Thursday 27 October 2016

‘I came out to more than 3000 people in a company blog post’

Published 24/06/2016 | 14:08

Angelina Costello
Angelina Costello

An Irish professional has credited the LGBT network set up within her company for giving her the courage to open up about her sexuality with her colleagues.

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Angelina Costello, Head of Procurement for Networks in Eir, came out to the company’s 3400 employees in a blog post, which launched the organisation’s LGBT support network Spectrum in November.

Angelina, who lives in Dublin, has been in a civil partnership with her partner Ricki since 2010, but said just a select few of her colleagues knew about her personal life outside of work.

“I’ve worked for Eir for eight years. In 2015, the company launched an LGBT network internally and was one of the first organisations in the country to do so.

“Spectrum was launched last November, and it’s a great thing to have the support of your employers in that way.

“To launch Spectrum, I was asked if I would write a blog. I’ve worked for Eir for over eight years, but only a few of my colleagues would have known that I was gay. In the blog, I essentially came out to an entire company.

“I probably wouldn’t have done something like that before but I thought it was time. The email went out to everyone in the company so it was quite nerve-racking.

“With Spectrum, we’re trying to push this message to ‘come as you are’ and to be comfortable with yourself and Eir is definitely helping develop that culture,” she said.

Although nerve-racking, Angelina said it was liberating to open up about her life with her colleagues, who she said were nothing but supportive.

“I received nothing but positive comments and supportive messages, so there was really no need to be scared about it.

“With Spectrum, Eir is striving to be the best in class and we are looking for areas to evolve, particularly when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Carolan Lennon and Orla Coughlan were a huge support in establishing this network for the LGBT community within Eir,” she said.

The capital celebrates Pride this weekend and Angelina said the company’s collaboration with the LGBT helpline for the festival is hugely forward in supporting the mental health of the community. The campaign, 'It's Good to Talk', aims to support the community during Pride, as the helpline experiences a huge spike in the number of callers during the annual festival.

Paula Fagan, National Coordinator of the LGBT Helpline, said: “Our helpline receives a significant spike in contacts every year during Pride season.  For most people, Pride is a time of celebration and fun, but it can also be a reminder for those who can’t be open about their LGBT identity of what they are missing out on, and can often be when people need support."

Angelina, who entered a civil partnership with Ricki in Belfast in 2010, is looking forward to tying the knot officially this year.

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