As we continue to celebrate Diversity and Inclusion week at Amec Foster Wheeler, I’d like to share my story.
I had come out to my friends and family by the time I was 18. It was challenging, but I felt a huge sense of relief – a weight had been lifted. However, I was soon to realise, as a gay man, coming out didn’t just stop there. It is something that I would have to do continually throughout my adult life. It didn’t carry the same fear that it once did, but nevertheless I could still find myself feeling sheepish when I knew certain questions were approaching. I’d revert back to my school days where being gay was a bad thing, something to be bullied for. I’d still feel that fear of rejection I’d known all too well during my school days as I’d conjure up an evasive response.
That all changed when I moved into a working environment. I’ve worked at Amec Foster Wheeler for 4-and-a-half years now. During this time, my confidence has grown rapidly and not only do I feel fully accepted and supported by my colleagues, I feel encouraged. I feel encouraged to be open and encouraged to be myself. I no longer feel sheepish, or embarrassed. I am proud to be who I am. My sexuality has little bearing on my ability to do my job, but hiding it certainly would. I feel completely valued and respected within Amec Foster Wheeler.
I was incredibly proud to walk under the Amec Foster Wheeler banner on Saturday at London Pride. Just like Amec Foster Wheeler has fully supported me as an out and proud employee, I was proud to march with Amec Foster Wheeler as we “came out” as a fully inclusive employer willing to fully support its people with #nofilter.