We’re proud to have a number of colleague diversity networks across our organisation, representing colleagues who are Black, Asian, or minority ethnic; neurodiverse; and LGBTQ+. These networks are supportive spaces where colleagues from these communities, and allies, can learn more about each other’s experiences and look for ways for us to improve our practices.
Each of our networks have been sharing ‘In Conversation With’ videos, featuring a member of one of the networks having a reflective conversation with a member of our executive team. This month, for LGBT History Month, Adam, our Chief Executive, and Sarah, one of our Service Directors, got together to have an incredibly insightful discussion about their experiences as gay people in the leadership roles.
During the conversation, Sarah gives us a look into her life before working in an environment that felt inclusive and safe,
I could live a life where I didn’t get scrutinized too much, but equally I lived a life where I couldn’t really talk about the joy of the life.
Alongside this, Sarah also speaks of the joys in her life now she is in an environment where she feels comfortable bringing her whole self to work,
I think the highs are really easy to identify, so at the point I decided pretty much around 1999-2000 that I wanted to be a full-time psychotherapist, my life changed in terms of the permissions that came in that role.
Both Adam and Sarah share their stories of growing up and the differing generational factors that made their experiences so different. Adam’s experience differed to Sarah’s in terms of the support received from family and peers. He commented:
I think that 20 year gap between the two of us is quite a significant 20 year gap, and I know we’ve just been speaking before we came on here about this being the 20 year anniversary of the abolishment of section 28.
‘I grew up in a household of acceptance, and I grew up in a household of “it just doesn’t matter”. Which led me to be quite an open individual about myself because I thought, what am I hiding it for? I won’t let other people have the power over me around anything, and that mentality means that it is what it is. I never came out because I never saw the need to, I just turned up with a man at a party and that was it!’
To bring the conversation to a close, both Sarah and Adam shared an insight into their lives now, and a message for any LGBTQ+ people who might be struggling,
It will get better, and if you’re at the start of your LGBTQ+ journey, it does get better and it does get easier, and it gets really fun. Embrace it and own it.
Sarah importantly adds,
And don’t do it alone.
Please see the full video of Sarah and Adam’s conversation above, we hope you find it as informative, insightful, and inspiring as we did!