Archway, one of our biggest employee networks, is celebrating LGBT Pride Month this June.
It promotes LGBT+ inclusion at Network Rail and drives positive change by helping to educate the industry on challenges its community faces.
Archway’s members come from Network Rail and beyond. They include members of the LGBT+ community and its allies; anyone is welcome to join.
Shane Andrews MBE, a project operations interface specialist at Network Rail and chair of Archway, said: “I’m immensely proud to have led Archway since 2019. We started back in 2013 with just 22 members and have now exceeded 1,000.
“Everything we do at Archway is geared towards allowing all our colleagues to bring their whole self to work. We do this with three core principles: to educate our colleagues on issues facing the LGBT+ community, to empower our colleagues to bring their whole self to work or to show allyship and to connect our colleagues via our socials and events.”
Research underscores the challenges faced by the LGBT+ community – something Archway members feel strongly about addressing.
In 2017, a government survey found LGBT respondents in the UK rated their life satisfaction at 6.5 out of 10. It compared with 7.7 out of 10 for the general UK population. The difference was even bigger for the trans community, who rated their life satisfaction at 5.4 out of 10.
Meanwhile, ‘LGBT in Britain – Work Report’, published by charity Stonewall in 2018, found almost one in five of its more than 3,000 LGBT+ respondents had been the target of negative comments or conduct from colleagues because they were LGBT.
The same proportion said they had been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity while trying to get a job.
Jack Painter, an HR graduate at Network Rail and communications lead for Archway, said: “Archway have a duty to highlight these challenges and inequalities, educate colleagues across our industry about them and work to remove the inequalities through changing attitudes and increasing inclusivity for everyone at Network Rail and beyond.”
Archway supports our Everyone Matters Strategy – our plan for a more open, inclusive and diverse company. It aims to help us address intersectionality – where people experience exclusion and discrimination on multiple levels.
In April last 2020, Archway launched specific guidance to covid-19, which covered the additional barriers LGBT+ colleagues, their families, and colleagues who support LGBT+ people may face.
A month later, it marked 30 years since the formation of OutRage – the LGBT+ movement that helped transform UK laws and public opinion.
Archway collaborated with Cultural Fusion, our fellow employee network for Black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues and allies in July 2020 to discuss how racial inequality is a significant issue for the LGBT+ community.
That November, Archway sponsored the British LGBT Awards and held its annual Trans Day of Remembrance event virtually.
For World AIDS Day – 1 December – Archway worked with Breathe, the LGBT+ employee network at accountancy firm KPMG for two joint events to mark World AIDS Day.