Celebrating Pride Month: A Q&A with Matt Beeching


June 24th, 2024


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Vesta Software Group

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Vesta Pride Month Q&A

Here at Vesta Software Group, we are continuously working to cultivate an inclusive group culture where employees are empowered to bring their truest selves to work every day.

With June in full swing and Pride Month celebrations taking place across the world, we sat down with Matt Beeching, Key Account Manager at MCR Systems, to discuss the importance of Pride, and to champion the progress being made to promote equality in the professional world.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

Of course. Firstly I’ll introduce myself… my name is Matt and I’m a Key Account Manager at MCR Systems, a portfolio company of Vesta Software Group.

I’m 52 and have been with my partner, Chris since the year 2000. We’ve finally decided after nearly 25 years to tie the knot later this year, which wouldn’t have been possible when we first met.

Obviously, I’m very proud of being a gay man and there is no hiding it – it was clear to me at the age of 14 to be honest, although coming to terms with that in 1985-86 was quite hard, and it was definitely a difficult time.

Not that I necessarily read about or knew about it at the time, but Section 28 was introduced by the government a couple of years later in 1988, which prohibited the promotion of homosexuality in schools. I was still learning who I was at this point, and I was bullied a lot at school and didn’t really know how to process it and deal with it. To this day, it’s still something I reflect on and struggle to process in some respects, i.e. to think: how did I not stand up? How did I not go to the right people? But it’s very hard when you’re in that moment. I did have a small group of friends who I came out to at the time, and they’re still my friends now. One is actually going to be best man at my wedding. I was lucky to be able to find some people to confide in, but it was enormously difficult to find the right words to say and to risk the judgement. That same concern can still echo in the back of my brain even today when I come out to someone new. It’s easier now of course, but the concern is always lurking in the background.

After I left school and college, my career started out in the hospitality industry before I moved into an admin/customer service role, which is where I found that I was pretty good at dealing with people. Later I naturally moved into a role of Product Trainer and Customer Service Trainer, before working in Project Management, and later Account Management.

My partner Chris, and I are getting married this year at the Grand Hotel in Birmingham which, funnily enough, is where I worked when I was 18 – so that’s a full circle story in itself!

And one thing I’d like to say here is this. If you’re struggling with society, and feel that you can’t come out, and maybe therefore you don’t do so well at school, please don’t give up hope. There will be something that you’re a natural at, whether it’s cooking, talking, dancing, running or building, etc. The most important thing is to be authentic and to be yourself, because if you hide who you really are then you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to flourish. If you’re honest with yourself and all the tough elements that come with that, then you’ll grow into the person that you’re meant to be.

How do you celebrate Pride and what does it mean to you?

Pride has meant so many things to me throughout my life and I remember the first main Pride events in Birmingham in the late 90’s. They were pretty simple compared to the major festivals you see now in operation, but the message was always the same about visibility, inclusivity and recognition. Now, in 2024, it’s become a time to recognise the privilege I feel I have today, and to thank those who have fought for people like me to be in this position, as well as to ensure the community continues to be supported and the Pride agenda pushed.

Many people may think that it’s absolutely no issue to be gay and to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and that are no problems anymore, and I’m thankful for those people and all the allies who think that. But there are still a lot of people who definitely don’t think that way, and a lot of LGBTQIA+ people who are a lot less fortunate than me who will be struggling, so the campaign continues.

My Pride celebrations now are quite different to when I was younger. In the past, I attended many different marches and festivals to fly the Pride flag, and although I don’t necessarily do that so much now, I’m always happy to see people continuing to do so to support the cause.

These days, I like to put my voice to Pride in a professional capacity, so the fact that we’re able to sit and have this conversation together is brilliant. If this shows support to employees within the Vesta group (and even further afield) who perhaps aren’t in a position at the moment where they want to speak out, then I’m proud to do so.

What can organisations do to promote a positive and healthy environment for colleagues who are LGBTQIA+?

It depends on a few factors, including the size of the company, demographics, attitudes etc., but I think one of the most important steps is raising awareness, advocating support and open dialogue, and encouraging inclusive policies in the workplace. In my own experience, both MCR Systems and Vesta Software Group do this very positively.

Just showing support, not necessarily even saying anything, can mean a lot. Ultimately, we need people to continue to champion the cause and get behind it, in whatever form or capacity possible. I love being able to walk down the high street or go on LinkedIn and see businesses using the Pride flags in some shape or form – whether it’s putting up window displays or adding the rainbow colours to their logos, or even issuing rainbow lanyards to employees to wear. I saw people wearing these lanyards on the train last week and it made me happy to see. It might not seem like a lot to some people, but it made me feel that the employer of those people was making a deliberate statement to show Pride. Others may choose to put out a public statement, which not only expresses support to the employees of that company, but also makes a much wider statement to all business partners and affiliates, and shows allegiance with minority groups far and wide.

Organisations could also look to introduce employee resource groups that promote inclusion and equality, deliver talks and presentations, or sign-up to support charities in the LGBTQIA+ space.

What’s something you’d like to say to members of the LGBTQIA+ community?

When I get philosophical, I think about the fact that we’re only here on this planet for a finite amount of time, and wouldn’t it be nice if we lived to be 90 years old for example? That’s what I’ve got my heart set on! So if you’re only here for 90 years, how many hundreds of thousands of years were here before you? And how many more years will continue to roll on when you’re not here anymore?  For those 90 years that we’re here, it’s just a drop in the ocean, so in other words – make the most of your time. Find what makes you tick, find what makes you feel fulfilled, and try to make it count. And most importantly… be authentic, be yourself, and be happy.

Don’t hide your Pride 😊