Tell us about your accomplishments to date?

There are many things that I consider my accomplishments and when I reflect back it’s easy to be proud of where I came from (single parent family in rural Lancashire) to becoming a qualified lawyer, to moving to London and having the confidence to pivot in my career to focus on DE&I.  I could also mention some of the flagship campaigns I have introduced to the business and the policies I have brought in (including transitioning policies etc.) but as an LGBTQ+ professional, when I reflect on my greatest achievements, it’s not the big ticket items, its the fact that people in the workplace have felt comfortable coming out to me, or sharing their family circumstance and seeing me as a point of guidance and support, that’s what I am most proud of.

What are the barriers in representing many intersectional identity groups?

There are so many barriers in representing intersectional groups, one of the obvious being the diversity of voice, of experience and of thought and trying to ensure that people get equitable treatment to speak their truth and be heard.  The solution is to find common ground, to look at ways in which we can ensure the one-of-one in a group has the same influence and opportunity as the majority and that people work together in a supportive and respectful way. 

Barriers are just challenges that haven’t been solved yet, some arise temporarily, some repeatedly but ultimately its how you look at those challenges to overcome them that’s important, and to learn from mistakes so that challenges can be solved much quicker.

Do you think acceptance is improving?

Unfortunately I do not and it makes me sad.  Whilst provisions for some parts of the community are increasing, acceptance seems to be decreasing.  I see more violence and hatred against the LGBTQ+ community, I see the weaponization of the trans community and I see people from my community still taking their own lives because of their sexuality or gender expression.  I don’t know what the solution is apart from engaging both within our community, with our allies and with our criticisers to help bring people together.

What does been nominated in your category mean to you?

Honestly, it’s incredible.  I never thought my name would be up there.  I didn’t have the courage to come out until later in life and I still struggle with my own identity so to be recognised in this way is so precious to me.  Not only do I stand on the shoulders of giants, but I walk amongst them with my fellow nominees, all of whom are so deserving of this award.  I am grateful and I am humbled to be nominated.