Richard Burley on being proud to be a part of Margate Pride

Richard Burley
Senior Account Manager

I feel fortunate to have joined Deeson 3 years ago as a Senior Account Manager. This is an organisation where my passion for good account management is embraced, the value it adds to clients and internal teams is recognised, and we achieve the correct balance of advocacy between the client and our needs.

Deeson for me creates a collaborative, open and supportive space that allows personal growth and the ability for me to be my true self.

On reflection, Deeson was the first interview I had where I felt truly comfortable being open about being gay, saying “husband” instead of “partner” without the fear this could be received negatively.

Five years ago, I moved to Margate from London. Since then, I have enjoyed seeing how Margate Pride has evolved, and continues to evolve, into a place for all to show their support. It’s growing larger every year and yet still manages to hold tightly on to its community feel and artistic roots.

Pride by the sea, dancing on the beach and drinking cocktails on the seafront was a new way for me to enjoy the occasion as usually I would be one of the London masses.

Margate Pride introduced the LGBTQI+ and Female Safe Space in 2019 and Margate Arts Club ran an incentive (before the pandemic), offering those who do not live locally the opportunity to get involved without having to worry about travelling in full drag. Even the smallest thing like having somewhere to get changed safely and comfortably can make the biggest difference for a lot of people. It shows that we live in a town that cares about the community; I’m proud that I can personally be a part of this feeling of togetherness.

The floats, adorned with colour, sparkle and loud music and housed by the wonderful people and businesses of Margate were a highlight for me.

Words can’t describe the feeling of seeing parents with young children, all the way to the more senior members of the community, laughing and joining in the fun. 

Margate Pride has come so far in the last couple of years, with thousands of people from all over Thanet lining the streets and coming together to celebrate the LGBTQI+ community, and it really is a spectacular thing.

We may still have a long way to go with rights around the world, but Pride is the perfect way to raise awareness and show solidarity; it’s so important that as many places as possible around the world get involved.

Margate Pride is truly an event that makes you feel proud: Proud to be part of an exceptional community, proud to live in such a beautiful town, and proud to be neighbours and friends with such welcoming, lovely people.

Last year, traditional Pride parades couldn’t take place because of Covid-19. Margate Pride staged a portraits parade of the growing LGBTQI+ community and their allies. 50 portraits hung in 12 locations around Margate and as a local business, my husband was over the moon when his business BurleyandField was asked to participate, creating an alternative Pride presence in the town.

This year there will be a Mass gathering of portraits: an exhibition of 100+ Pride Portraits at Resort Studios for Margate Pride 2021 including me and my husband.

Everybody taking part has a quote of what pride means to them to go with their portrait in the exhibition.

On that note, another initiative I would like to share with the LGBTQI+ community and allies at The Panoply is the LGBTQI+ Employee Resource Group (ERG), which I am going to chair, starting July.

What are  ERGs?

ERGs are groups led by employees and aligned with The Panoply’s mission and values. They allow employees with a particular commonality or interest to share a space, support each other and spread awareness and help The Panoply become a better place to work for everybody.

The group offers:

  • Peer-to-peer support – providing a space for employees to support each other, express concerns they may have, and spend time around people who understand their experiences. 
  • Awareness-raising – promoting a better understanding of inclusion and making particular employee experiences more visible in the wider organisation. This will empower all employees to step up as allies and improve the workplace culture for everyone within The Panoply.
  • Constructive Commentary– scrutinising policies and processes, feeding back concerns, and suggesting how these can be improved. This gives employees a critical voice and helps ensure that inclusion is embedded across the organisation. 

If you want to join – follow this link and come say “Hi” in the LBGTQI+ ERG Slack channel.

 

Richard Burley
Senior Account Manager