Hugo Greenhalgh is the LGBT+ editor of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Reuters, and editor of its LGBT+ news website Openlynews.com.
Prior to joining the foundation in July, he spent 11 years at the Financial Times in a variety of roles, most recently as the editor of the FT Wealth magazine and an editor on the Comment desk. Over the past 25 years as a journalist, he has launched several magazines, written for most of the UK broadsheets and reported live from Red Square.
The media has a dual responsibility in this respect – both to show LGBT+ people exist in both ordinary and extraordinary situations; and also to be out at work behind the scenes. This can be very important particularly when it comes to planning meetings. Having sat in numerous morning conferences to plan the day’s news, both at the FT and here at the foundation, visibility is paramount.
So often it is easy for LGBT+ people and their concerns to be overlooked, simply because there is no one to raise them. Prejudices can play a part, but ignorance is a much larger danger.
This has been part of my belief in how to effect change for the past three decades. When I was 19, backed by Stonewall I took the British government to the European Court of Human Rights over the gay age of consent in the UK. Through our court case, parliament moved to lower the age of consent to 18 in a free vote back in 1994, before Euan Sutherland picked up the baton and it was equalised in 2001.
The campaign was all about visibility and all about offering young people role models with whom they could identify. To those ends, we spent the two-year campaign speaking on television and radio and debating at universities and town halls up and down the country.
The power and importance of being out was obvious – and something I am seeking to continue in my new role as LGBT+ editor here at the foundation.