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Out and Proud And Ourselves: 7 Portraits Of LGBTQ Life At Work

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“When I started my career, I was firmly padlocked inside my closet,” says Beth Dowling-Jones, who’s worked in banking for over two decades.

“It was difficult enough to fit in as a woman, let alone to muddy the waters by coming out as lesbian too. I wasn’t good enough at golf or cricket to feel like I could fit in around my cis, het, predominantly white male colleagues. I’ve seen so many barriers removed in that time.”

Dowling-Jones is one of the many people photographed for CorporateQueer, a new exhibition aiming to open a window into the everyday working worlds of LGBTQ people, particu;ar in corporate roles.

One in five LGBTQ people still aren’t out at work, according to a government survey. Separate research suggests 70% of LGBTQ people have been sexually harassed at work, while 50% of transgender employees hide their identity at work for fear of discrimination.

Photographer Fiona Freund believes there has never been a better time to highlight the challenges still facing the LGBTQ community at work – but her work also celebrates how far we’ve come.

“I hope to share a world that shows that being gay is ordinary, gay people do all the same things as everyone else and just want to be treated equally and respectfully,” Freund tells HuffPost UK.

Freund photographed 60 people working in and around the City of London for the exhibition, which launched to coincide with what would have been London Pride – had it not been cancelled due to Covid. The series ranges from CEOs to security guards and from people just starting out on their careers to LGBT campaigners like Peter Tatchell and Daniel Lismore.

She hopes the photos will make people want to change policy in their workplaces, support LGBT groups, “but most of all appreciate that a little effort in recognising and inviting people to bring their whole selves to work – whether they are gay, a mum, differently abled, from another culture or working past retirement age – then their workplace will be a much better place, and successful place in every way.”

Each subject has written a caption to go with their picture, detailing what they want others to know about their lived experience. “Most LGBT people have to come out at work often, sometimes every day! By sharing their stories I hope people will stop assuming every man they meet has a wife or girlfriend and every woman a load of kids and a husband/man supporting her,” she says.

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© HuffPost

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