The importance of being you: Ross’ Story
“Nothing changes, I am still the same Ross.” A Shell Retail UK employee shares his personal journey.
In December 2020, following a series of internal “Let’s Talk About Race” sessions organized by the General Manager Retail UK, which expanded into discussions around diversity and “covering”, I decided to lead a D&I session in my team, where I took the decision to come out.
This was not a decision I took easily, as over the years in Shell I had often struggled with how I would be perceived. Whether being gay could go against me and my career progression, or how people may act towards me. I realized that it was important to be “me” and not someone who was “covering” their private life in the workplace. I found that people rarely asked me about my private life.
The “coming out” team meeting was a fairly emotional call for me. I asked for three things from my team; to promote awareness, seek understanding and hopefully acceptance. I told them to please feel free to talk to me about my private life, that there were no secrets anymore and that I felt it was important that people knew who I really am. One of the most important things I said was that “nothing changes, I am still the same Ross”. And that being able to tell the team meant that I didn’t have to live a double life anymore. They were fantastic and very supportive which made the whole experience so much easier.
Since this decision I have joined the PROUD @ Shell committee and I am now supporting Shell’s preparations for the London Pride Parade in 2021.
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