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Since joining Lloyds Bank back in 2008, Mortgage and Protection Adviser Hamish has been a founding member of the Rainbow Network – the bank’s employee network for LGBTQ+ people and allies. From day one he’s shaped how the network connects and supports his LGBTQ+ colleagues and allies.

Attending Pride since the mid-90’s when you had to be “careful no one took your photo”, he’s seen the event change into something everyone wants to be part of. He jumped at the chance to be on Lloyds Bank’s Pride floats in both London (2008) and Brighton (2016), which are now usually attended by hundreds of colleagues, with a “diversity” that he now feels really proud of.

His 9-5 might be working as a mortgage adviser, but his passion for LGBTQ+ issues has seen Hamish add Inclusivity Champion to his CV. Changing non-inclusive language for trans Lloyds Bank customers was one of his proudest moments.

To mark Pride month, we caught up with Lloyds Bank 2021 LGBTQ+ Role Model Hamish to find out more about his perspectives on the history of the Rainbow Network, to hear how Pride has changed over the years, and to understand his passionate approach to supporting the LGBTQ+ community by changing language.

How has the Rainbow Network changed since you first joined?
It’s become a lot more inclusive over time. When people join, I love that now they’re really happy to shout about being part of it. The network was very London-centric when it began, but it’s now really opened up. For the official launch I was in the Gresham Street head office and was able to talk about how I wanted the new network to be. It was amazing how open it was at that launch party. I remember how soon after, in the branch network, my manager was suddenly asking everyone to be in the Rainbow Network, trying to get as many allies as possible. I’m very proud to see how much it’s developed. Now whenever I see rainbow lanyards around the offices and in the branches, it really makes me smile.

What are some of your favourite moments so far during your time as part of the Rainbow Network?
As well as the launch party, the other one was Brighton Pride. When we first joined the parade, there weren’t that many people. But now there are hundreds from the organisation, and it’s great to see how diverse it’s become. The first London Pride was amazing. We had huge cartoon characters on the float and as we went through the West End, people would get out and wave their banking cards to show they were a Lloyds Bank customer, and sing our advert tune back to us.

You’re a proud trans ally and you’ve challenged non-inclusive language in the workplace – why is it important for you to continue to uplift those who face the greatest challenges in our community?
Being based in Brighton and dealing with people face-to-face here, as well as listening to the experiences of friends who have transitioned, I can’t bear not to stand up for them. In my role as a mortgage advisor, when a new system came out with a question that wasn’t inclusive for the trans community, I recognised how it could be changed for the better. If a trans customer wanted to change their title, they would have had to make a complaint to change it. So I spoke about this issue with senior colleagues. They didn’t realise that the question wasn’t inclusive, so it was education that was needed. A few months later it was changed. It felt like such an achievement to have those conversations with senior colleagues in the company, and for it to result in a successful outcome. I now feel comfortable reading that question.

What advice would you give to people who are looking to help support and uplift the trans community?
Don’t be silent if you’ve seen something that isn’t inclusive, if you feel people are asking inappropriate questions, or behaving in a manner that is not inclusive. For customers that are coming out, let’s encourage them to share their correct pronouns. If they don’t want to tell us their gender, then they don’t have to. It’s not a condition that we make them answer these questions. Above all, don’t be silent. As a company we need to be sticking together, and helping wherever we can.

You’ve accomplished so much already as part of the Rainbow Network, but what would you like to achieve next?
I think for my future, I need to get even more involved. In the last year I’ve done so much virtually, but I’m ready where possible, to be getting back into the real world and getting back to the physical aspect of it now lockdown is lifting. I’d love Lloyds Bank to be able to share its experiences with different organisations – from developing role model guides to being open to dialogues which enable key change. We should be inspiring others to do what we do in uplifting LGBTQ+ communities.