To celebrate Pride Month, Mazars shines a spotlight on one of our LGBTQIA+ employees, Sarah McLoughlin, from our marketing team in our Dublin office.
What does Pride mean to you?
To me, Pride means having the courage to be your full, authentic self. It also means being a strong ally to other people in the LGBTQIA+ community, especially the transgender community. This is something that I’m particularly passionate about. Unfortunately, Ireland is still a place where it is difficult for trans people to lead safe, healthy and integrated lives, despite the progress that has been made in more recent years. Organisations such as the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) are doing fantastic work for the trans community. However, there is still a long way to go.
What was coming out like for you?
Coming out for me was a relatively easy process. My parents are incredibly open, loving and accepting people, and they have always supported me, no matter what. I know how lucky I am that I get to say that. I think the big thing that weighed me down at the time was how people would perceive me or think differently of me. I think I became obsessed with other people’s perceptions instead of just focusing on my own.
An interesting story to tell, I came out when I was 21 while performing in a music theatre festival in San Diego. I met an American woman while I was there, who ended up seeing my show an impressive five times and then pursued a long-distance relationship with her for the following two years. It was a fairly hectic time coming to terms with my own sexuality and spending time between Dublin and California at a relatively young age.
How has your professional life been as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community?
When I first entered professional work environments, I remember thinking that I should hold myself back and feeling like I didn’t deserve the same career success as the heteronormative people around me at the time. I think that was all largely due to my own insecurities at the time and perhaps because I wasn’t surrounded by any LGBTQIA+ professionals in my work environments, so I didn’t have anyone I could look up to in that way.
Thankfully, this belief system has changed dramatically over the last five years, but it took a lot of time, mental health resources, and a lot of self-acceptance, to get to where I am now. I consider myself lucky to be working for a company like Mazars that has a genuine, open and inclusive working environment for all.
If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?
I would tell her that it’s okay to be herself and to ask for help. In fact, I would tell her to start therapy earlier. Therapy has been transformational for me personally, and it has taught me the importance of self-awareness, self-compassion and self-acceptance, above all else. I first started sessions in a centre called Insight Matters, which is an LGBTQ+ friendly space, and I worked with a fantastic therapist there for about two years. It can take a while to see progress in therapy, but as long as you find the right therapist for you and give the relationship with them a chance, then you should be able to see a notable difference in yourself. I would also tell her that everything gets better and that there’s a healthy, loving relationship in her future.
For anyone who wants to reach out, whether you are a Mazars employee or not, I’m always happy to chat. Find me on LinkedIn.