My ‘coming out’ experience and journey of self-acceptance: Ravi’s story

Ravikumar RaoKadam is currently working as a Service Sales Support Officer, and has been with the Bank for over 11 years.


‘Coming out’ is a pivotal moment in the life of an LGBTQ+ person. It is an experience that is different for everyone. Today, I would like to share with you my journey of self-acceptance, and how I came to terms with my identity.

I joined Standard Chartered Bank 11 years ago. I was already an activist in my local community and would actively raise awareness on LGBTQ + issues, through various events. When I started my career with the Bank, I felt that some colleagues were worried about being associated with a person like me. Back then, homosexuality still had a lot of stigma and prejudice attached to it. While I never hid the fact that I was gay, I would try not to draw attention to it. Being a gay man, I instinctively knew who I could open up to, and could also gauge people's actions, when they had a sense of nervousness around me.

Having a good relationship with my colleagues is very important to me. In the initial days, there were instances when I was hurt by the behaviour of some co-workers, but I was fortunate to have supportive managers and team members who constantly encouraged me to be myself, and also gave me my space when I needed it. My family was also extremely supportive when I came out to them, and I consider myself incredibly lucky to have a partner who has stood by me like a rock for the last 14 years. Having been with the Bank for so long, people are now more comfortable around me. Being true to myself means I don't hide who I am. My goal now is to make others do the same.

Standard Chartered Bank is undoubtedly one of the most inclusive places to work in the country. Even though I have experienced several ups and downs in my personal life, my career in the Bank has been very satisfying.

With support from other like-minded colleagues such as Dharmarajan, we started the GLAD Employee Resource Group (ERG) in the Bank in 2019. The ERG, which is now called SC Pride, has a special place in my heart. Over the years, we have rolled out significant initiatives such as launching rainbow lanyards and medical benefits for same-sex partners of colleagues, participating in job fairs and pride parades, hiring from the LGBTQ+ community, etc. While we still have a long way to go, I am happy that we have made some initial strides towards LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Being a member of the ERG has also helped me in getting to know such wonderful people in the Bank. Finding similarities with other helps us lead happy and healthy lives. My life may seem ordinary, but it might seem extraordinary to someone else. Every story shared is a chance to make someone feel less alone.

Being a role model in my local community is very important to me as it gives me a sense of purpose. I counsel people from the LGBTQ+ community from time to time, and many of my peers reach out to me for guidance and timely advice.

Diversity to me means accepting and celebrating people as they are. In a professional setting, it is about recognising and appreciating the differences that each person brings to the workplace. Having diverse backgrounds, perspectives, beliefs, and experiences only makes an organisation stronger. Together, we can achieve so much more.

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