like the first time. From a simple comment like “oh but you have children”, to having people point at my wife and I as we hold hands, or seeing the list of countries we feel safe to visit diminish.

I cannot wait for the day when I no longer feel like my value or worth as a human is less than anothers, based upon who I love. Or that the community, which I am immensely proud of, is no longer an ‘other’. The thing about being part of our community is you spend a lifetime coming out, it’s not a one-time thing. It can at times feel like a perpetual reminder that you are “different”.

Celebrating beyond Pride month

The greatest gift we could give the generations to come is the removal of negativity associated with difference. Our differences as humans should be embraced, encouraged, and celebrated. Imagine a world in which difference was celebrated continually and we didn’t need to be given a month to remind people of the value of our diverse cultural strength as a country.

The research from an organisational perspective is undeniable the more diverse the group the better the service. Hardly surprising when you think about it. When the voices in the room carry multiple perspectives, it provides you with the best platform to provide a service that understands and caters for all. Isn’t this something that we are desperately trying to achieve as a sector?

Creating an enabling environment

I don’t doubt if we can create an environment like the one I describe above it will be far easier for all of us to be our true selves at work. Perhaps if this environment existed people would not have to wait until they’re 40s to feel a sense of ease.

So I guess my challenge to the sector is this: Is the environment which we all work within, one that enables us all to feel comfortable to be our true selves?

Imagine how much better all our lives would be if we could say ‘yes’! to that statement? Imagine the positive impact that would have on the people that work with us and the communities that we serve?

I know that if we could get to this space, we really would have reached equality and isn’t that what all those that fought so bravely wanted us to achieve? A world in which equality wasn’t something we had to fight for, it was something that had been achieved?


To discuss this article, or issues raised in it, feel free to email: or call +44(0)20 8830 6777

Campbell Tickell is an established multi-disciplinary management and recruitment consultancy, operating across the UK and Ireland, focusing on the housing, social care, local government, sport, leisure, charity and voluntary sectors. We are a values-based business and firmly place the positioning of our support and challenge on helping organisations to attain change that is well thought through, planned and sustainable. At CT, we want to help organisations create the landscape within which we ourselves would like to exist: fair, inclusive, diverse, engaged and transparent. We build from our values in how we approach all our work as a practice.

Find out more about CT’s Services


Guest blog: Pride in being our trueselves

Hannah Harvey, Chief Operating Officer at Saffron Housing Trust, reflects on her personal experience of coming out at work,  and how we must go beyond Pride Month to achieve true equality.

[stm_about_vacancy css=".vc_custom_1453112586637{margin-bottom: 60px !important;}"]