Standing proud: Darren Robertson


Darren Robertson

Darren Robertson

Audit Senior Manager


Darren Robertson, Audit Senior Manager, discusses coming out at work and what inclusivity and Pride means to him.

My experience

I have always found Johnston Carmichael to be very welcoming and understanding towards me and my identity and sexuality. It’s not something that I believe should ever be relevant to how my contribution is judged –no one should be discriminated against because of something they cannot control and do not have a choice over and it certainly shouldn’t be a factor impacting career decisions or routes. No one chooses their sexuality – no one decides to be straight just as much as no one chooses to be gay.

During the first few months of my career, whilst I was a placement student, I never mentioned my sexuality to any of my colleagues – whilst some may argue there was never any need (to be cliché, “obvious”), that is not the issue - I was afraid of the reaction and whether I’d be looked down at, my graduate training contract offer withdrawn, or treated differently for speaking out, particularly as there were at the time no openly LGBT colleagues that I could confide in. Questions that went through my mind were - was there an equivalent of a “Gay Glass Ceiling”? Could my career options be limited before I even established myself and let others see what I could bring in terms of skills and knowledge?

Since coming out at work, I have found the reaction to be overwhelmingly positive -  colleagues treated me with respect, were welcoming, and conversations we had about relationships and life in general were treated no differently as if I had a girlfriend, which has been fantastic and really encouraging. I haven’t been treated any differently at all.

I am confident that my career development has been due to my work efforts, and proud that I can hopefully act as a role model for others starting out in their careers likewise who have (or had) similar concerns to mine.

What inclusivity means to me

Inclusivity isn’t about making LGBTQIA+ rights more important than any other – it is about equal rights and ensuring everyone is treated fairly and consistently and that applies regardless of sexual orientation, gender, age, race, marital status, and so on.

What Pride means to me

Pride is a great way to show others how important inclusivity is to us, and allows us to express ourselves freely.

A common misconception I find is that people usually associate Pride with a simple parade full of rainbows and glitter. Whilst this is partly true (!), it’s a celebration to allow us to be free and open about our sexuality, which sometimes can still be a taboo subject in some countries. such as where the rights of those who identify as transgender are being challenged more recently. Just as much as Pride Parades will be attractive for someone who is or isn’t sure of their identity, it isn’t for others. Where I’m based in Aberdeen, Pride proudly encourages people to sign up for running, tennis and rugby groups specifically for LGBTQIA+ individuals of all ages - highlighting that the main importance is togetherness and diversity, and that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all.

I am confident that my career development has been due to my work efforts, and proud that I can hopefully act as a role model for others starting out in their careers likewise who have (or had) similar concerns to mine.

At Johnston Carmichael our People and Culture Forum (PCF) provides a channel for employees to generate, discuss and help implement ideas for positive change. This has really led the way in listening to and being a voice for employees. Our subgroup of the PCF, Embrace, focuses specifically on promoting LGBTQIA+ inclusivity. Everyone’s LGBT journey differs and that’s where I believe Embrace can ensure that others’ journeys are as kind as my own has been.

Find out more about our People and Culture Forum and Embrace here.