Successful gays say sexuality no barrier

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Twenty of the most powerful and influential homosexuals in Britain have been interviewed for an educational resource that will be distributed to young gay people throughout the country.

In each of the interviews, which are collected in a pocket-sized booklet, it was concluded that, here in the UK, sexual orientation is no longer an obstacle to reaching potential in the workplace, having a successful career or even becoming a world-leading business professional.

Each of the individuals who feature in the resource, which was released yesterday, have achieved huge success in their particular professional field – sport, politics, business, media or art.

The interviewees include film star Sir Ian McKellen, front woman Beth Ditto, Tory shadow minister Alan Duncan, Tory shadow minister, ITV Director Dawn Airey and former NBA basketball player John Amaechi.

A gay adolescent who reads the booklet will receive tips on dealing with bullies by Ditto, career advice from Airey, how to cope with coming out by Russell T Davies and advice on becoming a successful business tycoon by Ivan Massow.

The booklet aims to encourage entrepreneurialism amongst young gay people and to show them that their sexuality will not get in the way of success at the workplace.

The resource was the brain child of 20-year old university student Liam Keogh, who runs LE Communications, a national media company, which specialises in Public Relations.

It was written by him and created in conjunction with Manchester-based charity The Lesbian and Gay Forum (LGF.)

Liam Keogh told

“My primary goal in creating this booklet was to smash the ridiculous stereotype that gay boys only grow up to be hairdressers or interior designers and that all lesbians work as mechanics.

“As this resource shows, gay people are doing everything from directing Government policy, to managing multi-billion pound investment banks, to running national television channels.

“I wanted Britain’s gay teenagers to see this.”

“I don’t want any gay youth to think that their sexuality is going to stop them from doing whatever they want in life, whether that’s having children or becoming Prime Minister.

“By presenting them with a whole new set of role models, who have fulfilled their ambitions, I hope that they will be inspired to do the same and not see their sexuality as a barrier.

“This booklet shows that the gay community is no longer a marginalised section of society, but a group that is actively shaping it.”

LGF Communication Manager Andrew Gilliver added: “Despite positive changes in legislation and society, gay and bisexual people are still not treated equally.

“Resources like this are key to challenging the homophobia that underscores this inequality and vital at supporting the people in our communities who have suffered because of it.”

Among those who have spoken exclusively for the resource are Alan Duncan the conservative MP who believes that there is nothing stopping a gay person becoming Prime Minister.

“If you took gay people out of the world then the church, the BBC and the world of politics would grind to a halt,” he says in the guide.

The UK’s first out lesbian MP, Angela Eagle, agrees but adds:

“There’s still work to do though. In the next ten years, the gay rights movement is going to have to work hard and continue to campaign to ensure that the rights that have been established by law are made a reality.”

The main aim of the guide is to encourage young LGB people to avoid letting their sexuality become a barrier to progressing in any career they choose.

As Doctor Who supremo Russell T Davies says: “Being gay does make you different, but that’s a not a bad thing. It certainly helped me become a writer.”

To find out how you can get a copy of LGF’s Inspirational Guide for Young LGB People e-mail [email protected].