Pride at OS: My story
I realised that I was bisexual in 2015, but looking back I know that I’ve been bi for a lot longer than that. I was in college when I noticed I was experiencing attraction towards women, and for a while that frightened me. I grew up in a passively tolerant household; being LGBTQ+ wasn’t a bad thing, but it was something that happened to other people.
When I was at school, Section 28 – the law forbidding schools from teaching or even talking about LGBTQ+ people – was in place, and being “gay” was used as a taunt. It was a slur thrown at me often enough that for a long time, the idea of experiencing same-sex attraction was something I didn’t want. I didn’t even hear the term “bisexual” until I was at university. By that point I had fallen for a guy and was (and still am!) happily in a relationship, so I didn’t think about it too much.
Over the years, LGBTQ+ culture had become much more mainstream. In 2015, when I was watching a TV show and got a crush on one of the female characters, I finally had a name for what I was experiencing.
I’ve been really lucky that I’ve yet to be on the receiving end of any negative behaviour as a result of my sexuality. I’ve never really felt like I had to stay in the closet. I’ve been accepted by my friends and family, even co-workers, and when I came out to my partner, he barely batted an eyelid, just smiled and said “ok, cool.”
The deeper into LGBTQ+ culture I’ve delved, the more apparent to me it has become that my story is reasonably unusual in its positivity. A vastly unfair number of LGBTQ+ people have struggled with their identity, have felt like they’ve had to remain in the closet for their own safety, or have been rejected by friends and family.
I feel that if I can be open and proud about my sexuality then I should do it, because if putting myself out there helps anyone, even one single person, feel better about themselves, then I’ve done something worthwhile.
That’s why I decided to get involved with running the LGBT+ at OS Network. Posting content about LGBTQ+ topics and issues in our internal comms, our monthly film club, attending Southampton Pride under the OS Pride banner, or talking to HR about ensuring our company policies are inclusive of LGBTQ+ people – everything we do is about making Ordnance Survey a place that is not just safe for LGBTQ+ employees, but that actively celebrates our existence.
The world is a big place and making all of it safe for everyone is an impossible task. But we can look at our own little corner of it, and make that a better, safer place for people to be. If everyone does that, suddenly those little changes become massive societal shifts for the better.
Being bisexual is a part of myself that I really love. It’s given me purpose, brought me into contact with so many incredible people, and generally brought me real joy. I’m so happy to be out and proud!
- Becky (she/her), 33, Bisexual cis woman