Being a gay man in India meant having to hide my sexuality. It’s a country where homosexuality was criminalized until 2018 and because it wasn’t even acceptable to talk about the subject, my time working in Mumbai was spent closeted. To add to this, I was married. In fact, most of the gay men I had met were married with kids and leading double lives, so that’s what I did — because that’s what people all around me were doing.
In 2009, I was transferred to the Accenture UK offices. The differences in culture were immediately apparent. After my divorce, which was a result of challenges between me and my wife rather than my sexuality, I still hadn’t come out. But it was at this point where I discovered Accenture’s LGBT network. At the time, there was nothing like this in India, but the openness and acceptance of gay people in the UK made me comfortable enough to come out at work.
It was like having a weight lifted from my mind — a relief that I no longer had to hide who I truly was. And, it was at this stage that I also found the courage to come out to my sister in India, which was a huge step for me. She was incredibly supportive and our relationship wasn’t affected at all. I still haven’t told my parents yet - I don’t feel it’s quite the right moment to be that brave just yet, but I’m sure the time will come when it feels right.
Accenture is a supporter of Pride. We’ve been attending for a couple of years now and the level of support we get is incredibly positive. And since our LGBT Ally network started, there has been an increasing amount of participation from all levels of the firm as well. While I was in India, I wasn’t aware of Accenture’s involvement in LGBT issues or their overall diversity agenda. Now, being a part of the network in the UK, I’ve realized that our diversity programme isn’t just a “tick-box” exercise. It’s something that is at our core.