This morning, I was honoured to find out that I have been placed 64th on The Independent's 'Rainbow List' of 101 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex [LGBTQI] people who are making Britain better for our community.
A day before my birthday, you can imagine how thrilled I am to have received such news.
I, and OUTstanding, as the producers of another set of LGBT+ focused lists, immediately recognize the importance of such lists and how they are a massive step in the right direction to normalising diversity as they show all employees that they too should be able to feel proud and accepted in their careers.
It's so important that people feel empowered be their authentic selves in the workplace and stop thinking, 'I can't succeed because I'm gay'.
It is so humbling to see myself on the list but I instantly felt a bit unsettled as my work is dedicated to improving the opportunities for acceptance for diverse communities at work, it's not about me.
I, initially, wasn't sure I actually wanted to be on the list as the work we do is all about who we do it for and the lives we, hopefully, can change in the process. I then realized, however, as a working-class, gay, BME male, it is my obligation to the communities I represent to showcase that you can be your authentic self and also succeed.
Earlier this year, OUTstanding reviewed the annual reports of the FTSE 100 members. This revealed that while 99% of the annual reports refer to diversity as a whole, nearly half failed to mention policies for gay, lesbian or bisexual employees and 80% of these lacked any mention of non-discrimination policies for transgender employees.
This proves that diversity isn't just about rhetoric and quotas and there is still such a long way to go to achieve holistic diversity in the workplace.
We, at OUTstanding and Audeliss, will continue to dedicate our work to achieving greater exposure and freedom for our member's employees, our candidates and our clients and thank you, again, The Independent and all those on today's list for the amazing contribution you are making to bettering the lives of our community.