LGBT Great appoints Luke Williams as its new Global Member Relationship Manager
What is your background and identity?
I’m a bi trans man who grew up in a small town in the UK called Yorkshire – it wasn’t until I moved south for university (and to start work as a lawyer) that I was able to broaden my cultural horizons and start to form my LGBTQ+ identity. I’ve been ‘out’ for over 10 years now and it’s still evolving.
Why did you decide to join LGBT Great?
Before I came ‘out’ I anticipated my career path being relatively linear, but in actuality I’ve found my journey has been much less straightforward. I was fortunate to have some amazing mentors as I started my career as an out LGBTQ+ person in professional services, and I’m incredibly grateful to have had their support as I navigated the relationship between my personal identity and my professional identity. I’m a firm believer in the importance of paying that help forward, which I’ve been doing alongside my day job throughout my career, and it’s fantastic to be able to join LGBT Great to use my knowledge and expertise for the benefit of my community full-time.
Who are your role models?
For me the phrase “role model” has connotations of being someone you’re keen to emulate in a relatively literal way, but two of my best friends are significant sources of inspiration for different reasons. One is a gay senior manager in a large corporate tech environment, and he’s a fantastic trans ally and proactive leader within his organisation’s LGBTQ+ ERG. The other is a bi/queer woman in a relationship with a man, often leaving her feeling “invisible” to the community, but her whole ethos and approach to life is unapologetically queer and one of radical softness.
How can organisations fully empower all parts the LGBTQ+ community?
I could (and do!) speak about this all day! The overarching factor is a willingness to learn from a diverse range of LGBTQ+ voices about the needs of different parts of the community, and to implement that feedback to help break down barriers to meaningful inclusion. It’s often said that diversity is like being invited to a party, whereas inclusion is being asked to dance. “Empowerment” represents moving beyond quantitative, potentially tokenistic representation and into qualitative, meaningful opportunities LGBTQ+ people to self-actualise.