Jack Woodhouse joined Maersk in October 2016 through the erstwhile Seago brand.
Wedding bells are in order next year for Jack and his fiancé Martin, who have been together for three years. Besides being busy with wedding preparations, Jack also has his hands full with renovation jobs on their newly bought house in Liverpool, where they live with their beloved rabbits and fish.
What does Pride mean to you? What is the importance of celebrating Pride at Maersk?
I am lucky enough to live in a country where I can marry Martin and we can have a house and a life together just like everyone else and without the fear of reprisals. The worst we get is the occasion curtain twitching when we have our Eurovision party. Having said this, it is easy to forget that it has not always been the case in the UK and in many parts of the world. Even in the UK, there have been recent homophobic attacks: in London, two women were assaulted on a bus; and in Liverpool, two men were attacked with a knife on the way home. That is why Pride is important. Until such attacks stop and people are free of persecution, Pride will always have a place.
The rights that we have in the UK have been fought for over a period of many years through events such as Pride. Pride is now a celebration of diversity and inclusion which is fantastic, but we should not forget that it is also a political and social protest. While things have drastically improved over the past 20 years, there is still room for improvement. Also in many countries, the very idea of a Pride march is highly controversial/illegal. We owe it to people from these countries to march and show that they are not alone.
The importance of celebrating Pride at Maersk is the fact that a large multinational company has decided that Pride is the right thing to do. The more people that attend, the more companies that decide to participate – this is how we change attitudes and move to a more equal society. For me, doing Pride is not just about the LGBTQIA+ community; it shows that Maersk is open to all as a company and that no matter who you are, what you believe in or who you love, you are accepted as an equal member of the team. As I have said before, the UK is a very tolerant country but it should still be celebrated when companies decide to embrace inclusion and diversity.
"For me, doing Pride is not just about the LGBTQIA+ community; it shows that Maersk is open to all as a company and that no matter who you are, what you believe in or who you love, you are accepted as an equal member of the team."
Do you feel encouraged to bring your authentic self to work? How so?
Yes, absolutely. I have never felt the need to hide who I am in Maersk. I have always felt comfortable and accepted.
What are you most proud of as part of Maersk?
I have been to different Pride marches and I try to go to one every year. The fact that this year I will be in the Pride march with a Maersk T shirt on is particularly special for me. The fact that Maersk is prepared to show that it is actively supporting diversity and inclusion is amazing and really shows what the company is about. For me it demonstrates that Maersk does not mind what your sexual orientation is or how you define yourself.
How can colleagues become a better Pride ally? What impactful measures can we do to celebrate our rich and diverse organisation and sustain our Pride spirit?
Just turning up to a Pride event is a great start. The more people that turn up, the more it shows that society has moved forward and that LGBTQIA+ people are not alone. Attitudes in the UK have certainly moved along.
How would you sum up “Summer of Pride” in three words?
That’s hard! I would have to go with the theme from last year’s Liverpool Pride: ‘All together now.'