The Lloyd’s Banking Group employee reflects on the importance of the company’s LGBTQIA network, Rainbow


Tracey Bewick, Senior Credit Analyst at Lloyd’s Banking Group, speaks to myGwork about being
able to make a difference in people’s lives in subtle ways and why the small moments make a

Tracey grew up in a small mining town which had little visible diversity. “I vividly remember the
first time I ever saw a black person in my town. Where I grew up in Scotland wasn’t, at that
point, somewhere people wanted to stand out or call attention to themselves if they could help

Against this backdrop, Tracey had a tight-knit friendship group which gave her a sense of
belonging. “When I was at school, there were a few of us in my friendship circle who identified
as LGBTQ+. Originally this wasn’t shared information but whilst exploring our own identity, we
ended up gravitating towards each other.” The unity and safety in numbers in the late nineties
was a big part of why Tracey always felt comfortable being out in that setting.

“I attended my first Pride in Edinburgh with my other LGBTQ+ friends. We were all about 15
years old, excited to be in the city, surrounded by diversity and vibrance. As we weren’t out to
our parents, the next day, we were filled with dread hoping our photos hadn’t made it into the
newspaper. I always remember this as a moment of feeling like I was living two separate lives;
for anyone that has an impact.

I was lucky I had friends who were dealing with the same thoughts and feelings as I was,
surrounding sexuality and gender. I knew there were family friends who were LGBTQ+, and my
late uncle was gay – although none of this was openly discussed at the time. Because it wasn’t
openly discussed, there was always that concern that I wouldn’t be accepted. Even today, I still
hear people say, ‘I don’t want it for my child,’ regardless of how accepting they might think they

When Tracey did come out to family, and open conversations were had, Tracey recalls that she
was hugely grateful for the LGBTQ+ people who have come before her, including her late uncle,
who paved the way to make those conversations smoother.

“My late uncle grew up a decade before me, so things at that time were harder, and his story
was very different to mine, but I’m so grateful to him and others, as they started the
conversation and fought battles which have inevitably made my journey easier.”

What Tracey finds key in her story is the link between visibility, a supportive network, and the
power of those foundations in allowing her to be her authentic self. “Unlike many people, my
early coming out experiences were relatively pain-free; I felt supported by friends and
immediate family”.

Despite this, Tracey experienced struggled with coming out in her professional life and to those
that weren’t in her immediate inner circle.

“My identity only really became a conscience issue for me when other people had a problem
with it, either directly or via micro-aggressions, which resulted in me questioning what people
and spaces were safe for me to be open. That sense of living two separate lives really became
embedded, and it had a grave impact on my mental health.”

This new environment and not knowing who to trust really confused things for Tracey. “I would
second guess everything, always trying to be two steps ahead in a conversation, searching for
clues that would put my mind at ease. The mention of an LGBTQ+ friend or a positive comment
about an openly gay celeb. Equally, seemingly harmless throwaway comments would have me
retreating. It was exhausting, and when I think back, so much of my day was taken up by feeling
like I had to censor myself and defend who I am.”

Those thoughts plagued Tracey during her first job and when coming out to new people. “I still
feel an element of fear and trepidation even now when starting a new role or disclosing that my
partner is female, for example.”

One thing that helps to reduce those fears and minimises this uncertainty in a professional
environment is the activity of LGBTQIA networks, such as Rainbow at Lloyds Banking Group.

“Simply seeing a rainbow lanyard or knowing there was a network would have made all the
difference for me in my first professional role. Rainbow has helped me to fully embrace my
identity, especially in a professional setting, and to be authentic, which in turn, I think makes
me a better employee.”

While her day job as a Senior Credit Analyst sees her help charities and public services with
lending and therefore making a measurable difference to people, Tracey is also the lesbian lead
of the Rainbow LGBTQIA network.

“Rainbow was one of the first corporate LGBTQ+ networks. It’s been operating for about 13
years and was originally pioneered by, again, people who paved the way for us. When I first
joined, I merely did so for the support element. However, seeing the power it harnesses to
make a difference made me want to be more actively involved.

We have a lot of younger colleagues who are starting out in their careers and may not be out at
home, older people who are now feeling comfortable exploring their identity, colleagues who
have LGBTQ+ family members and want to know how they can best support them, and a
wonderful group of allies. It’s a safe space and can feel like an extended family.”

Tracey recalls being at school when Section 28 went through and how she is concerned that the
progress made surrounding LGBTQ+ rights could quickly be eroded if we get complacent or
don’t stand together as a community. “I think the consensus when same-sex marriage was
passed was that we had reached a pinnacle point of equality; however, we are seeing yet again
increased violence against our community, LGBTQ+ exclusions zones in EU countries, and most
recently, transgender people being excluded from the conversion therapy bill.”

Tracey’s mum remembers how hard it was for those coming out in the eighties and the subtle
negative shifts we are seeing today. “My mum has spoken openly with me about her concerns
surrounding me undertaking articles like this and being open in the public domain about my
identity. Not because she is ashamed or wants me to hide but because she’s concerned about
what the future looks like and the impact that could have on my safety. It seems unfathomable
that it would be a consideration in 2022, but it is.”

While Tracey is happy to speak about herself, she isn’t someone that naturally would jump on
stage without there being a good reason for her being there. The prejudice and hate that is out
there give her the impetus to keep sharing her story.

“I think it’s important we acknowledge that even today, people continue to have strong
misplaced opinions surrounding the sexuality or gender expression of others. I talk about my
journey and experiences because even though I don’t always find it comfortable, homophobia
has become – ironically – more sophisticated. It’s not always as blatant. People think they can
make subtle comments, hide behind humour, or smoke screens which can make it harder to
pick out, but it’s still there, and I think it’s important to remember that words matter. You don’t
have to physically throw a stone to create a wound.”

Being there and being visible is something that Tracey believes is incredibly powerful in
eradicating these layers of homophobia. The subtle undercurrents and small moments, rather
than things being set fire to, are things that worry Tracey.

“I see the propaganda that is reported about trans people, and that angers me. These stories
are merely designed to deflect from poor political policies and drive division with little factual
basis. Every person who is LGBTQ+ has a different journey and story; what is clear to me is that
by sharing those stories and being visible, we eradicate some of the misinformation that is out
there and hopefully carve a positive path for the next generation. It is vital that we stand
collectively and are united in our efforts.”

Lloyds Banking Group is a proud partner of myGwork, the LGBTQIA business community. Find out
more about job opportunities at Lloyds Banking Group.

DIVA magazine celebrates 28 years in print in 2022. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQIA media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable.

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