This weekend, around 50 FA employees will take to the streets of London to march in this year's Pride Parade.
Ahead of the march and as we approach the end of Pride month, some of our employees from across the organisation have shared what Pride means to them.
Charis Parkin – Education Development Coordinator, FA Education
At this point in my life, Pride is all about self-acceptance and self-love. As a queer woman, I can say unfortunately this has not always been the case. With London 2023 being my first time at Pride I am very excited to attend as my whole self and experience a community of acceptance and belonging.
Since coming out around three years ago, I know how incredibly lucky I am to have family and many people close to me who accept and love me for who I am and also to have been able to work at such a place as The FA which openly encourages me to be my full self.
Part of Pride is knowing and understanding that unfortunately, not everyone is that fortunate.
Pride is about celebrating and remembering the past that got us to where we are today, while also striving for continuous progressive change and raising awareness for LGBTQ+ issues that are still prevalent globally today. It's a party and a protest all in one!
Lucy Nevin – Safeguarding Case Officer, Legal & Governance:
This will be my third year marching in the Pride parade. I have marched with The FA and also previously when I worked at the National Crime Agency.
As an ally, pride for me is a really fun day out celebrating with family and friends. Pride is all about being proud of who you are no matter who you love and is a celebration of the work of LGBTQ+ people, education in LGBTQ+ history and raising awareness of issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.
Allyship in the workplace is crucial for inclusion and equality. By trying to better understand the struggle and oppression that others face, you are learning yourself and actively attempting to make a change so this doesn’t happen.
By supporting people in and out of the workplace through allyship, you can work towards creating a safer and happier environment. Unconditional kindness is something our world needs more than ever! So come along and join in!
Charlotte Lawrence – Head of Strategy & Business Services, Grassroots:
Growing up in London, as a kid I remember seeing Pride marches taking place and thinking that they looked fun, colourful, and full of joy – like a big party. And of course, Pride marches are all those things. However, as I got older, learned more about myself and about - what came to be - my community, I realised that Pride is so much more than just a big party.
It is sad and frustrating that even in 2023, in England – over one-third of LGBTQ+ people feel they need to hide who they are at work and one in five feel that being LGBTQ+ limits their job opportunities.
And it’s not just in the workplace that we see these issues. Having to ‘come out’ on a regular basis can feel uncomfortable, awkward and in some situations, even unsafe. Whether it be in a taxi (are you two sisters?) at the hairdressers (what does your boyfriend do?) or even trying on a wedding dress (your husband will love it!) – sometimes it can feel like an ongoing battle to just be you.
If you correct people in these situations you worry about upsetting or offending them, but if you don’t you feel you aren’t being true to yourself.
For me, this is just one of the reasons why Pride is so important. It is about visibility, awareness and supporting people to feel comfortable in their own skin. It provides a space for people to celebrate their full, authentic selves.
At London Pride this year, as I join the parade with FA colleagues, friends, and my wife – I will be thinking of all those who have got us to where we are today, and I’ll be proud to march and to continue the work that still lays ahead.
Annie Laight – Education Development Coordinator, FA Education:
This will be my first year marching in the Pride Parade and I am very excited!
As part of the LGBTQ+ community, Pride means a lot to me as it’s an opportunity to celebrate myself and my loved ones and be myself without having to hide. It also celebrates the hard work that LGBTQ+ people have done in the past to fight and protest for equality, but it also reminds us that there is still a lot of progress to be made.
In the workplace, Pride means for me that everyone feels included and can be themselves in an environment where we spend a lot of time. Luckily, at The FA I feel like I can be myself and feel a sense of belonging, especially since I have joined the Pride Network.
Ellie Williams – Education Systems Coordinator, FA Education:
This time last year, I’m not sure I could have anticipated marching in a Pride event. I think it’s a testament to the inclusive culture within The FA, and football in general, that I feel comfortable enough to share this part of my identity and to celebrate it so publicly.
While this march is a personal victory, it feels naive to overlook my own privilege and to ignore the way in which discrimination disproportionately affects other members of the LGBTQ+ community.
It’s disappointing that these hateful sentiments have also gained such traction on social media more recently. As I attend this event with excitement and optimism, I recognise that others might not experience the same level of liberation or safety that I do.
This year I’ll be marching for them too. It’s a relatively small display of my support for these individuals, but I think it encapsulates what Pride means to me – no act of protest, celebration or allyship is too small to have an impact in dismantling hateful groups and allowing LGBTQ+ people to live freely and authentically.