OIG was formed three years ago by a small group of people interested in supporting like-minded individuals to meet, share best practice and hear from a number of engaging speakers. It has been gathering pace and regularly attracts a large number of people from various organisations in the private, public and 3rd sector.
OIG is run voluntarily by its members to create a safe social and professional space for its members to meet. It’s not only open to LGBT people but to anyone interested in meeting and engaging in the variety of opportunities presented at OIG.
The group meets the last Thursday of every month in the Corinthian Club. Its aim is to have guest speakers who will bring an insight in to an area of interest that the group has limited understanding or knowledge.
Talks have been held on a wide range of topics including personal legal matters, LGBT inclusion in Sport, LGBT parenting, and what it is like to be L, G, B or T in various industries and sectors. These talks have also seen role model personal stories from LGBT and allies in professional organisations and the services. And, on other occasions there have been speakers from charities providing insights e.g. LEAP Sports Scotland, LGBT Health and Wellbeing, Stonewall Scotland and Terence Higgins Trust. Frequently people have found other outlets and ways of spending their spare time through the talks including volunteering opportunities and joining sports clubs like the Glasgow Alphas and Glasgow Frontrunners.
On other occasions OIG has focused on social opportunities as an opportunity for attendees to consider the role they play as individuals as well as that of their organisations in undertaking support of the local LGBT communities and charities. But mainly it provides a great opportunity to network with like-minded professionals and individuals from different walks of life.
OIG has been extremely successful, but its committee has no intention of stopping there. It is continuing to look at opportunities to expand the networking to other cities and, in addition to establishing the new Out In Edinburgh network group, it is looking to extend this successful framework to England by establishing Out In Leeds.
Barrie Cairns, co-chair of Out in Glasgow, said: “I didn’t come out at work until I was in my mid 30s as I didn’t feel I had allies or a visible support network. By being part of Out in Glasgow you’re sending a powerful and visible message to colleagues that it’s good to be yourself at work. Its very important to say up front that you don’t need to be L, G, B, or T to be part of Out in Glasgow.
“LGBT people face the same challenges as straight people in their daily lives, but ultimately being rejected or challenged by, colleagues, close friends or family on the basis of sexuality has a significant impact on that individual. We’ve been able to provide a forum, a network where people can share experiences, learn from others, feel part of an inclusive network and importantly make new friends.”
It is hoped that what has made OIG so special and valuable to members of Glasgow’s LGBT community can be replicated in Edinburgh.