Lotus at Norwich Pride 2022

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It was Norwich Pride on Saturday 30 July and Lotus Cars was there. Here are some reflections on the day by the members of US LOT who took part…

 

Barrie Hewitt, Team Leader, Quality Assurance, Lotus

The early morning sun is shining, Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ is playing on the radio and the V6 engine is burbling on the overrun – the ‘Rainbow Emira’ is cruising towards Norwich. It’s one of the best moments of my career at Lotus. Everything has fallen into place in this one moment, from being lucky enough to have the licence to allow me to drive this amazing car to Norwich Pride, to the first email to the LGBTQ+ Community titled ‘LGBTQ+ History Month Interest’ and the hard work the Community has put in to get us to this point.

I feel quite emotional, like the part on RuPaul’s Drag Race when they ask, “What would you say to 10-year-old Barrie?” Driving a rainbow-covered 400hp sports car to Norwich Pride would only have been in my wildest dreams!

The message I have always wanted to deliver is that of being your true self at work, being able to show you can be passionate about what you do and who you are. Seeing the people at Norwich Pride be so excited by our amazing car and the diverse people who engineer, build and market the product was empowering.

If just one lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or plus person excitedly approached our Lotus Emira on Saturday, thinking, “That’s what I want to be a part of creating”, without a second hesitation or worry about “Will I fit in?”, then I think the whole effort was worth it!

 

Sefton Steggalls, Chief Engineer, Interior Systems, Lotus

Norwich Pride was the friendliest Pride I’ve ever attended. From 9 till 5 (there’s a cue for a song!) we were busy with people aged from 4 to 84 wanting to talk about Lotus, the Emira sports car and our LGBTQ+ Community at Lotus. The cross-section of people was astounding, ranging from those within the local LGBTQ+ community, community allies and the wider population of Norfolk who couldn’t pass the ‘Rainbow Emira’ without stopping to chat.

Our participation at this event has without doubt raised our profile as an employer that visibly supports the LGBTQ+ community and its LGBTQ+ employees. It means that we can continue to work towards being an employer of choice for those communities that might have thought the automotive industry wasn’t for them.

I was fortunate enough to be involved in setting up the Lotus Communities initiatives in 2021 with our HR team. It was a nerve-wracking experience launching the LGBTQ+ Community across the business. However, the response has been fantastic from all quarters, and people from all across Lotus have been keen to get involved. We have had Executive level support from the very beginning, and again when I put forward the idea of official Lotus participation in Norwich Pride 2022. Roll on next year!

 

Sam Warren, Lead Engineer, Body, Lotus

I only joined Lotus this year but, having worked with Sefton previously, I was soon pulled into the LGBTQ+ Community. Everyone in the group is so proactive and supportive.

The work behind the scenes to enter Norwich Pride has been busy, but great fun too. It was so exciting to be part of the event – it’s our local Pride – as our entry has been Community-led.

On the day in Norwich the atmosphere was amazing. Lots of people we met either owned a Lotus or know someone that does, be it newer or classic. Everyone else at least knows someone who works for the company.  For us to be there, loud and proud, supporting our LGBTQ+ employees and the wider community, was very special for everyone involved.