UK Pride month 2024: James Smalley, RGA Reinsurance, United Kingdom

UK Pride month 2024: James Smalley, RGA Reinsurance, United Kingdom We’re celebrating UK Pride month and 10 years since the legalisation of same-sex marriage in England, Wales, and Scotland. Andrew Gaskell, from our Diversity Action Group, invited 3 IFoA members who are also members of the LGBTQ+ community to join him in sharing their thoughts. The UK Pride Month 2024 series continues with James' thoughts.

Why do you think Pride festivals are still important?

For me, Pride is a celebration of what the LGBTQ+ community has achieved over the years. I always think about the opportunities that were denied to LGBTQ+ people in the past and the discrimination and prejudice that was suffered.

Whilst a lot has been achieved particularly in the legalisation of same-sex marriage in many countries are there other changes you would like to see in your country to promote equality, support and inclusion of the LGBTQ+ communities in wider society?

Even though the work that was started over 50 years ago has made my life as a gay man incomparable to the lives of those years ago, there is still lots to achieve. I have experienced discrimination, prejudice and homophobia just because of who I love but thankfully this has become rarer and rarer in recent years.

Changing minds and attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people is what I would like to see progress made on in the future.

How important is it that employers support diversity, equity and inclusion?

I chair the LGBTQ+ network for EMEA in my organisation and have been part of this network since its inception in late 2019. The network’s aim is to create an environment where no one feels uncomfortable at work because of their sexuality.

It is very important to me that my organisation supports us in fulfilling this aim since I have previously experienced discomfort in the workplace about my sexuality and the network has helped me overcome this. The organisation I work for is committed to DEI more generally and there are several employee resource groups that have been set up to facilitate these DEI ambitions.

How should the actuarial profession support and promote DEI and attract and support those from diverse communities including the LGBTQ+ community?

I’d like to see a network for the actuarial community, similar to the one I chair at my organisation,, where LGBTQ+ individuals could form a community within the actuarial profession, meet and get to know each other, share experiences and knowledge that individuals could take back to their respective organisations, and more generally collaborate with the IFoA to find ways to promote and support current LGBTQ+ IFoA members and future members.

Read more in our Pride series

Chris Cullen, EY, James Smalley, RGA Reinsurance, Sophia Davies, LCP, and Andrew Gaskell, RGA Reinsurance, share what Pride means to them and their experiences in the actuarial profession.

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