Lucy Putruele started her activism and work for the LGBTQI community in her teens in Argentina. She talks to Louise Sinnerton from myGwork about the changes she wants to see on the global stage.
Growing up in South America, a continent where rights for the LGBTQI community are often not recognised, nor protected, Lucy always knew she wanted to be involved in the community. “I’m from South America and even though my family were very accepting, the rest of the continent isn’t the same. I always wanted to show pride to the rest of the world.”
At school Lucy was unsure about her sexuality, and any uncertainty she kept a secret. “I went to a private Catholic school so we were made to pray almost every day and not everyone was out and proud at school. When I was at school I wasn’t sure either. One of my best friends was gay and one was a lesbian, but I wasn’t sure of my own orientation at the time.” Later at University was when Lucy felt certain about her orientation and when she confronted homophobia first hand. “When I was 18 or 19 I started dating a girl and we would go to the cinema together and hold hands and people would scream at us. That’s not okay, whether it was sexist or homophobic who knows, but it filled with me rage. That definitely set a fire within me to go and change things. I’m an Aries so clearly I have that there!”
From this point on Lucy could be found campaigning and throwing herself into LGBTQI activism. At 19 years old she was out on the streets helping to get signatures to legalise same-sex marriage in Argentina. “Even though I don’t even believe in marriage, it was so important to get there, to make sure we are afforded the same rights. I remember that passion so clearly.” In a historic vote in 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America and the second country in the Southern hemisphere (after South Africa in 2006) to legalise same-sex marriage. “Back then I felt as if maybe we couldn’t not win, and then when we were finally winning, they couldn’t deny us our rights, we were finally seen as people”.
A few years later Lucy moved to London and is now a Facilities Coordinator role and is part of the Pride @ Rapport committee. “When I moved to London everyone was so open, and I thought this was the future, but the more you get involved in the community you realise that not everyone is out.” This realisation, as well as her understanding of different communities, with her own background, and that of her partner who was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness, gives Lucy a huge drive. She has been a part of the community, joined the 2018 Pride March and thrown herself into the conversation. Now she’s on the committee of Pride @ Rapport and is keen to keep things moving forward.
“I’ve always tried to be involved in this community and knew I needed to join to discuss certain topics and look at how to improve our communications. Our teams can be quite spread out, and working in different locations, so it’s a good way to get to know each other, hang out and show people there is a safe space.”
While creating this space within Rapport, the main thing that Lucy is aiming for is to create friendships and a positive community. “Making friends as an adult in London can be hard, and we all can be lonely, so it’s important that these communities exist”.
Aside from that, there are larger issues Lucy that is fighting for and would love to see change in the world. She has already been fighting to see abortion legalised in Argentina for example. “The process went forward, but then nothing happened, and now we’re in 2020 I can’t believe it still isn’t legal. We were ahead of Australia and the UK with marriage equality in 2010, but on this we are still behind”.
The other community she is hugely passionate about and is fighting for is the trans community. “We have been fighting for trans people to be allowed to have jobs in the government, or state jobs. In Argentina it is a legal requirement to hire trans people in every part of the government, and I want that in the UK too. The UK says no to trans people to self-identity, I feel like it is transphobic… the process to self-identity as a trans person is two years, and is a painful process, and I do fight for that here in the UK.”
Natasha Whitehurst, Head of HR at Rapport says,“We are really happy to support our Pride @ Rapport network because it is imperative to us that all our Ambassadors feel they can bring their whole selves to work”.
Rapport is a corporate partner of the myGwork business community.
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