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Celebrating LGBT History Month

Archway, one of our biggest employee networks, is celebrating LGBT History Month, which aims to educate out prejudice.

We’re proud to be an inclusive employer. Archway, our lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) employee network, is one of five such membership organisations at Network Rail.

It gives people the chance to influence policy making across Network Rail and the opportunity to meet colleagues in a more social atmosphere through events and talks around Britain.

It’s not just for Network Rail employees, however. People from train operating companies, our supply chain and industry body Rail Delivery Group can also join.

LGBT History Month

LGBT History Month, which promotes equality and diversity throughout February, is an opportunity for Archway to encourage colleagues to hold sessions on LGBT+ issues, focussing on pronouns and the benefit they bring.

This year, LGBT History Month explores poetry, prose and plays that touch on LGBT themes. It follows the unveiling of a plaque at Clapham Junction railway station in July last year marking homophobic abuse suffered by playwright Oscar Wilde.

The Wandsworth LGBTQ+ Forum raised money to establish the Rainbow Plaque dedicated Wilde after the abuse from members of the public in 1895 while he stood on the station’s centre platform.

Wandsworth LGBTQ+ Forum said he was being taken from Wandsworth to Reading Gaol after his trial for “gross indecency with men”.

The forum said: “We want the plaque to mark a key moment in London’s LGBTQ+ History. It’s also a reminder in 2019 of how homophobia is not tolerated at Clapham Junction station or in Wandsworth.”

Babak Erfani, a senior commercial scheme sponsor and Archway member, said last year: “It should be in our collective memory but it quickly fades. There’s an importance in making people realise laws have changed but society fundamentally can be problematic for LGBT people. We do need to talk about these things because they do have an impact on people at work.”

Archway marks World AIDs Day and Pride Month:

Driving change

Archway recognises that forming allies – colleagues outside the LGBT community – is an effective way to influence positive change. Its allies training programme is an industry first that aims to help more colleagues understand how they can support LGBT people in the workplace.

Babak hopes that in Control Period 6 – Network Rail’s current five-year budget and planning period, which started in April last year – the training will become standard.

He said: “Our role is to create the atmosphere, create the conditions, get the right stuff in place for training so our allies can be empowered and the people who will make a difference are cisgender and straight. Having it recognised as a proper course is recognition of that inclusion.”

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