Ben McIntyre considers himself fortunate.
“I came out when I was 17 to a very supportive family. I came to NAB when I was 18 years old and I’ve always felt I could bring my whole self to work,” Mr McIntyre said, who is now a NAB Private Client Manager based in Queensland.
But things weren’t always so easy. “Growing up in working class Western Sydney, not all families shared the same kind of attitude as my family.
“In primary school and early high school, the word ‘gay’ was used as an insult. Being gay was seen as something to be ashamed of. I never wanted to draw attention to myself. I avoided certain groups such as the “sporty” guys. I felt pretty alienated.”
Things took a turn for the better when Mr McIntyre moved to Queensland with his family.
“I moved to a small high school in Brisbane where we were all from very different back grounds. I felt I could be more myself and accepted,” Mr McIntyre said, who ended up being School Captain.
Seven years ago Mr McIntyre got involved in NAB’s employee resource group NAB Pride so that other LGBTI+ people would also feel comfortable at work.
“I’ve had good experiences at work, save for the occasional assumption that I would have a wife and kids and things like that, but we don’t live in utopia,” he said.
“There is bias and ignorance still in our community and I’ve met people who are worried about coming out at work.
“If you can’t be your whole self in front of your work family, that’s a massive problem and we need to figure out why.”
This month, to mark Pride Month, NAB Pride has also launched a project for employees which features daily short stories written by LGBTI+ people and allies from around NAB.
Mr McIntyre is taking part and recalled his story. “My dearest memory is that of my soon to be 94-year-old grandfather introducing me and my then-partner to his friends at a family function. The way he did it, he showed he was really proud of having a grandson who could be true to himself. It’s a big thing to me because his generation wasn’t always so progressive on LGBTI+ issues,” he said.
Another colleague sharing his story as part of the project is NAB CEO Ross McEwan.
“We have a wonderfully diverse and vibrant team at NAB and a strong workplace culture that gives us all the opportunity to be our true selves,” Mr McEwan said.
“My ally journey at NAB began the day I started, and it’s been an enriching experience. I can confidently say that our NAB Pride team, including its allies make us a better bank for our customers and each other,” he said.
On May 28, NAB was awarded Gold Employer status at the 2021 Australian LGBTI+ Inclusion Awards, celebrating and awarding Australia’s top organisations for LGBTI+ inclusion based on the results of the Australian Workplace Equality Index.
It’s the third year in a row that NAB’s received this honour and recognises the efforts of the NAB Pride Group and many people at NAB who foster LGBTI+ inclusion at work.
To find out more about NAB Pride visit: https://www.nab.com.au/pride