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Our Pride Network is making a positive difference to cat lovers and cats by providing LGBT+ inclusive support

At Cats Protection we’re proud to be here for all cats, and all of the people who care about them. That’s why we created our Pride Network, to make sure we’re an LGBT+ inclusive workplace where employees and volunteers can be themselves. To find out more about the network, we caught up with the Pride Network to hear what it’s like to be pawsome and proud at the UK’s leading cat welfare charity.

Group of people holding up banner with Cats Protection logo and text saying 'Pawsome and proud! #HereForAllTheCatPeople'

What is the Pride Network?

Cats Protection’s Pride Network is a safe space for employees who identify as LGBT+ or as an LGBT+ ally. It’s somewhere we can come together to make a positive difference to our workplace, as well as our communities and people we work alongside, such as our supporters, customers and volunteers.

Why does Cats Protection have a Pride Network?

We have a Pride Network because it’s important that people feel safe to be themselves at work, and the network is the start of Cats Protection becoming a truly LGBT+ inclusive workplace. At Cats Protection we are proud of our dedication to cats, so we’re also dedicated to making sure our colleagues, volunteers and supporters feel able to be themselves. Supporting us all in this way benefits the cats we help to care for, both directly and through the cat owners of the future, past and present!

During Pride Month this year, we hosted informative talks for our employees and volunteers from some inspirational people on their lived experiences. We hope these have created some understanding that if we start to develop a culture of including our LGBT+ community, it means we can better engage with people and help more cats. The Pride Network is here for advice, information, signposting and a friendly face to champion LGBT+ inclusion at Cats Protection.

Why did you attend Birmingham Pride?

three long-haired blonde people holding rainbow flags and wearing black t-shirts with the Cats Protection Pride Network logo

We were keen to attend Birmingham Pride as it’s an important opportunity for us to show in person that Cats Protection is an LGBT+ inclusive place to be for people who want to help cats, both employees and volunteers, as well as adopters, supporters and other people who might come into contact with the charity. The more people who know that we are inclusive of the LGBT+ community, the more people may engage with Cats Protection, helping us to help more cats!

What was the event like?

It was a fab day with an amazing, inclusive atmosphere. So much love and so much fun. We all felt so proud to be able to help represent Cats Protection, and it was really quite emotional to hear the many shouts of “Cats” and “We love cats!” as we paraded. We spoke to existing supporters and volunteers who were so pleased to see us there.

Group of people holding banner with Cats Protection logo and text saying 'Pawsome and proud! #HereForAllTheCatPeople'

Some people at Cats Protection use pronouns in their email signatures, why is this?

Having our pronouns in email signatures normalises people being able to highlight their own pronouns, and helps to stop people being mis-gendered which can be hurtful. This helps people to feel that they can be themselves at work, and shows both internal and external colleagues that Cats Protection is a safe place to be for LGBT+ people. It’s important to remember that sex does not predetermine a person’s gender and lots of people’s gender doesn’t sit comfortably with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Inclusion of pronouns helps us all to respectfully refer to one another, and shows that you are an ally to trans people. If you are concerned about which pronouns to use, just politely ask the person, and if you make a mistake, apologise and correct yourself. Seeing pronouns in email footers means we all get used to talking about them, and may help trans people to feel more comfortable to do the same. If you’d like to find out more about language and pronouns, you can find lots of useful information on Stonewall’s website.

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