28 June 2022
Celebrating Pride – Richard’s Story
Home. A single word that means so many different things to people. Everyone has their own version of home, of what home means to them. People, places, feelings, smells, sounds are just a fraction of the myriad of elements that can create a sense of home. Perhaps more than anything, home is defined by love. Anywhere filled with love, can feel like and become…home.
As a General Manager with Hallmark Care Homes, we fill our homes with love, every day. Love for our communities of residents, families and friends. Love for each other. Love for who and what we are. As a gay man, some of those have not been easy concepts for me to sign up to.
Born in the sixties, I grew up through many years when my sexuality was legislated against, was even still criminalised. Discrimination was the norm, and pretty much ‘fair game’ for everything and everybody – ranging from vote hungry politicians to cheesy sitcom stars, from ignorant prejudiced employers, to violent street thugs. It was of course only made worse by the emergence of ‘AIDS’, the so called ‘gay plague’…those days were dark indeed. Frightening, lonely, desperately sad days.
It was tough for many to ‘love who you are’, or ‘what you are’. Home was in short supply.
But with education, with campaigning, never ending social pressure, the determination to challenge outdated norms and to fight for justice and equality, came creeping generational change. I was part of that change, and still am, proudly so.
I ‘came out’ in the 80’s, and campaigned, marched, support, mentor and still do. No one should be in fear of being who they are, living their best lives, or loving who they love. I have been there. I cannot allow that. I will not.
It’s not perfect right now, but my goodness it is so much better, and it is companies like Hallmark that are ensuring that not only do we celebrate the hard-won freedoms, equality and respect, but that we can play a huge in preserving and defending them – a task as important.
As a General Manager with Hallmark, I see love every day. I give love every day. I feel love every day. I genuinely love who I am, and what I am. Hallmark encourages and empowers that of me, and I share that with my team, community, with my home.
As a proud member of the Hallmark LGBTQ+ community, I am…home.