Reward and Policy Analyst, Colin Bennett, shares his experience of completing Stonewall’s Allies Training.
“Since joining Baillie Gifford in 2016, I have been involved in the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts, which includes working with Stonewall.
“I’ve always championed fairness – in all walks of life – and as I learned more about Stonewall and the great work the organisation has done to support the LGBT community, I knew I wanted to help. What followed was Stonewall Allies training
“Allies training is a one-day course (delivered by Stonewall), which gives non-LGBT individuals the opportunity to explore what it means to be an Ally. In other words, it helps you to consider how you can create an inclusive environment for everyone.
“I got a lot out of the Allies programme. Those delivering the training were passionate and knowledgeable and did a great job of making me see things from a different perspective. Even when I consider the value I placed on equality and fairness before I completed the Allies programme, I still found the training enlightening.
“Above all else, the training made me think more carefully about language. There were certain words or phrases that I would use – LGBT lifestyle is a good example – that I thought were harmless, but the training made me realise this wasn’t appropriate. Now, I’m more aware of the language I use, and that’s part of being an Ally; checking your behaviour to ensure it doesn’t go against the principles of inclusivity and equality.
“By becoming an ally, you are effectively saying that you won’t stand for inappropriate behaviour, and that you will challenge it – if you standby and watch, it’s effectively condoning it. And, it doesn’t have to be confrontational. Often, people will be unaware they’ve caused offence and a gentle reminder will help them to understand where they have gone wrong.
“For me it’s an honour to be acknowledged as an Ally by Stonewall. I would recommend anyone who has an interest in the advancement of LGBT rights consider undertaking the training.”