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Letter from the Editor-in-Chief: ‘Being out at work can come with challenges – but it’s rarely the wrong choice’

As the Attitude 101 February issue shines a light on LGBTQ trailblazers across various industries, Cliff Joannou reflects on the power of being out at work.

By Will Stroude

Welcome to our inaugural Attitude 101 issue!

For the past five years, Attitude has marked Pride season with the Attitude Pride Awards, in which we celebrated ten inspiring everyday heroes who have done remarkable things, often borne out of personal tragedy. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to produce the Pride Awards in the summer due to the strategic challenges the magazine faced in the midst of the worst moments of the pandemic.

I know they say you shouldn’t wish your life away, but I’m not alone in saying it feels good to leave 2020 behind. So, for this issue — published 31 December 2020 as chance would have it — we decided to look to the future and continue the ethos of the Pride Awards in elevating and celebrating LGBTQ+ voices by shining a light on the unsung heroes who are making great strides for our community’s visibility just by being themselves.

Attitude Person of the Year Pete Buttigieg leads the Attitude 101 February issue, out now

These are people who simply by walking into their place of work – be it an office, laboratory, studio, or other – show that sexuality or gender identity is no barrier to success. By making the choice to be out at work, each person becomes the best ambassador our community could ask for – a proudly authentic one.

I suppose, yes, it’s easy for us at Attitude Towers to be flippant about the importance of being out and visible at work – surrounded as we are by feather boas and wigs (maybe not quite, but you get the point). In some professions – such as banking, finance, or other industries that still hold onto tired tropes of heteronormative masculinity – it’s still not easy to be fully out and flying the rainbow flag.

The choice to be out at work can come with challenges that impact our personal and professional lives. But it’s rarely the wrong choice. And for every person that steps out of the closet, the door stays ajar for others to follow.

Bridgerton star Jonathan Bailey leads the Arts & Entertainment category in the Attitude 101 February issue, out now

It’s for this reason we celebrate some monumental people with the Attitude 101. The gay man challenging prejudice in football. The bisexual woman fighting to banish HIV in England. The gay man working to end discrimination gay men face when donating blood. These three appear alongside many, many others. One hundred of them, in fact.

The Attitude 101 by no means implies that these people are better than the multitudinous others who are doing great things in their respective fields — these are just some of the trailblazers we have identified who have done exceptional things in a challenging year, or who in their own way are working to make the world a better place in 2021.

We thank Clifford Chance who supported The Future (25 and under) category, led by cover girl Arlo Parks; Kaleidoscope Trust who highlighted some of the inspirational activists in the Third Sector and Community category; and Pride in STEM who introduced us to Dr Paul McKay, the gay man who has formulated a Covid-19 vaccine – without the support of Big Pharma.

Singer Arlo Parks leads The Future (25 and under) category supported by Clifford Chance in the Attitude 101 February issue, out now

We top the Attitude 101 off with our Person of the Year. In 12 months in which hope was far too frequently hard to find, there have been glimmers of optimism, and one of those was the crack made in the glass ceiling of US politics when the publicly gay Pete Buttigieg campaigned to become the Democrats’ presidential candidate.

Although Pete stepped aside to throw his support behind Joe Biden, his impact will have shown younger LGBTQ+ people that their identity should be no barrier to ambition.

Here’s to an incredible 2021…

The Attitude 101 February issue featuring 101 LGBTQ trailblazers is out now.

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