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BP's Simon Hodgkinson recognized as a top corporate ally at British LGBT Awards

We've had great success - the official number of UK LGBT allies at BP has jumped from around 270 to nearly 1,100 in just over two years

You have been leading the BP Pride Allies programme since 2017. What is it and what does it do?

 

"The purpose of the Allies programme is to inform non-LGBT+ staff what it is like to be LGBT+ in the workplace, such as the challenges and the energy it takes to hide parts of your personality. We want people to be free of that burden so they can perform at their best. It’s not about forcing people to change their beliefs or opinions, but to help them see the benefits of being mindful and inclusive at work. Quite simply put, it’s about respect. We've had great success - the official number of UK LGBT allies at BP has jumped from around 270 to nearly 1,100 in just over two years."

 

"From a global point of view, attendance of the diversity and inclusion 'safe space 1 ' training has more than doubled and is still growing. We also run monthly 'Introduction to Transgender' training courses and we have introduced rainbow lanyards so Allies can be more visible. It’s heart-warming to see more and more of them around our sites."

 

Why does being an ally matter to you?

 

"I firmly believe that BP should be a safe place to work for everyone, regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity. Once people feel safe, when they feel free to be their whole selves in the workplace, they are more productive and BP will perform better as result. Surely, this is a win-win situation. To me, an ally is somebody who wants to help create that situation - a safe, productive workplace where people are happy. Who wouldn't want that?"

I firmly believe that BP should be a safe place to work for everyone, regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity. Once people feel safe, when they feel free to be their whole selves in the workplace, they are more productive and BP will perform better as result. Surely, this is a win-win situation.

I'm sure lots of people in BP do want that, so how can they help?

 

"There are lots of things that people can do at BP. One thing they can do is join a business resource group (BRG) - like BP Pride for LGBT issues - or one of the many other BRGs that we have to support different groups in the company, such as the BP Women's International Network (BP WIN), BP Positively Ethnic Network (BP PEN) or BP Accessibility."

 

"We also encourage our staff to attend our safe space training session to learn more about how they can help create a safe environment for colleagues. There's some really great guidance in the Allies toolkit we've created. We have also created transgender guidelines to help people understand the terms and language they should and should not use, as well as how to support colleagues that might be transitioning or coming out."

 

Congrlatatuions on being named a Top orate Ally. What's next?

 

"Thank you. The winners will be named at the Award Ceremony on 17 May (which happens to be the International Day Against Homophobia and Biphobia).  I’m very humbled to have been nominated in the first place but really, this recognition goes to my amazing team at BP Pride. Nothing would happen without their unwavering support. That said, I’m looking forward to meeting the other nominees and hopefully learning more about what other organisations do that might work for us here too. We have a great programme but we can always do more."

Footnote
1. Safe Space is a workshop designed to foster an inclusive environment for employees at BP. It informs participants of the challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) employees  through interactive activities, lecture and discussions.