Blog: Maritime UK hosts first LGBT+ Industry Roundtable

By: Chrissie Clarke

Head of Diversity and Operations/Secretary to Maritime Skills Commission


On Tuesday 29 June, the Diversity in Maritime programme hosted its first LGBT+ industry roundtable, which explored ways to increase LGBT+ representation in maritime.

The inaugural event, held online at the conclusion of Pride Month, was part of the Maritime UK's Pride in Maritime Network's one-year anniversary celebrations and was attended by senior leaders from across the UK maritime sector.

I felt proud to be able to host this session as an ally to the LGBT+ community. Danny McGowan, Nautilus International and Chair of the Pride in Maritime Network  led the discussions and we were delighted to be joined by leaders including Nautilus's general secretary Mark Dickinson, who is also a commissioner on the Maritime Skills Commission, and representatives from International Transport Workers' Federation, the Royal Navy, as well as colleagues from the ferry, shipping, leisure and ports industries.

The high-level meeting's goal was to start a conversation and explore ideas amongst employers about the steps they can take to improve LGBT+ diversity in maritime in collaboration with the network and with Nautilus. It explored some practical ways to remove barriers for LGBT+ people, including positive steps for improving environment, social and governance (ESG) strategies. Attendees also discussed how to extend work to date into global areas where there are different societal and legal challenges to consider, as well as improving policies on diversity and inclusion, and bullying and harassment.

We set a challenge for those at the meeting, asking them what the first Pride in Maritime Day, to be held on 28 February 2021, should look like for employees. This will be discussed at the next roundtable. The roundtables, planned to take place quarterly, will supplement the Pride in Maritime Network events attended by LGBT+ people and allies across the sector.

Maritime Minister Robert Courts sent a video message of support, saying he believed that promoting a maritime culture that encompasses diversity in its broadest sense, would reap wide ranging benefits. He noted a sector that is the lifeblood of our country should represent and welcome the people it serves. He paid tribute to the work of the Diversity in Maritime Taskforce as well as the work of women in maritime, noting that those who are part of multiple underrepresented groups may face greater barriers, both professionally and personally.

The next roundtable will be held on Monday 13 September during London International Shipping Week.

You can read Nautilus's blog which discusses the roundtable here