Being Gay, being me, Marc Allenby

Marc Allenby, Co-Founder and CCO of Hijinks shares his own story of being gay in the hope of encouraging everyone to find the strength of their true, brilliant selves

Marc Allenby

Co-Founder and CCO Hijinks


I love being gay. It’s opened up my mind to so many incredible things. From people, to culture, to experiences. But, the best bit is being able to celebrate who I am. And celebrating my whole self has given me happiness, energy and my creativity has exploded.

However, it has not always been like this. So, I want to share my story in the hope that it encourages you to be your true brilliant self, no matter who that is. 

I’m a child of the Thatcher generation. Cast your mind back; miners striking, the cold war, the AIDS pandemic. It was generation grey. I spent my youth in Grimsby and had quite a sad existence as a teen. I was bullied at school for being different. I was failed by the education system because I’m neurodiverse, which wasn’t even a thing back then. My mum and dad went through a painful divorce. I lived through the cold war and used to look out of my bedroom window only to see missiles pointing east. Life in Grimsby was grim!

Through all of that here was one saving grace, creativity. Creativity unlocked and changed everything for me. Creativity was my gift, my passport out of Grimsby. The moment I went to art college and started to find my people, was the first moment I truly started to understand who I was.

I want to share my story in the hope that it encourages you to be your true brilliant self, no matter who that is.

Marc Allenby, Co-Founder and CCO of Hijinks

But being gay was still a negative. I had constant fear and the trauma of being bullied was rife. I hid my sexuality because I didn’t want to risk rejection by the people around me. Anyone who knows me knows that I want to be liked and be accepted, still to this day. 

When I look back on my past, it fills me with sadness. But the past is the past and without it I wouldn’t be the person I am now. 

I had my coming out moment to friends at the age of 26. Then, more coming out moments followed, with the family, at work and at every other job thereafter. Coming out isn’t a one time thing, for me it’s been over the space of many years. 

It wasn’t always easy, but every time I came out and was open about myself, it made me better at what I do. I certainly wouldn’t be the creative I am today without it. Finding the confidence to be myself wholly and openly made me feel more confident, stronger, liberated, empowered and a better creative. I had nothing holding that part of me back. Life changed from grim to beautiful.

Fast forward to now. I’m in an amazing position to pour my pride into something truly epic. I’m about to open the doors to a new creative agency, Hijinks. We’re a creative collective which empowers and celebrates people for who they are. We’re all such interesting and diverse people and that’s what makes us different. We’re certainly not here to look, think or behave like just another creative department. We believe that you have to be happy to be your best creative self, so our mantra is ‘Positivity Through Creativity’. 

This new venture into the great unknown simply wouldn’t have been possible for me without being proud and openly gay. I think that pride and being proud can be a lesson to everyone. Whoever you are, you should celebrate the pride in yourself. It’ll make you better at what you do, I promise. 

Guest Author

Marc Allenby

Co-Founder and CCO Hijinks


Marc is Co-Founder and CCO of Hijinks, a creative collective of diverse thinkers and makers who believe in 'Positivity Through Creativity'. Together they aim to change the face of the industry for the better. Proudly gay, Marc has always seen things differently and has pushed forward the diversity narrative through creativity. Prior to Hijinks, Marc held lead creative roles at various top London agencies including his most recent role as ECD within The VCCP Group. He's always believed that business can create the greatest platform for positive societal change.

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