“What it means to me is community”
Post Office branches serve diverse communities, from rural areas to towns and cities, with customers from every area of society. This summer, people have gathered to celebrate and promote equality and acceptance for LGBT+ people in over 100 Pride events across the UK. Many Post Office branches, Postmasters and staff have supported their local events.
Ahead of our final Pride event of the year in Bolton on Saturday 21 September, we hear from Glasgow Postmaster Christopher Allan, who attended Manchester Pride last month.
Where do you live and work now?
“I live in Glasgow and I’m a postmaster of some busy central Post Offices. I displayed the Pride materials when they arrived.
Is Pride and the LGBT+ community strongly represented/celebrated in your home town?
Normally yes. However this year it saddens me to say that the Glasgow event looked like it would be cancelled, so I celebrated in Manchester.
What was your experience of telling family and friends that you are LGBT+?
At first it was awkward and almost shameful as I was so concerned about what other people might say and might think. I suppose I was much more concerned about how others would see me than how I see myself.
After I told my parents it was quite simple from then as I knew my biggest challenge was to tell them. It was surprising how supportive and interested my friends were when I announced it, as it showed me there’s a lot of love for LGBT. However, some people were a bit narrow minded.
What does Pride mean to you?
What it means to me is community, we all look after one another and support the changes in each other’s lives. We see it as an opportunity to help those that feel it’s a struggle to come to terms with who they really are and that we as a community can come together in one happy moment and share our love for pride and those who surround it. It’s not always just for LGBT, there are plenty of heterosexuals that celebrate and embrace Pride. This is a fantastic way to express who we are and help others find who they are.
Do you think that more could be done to raise awareness of LGBT+ issues outside of big cities and enable LGBT+ people across the UK to live their lives on an equal footing?
There’s always more that can be done as you are always hearing of or reading about LGBT people commonly facing obstacles in their daily lives such as at the doctors, at school, or simply walking hand in hand on the streets. They are often bullied or attacked for being part of the LGBT community and it’s something we face all over the UK.
However, in rural communities I fear the magic of Pride and the meaning of it can be misinterpreted by people not knowing what it means and not fully understanding what LGBT stands for.
Events like Pride are always a good way to raise awareness, but in areas that aren’t larger cities with a large LGBT community, we should look at using the local health centres to display materials and Post Offices that are often the heart of a community too. We should encourage schools to hold talks or material around Pride for those who need it to have it to hand to learn more, either for themselves or for the reasons of just understanding LGBT. “
Post Office is proud to be at the heart of local communities. We recognise how important it is that the spirit of Pride is celebrated locally, as well as nationally. This is why we’re thrilled to have supported Pride again this year and pleased to see how many Postmasters and branches have supported it too.