Toby carvery bessacar bar

How M&B provided a supportive environment during Aidan's transition from female to male

How M&B provided a supportive environment during Aidan's transition from female to male

Kim Lane our consultant managing the role
Date posted: 05/04/2022

Aidan has been with us for 8 years. He is trained in both back of house and front of house roles but currently works as a Night Porter/Relief Staff Member at Toby Carvery/Innkeepers Lodge Bessacarr in Doncaster. 


We spoke to him about his experience of working at Mitchells and Butlers (M&B) as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and he gave a refreshingly honest and insightful account of how we’ve helped him overcome difficult times. Here’s Aidan’s story:

What made you decide to join M&B?

‘I started as a Christmas Temp Waiter in 2013 after struggling to find work for 6 months. I must have impressed the team and managers at the time as I was given a permanent job after Christmas. Since then, I’ve worked my way up through the roles to get to the position I’m currently in.’

This is a familiar story within our teams. Many of our people join us in temporary positions and go on to stay with us because of the career progression within the hospitality industry that we offer. Learning and development opportunities are just one of our many benefits, with our other perks covering our five well being pillars: financial, physical, mental, environmental and social.

How have you seen M&B support the LGBTQ+ community?

‘I am an Asexual Trans-male and I’ve found that my managers have been very accepting of this (the trans bit, I’ve never really made a big thing of the asexual stuff), including supporting me with time off for hospital and clinic appointments. I’ve also witnessed the same level of support for another member of the Trans community who joined the business after me. M&B are always accepting of diverse communities.’

At M&B, we’re not perfect, but we are on a mission to become a truly diverse employer, that’s why our doors are open to anyone who is good-natured and willing to work hard. Laura, who is a Shift Supervisor at The Clarence, and also a member of the LGBTQ+ community says she has a great support network at M&B, and feels she can be open without the fear of judgement. 

How have you been supported on a more personal level?

‘When I started at Toby Carvery I was about halfway through my transition from Female to Male (FtM). I’d had my top surgery done but was still seeing my gender clinic and therapists to establish the correct testosterone treatment and to also refer me for a lower surgery. During this time the managers were supportive, giving me time off to go to the clinic for appointments and therapy meetings. When I was given a date for my lower surgery in 2015, I was particularly grateful that my manager was happy to give me time off over the Christmas period to have the surgery and recover from it. 

I’ve never felt like they see me as a lesser person and I’ve even found that our regular customers are supportive. On one occasion I was outed at the bar which was uncomfortable, but the manager swiftly dealt with it and thankfully the regulars were very open-minded to the LGBTQ+ community. They simply congratulated me on being “strong enough” to go through with my transition.’

Our people are our priority, and we’ll support them however they need it.

What can the hospitality industry do to make the workplace more inclusive?

‘The hospitality industry has a way to go but M&B are gradually making progress. I do feel that we could be more visible with our allyship of the LGBTQ+ community, such as joining in with the pride events in Doncaster when they come around in August. It would be great to see flags in support of Pride in the future.’

Why is M&B a great place for LGBTQ+ allies?

‘At M&B I feel very much like I’m part of a big family, particularly when I find that people are accepting of who I am. Even when they are unsure I am always happy to answer questions when I can and help educate them. I’ve never felt belittled or lesser and even though many who I meet in the business now have no idea as to who I was before, I feel safe in my workplace to let them know that I’m trans and not be discriminated against because of it.’

This truly sums up that M&B’s culture makes it a great place to work. It's our diverse teams and the power of inclusiveness that are our strengths. 

Have you been inspired by Aidan’s story?

At every site, our teams are made up of a unique mix of people from all different backgrounds and walks of life. Everything we do as a business is underpinned by the enthusiasm and professionalism of our diverse teams, and we are successful because of their dedication and hard work. 

If you’ve been inspired by Aidan’s story, and have a passion for delivering a great guest experience and creating a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment, we may have an opportunity for you. Browse our available bar and waiting jobs today and you’ll be one step closer to joining our big family.

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