• The Centre for Inclusive Leadership

LOGAN PARTRIDGE INTERVIEW


Logan Partridge, a friend of The Centre, was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions about his upbringing and story that has led him to where he is today



Thank you so much for agreeing to answer a few questions.


As much as there has been some progression, in certain countries, I think there are still assumptions made about people from the LGBT+ community, the felt impact of that has a range, so I thought I’d begin by asking you, how do you see yourself?


I don’t know if I see myself any particular way. Do I see myself as a “gay man”? I think when I’m outside of my own private space that I do most of the time. It can be difficult not to think about how people might be perceiving you based on how you speak, walk or dress when people often use those cues to make an assumption of you. It’s also difficult sometimes not to play into people’s ideas of you based on those stereotypes. However, it doesn’t bother me as much as it used too, I don’t feel uncomfortable with many of the stereotypes there are around gay men anymore. Today, I choose to celebrate them. Why fight it when little of it is actually negative? You’ve just been made to feel it is in the past. I also think if we choose to celebrate it that it can connect us rather than divide us as well.


“It can be difficult not to think about how people might be perceiving you based on how you speak, walk or dress when people often use those cues to make an assumption of you.”

________________


Who did you want to be growing up?


I’m not really sure, I think I just wanted to be someone that I could be proud of.


Were there any visible figures from the LGBT+ community that helped you on your journey? What was it about them that stood out for you?


I can’t think of any famous figures that stood out when I was young. Section 28, which was a law that was passed in 1988 by Thatcher’s government, instructed that ‘a homosexual lifestyle’ could not be ‘promoted’ within schools. This meant that LGBT figures weren’t talked about around me at all. In TV and film it felt like anything gay-adjacent was usually only there to be laughed at. Most gay characters you saw were merely there for light entertainment and were very two-dimensional. I still think now that a lot of my playing the funny person in people’s lives comes from having only seen gay people represented as comedic characters on screen. As if I wouldn’t be palatable to people unless I was funny.


“In TV and film it felt like anything gay-adjacent was usually only there to be laughed at. Most gay characters you saw were merely there for light entertainment and were very two-dimensional.”

________________


I was lucky though that in my family life, my parents had many LGBT identifying friends who we were very close to and spent a lot of time with. The main thing that stands out to me in that was that not only did I see my parents openly loving queer people, being actively involved in their lives, supporting and caring for them when they needed it; but also that I saw openly queer people living happy and successful lives. Despite the difficulties I was facing with people my age, there was a voice in the back of my head that told me it wouldn’t be like that forever.


What does representation mean to you?


I think representation means more than maybe I’ve ever thought about before. I think part of the turbulence of accepting myself for who I was when I was growing up came from not seeing myself reflected in the world around me. Not seeing any positive or relatable representation of LGBT people in anything I digested at home, while simultaneously being told I should be ashamed of who I was when I connected with the outside world, became intrinsically linked. It was the world telling me I’m not represented because I’m not worthy of representation. I’m sure I won’t have been alone in that and the harm this will have done to so many of us cannot be ignored.

That’s why we need to see more stories from queer people from all walks of life. They need to be stories of celebration and success, not just our trauma. We all understand that no life is lived without its share of pain but there is hope too and there is joy and success and love and self-acceptance. We need to share this with young queer people as much as possible in as many ways as possible so they don’t interpret their identity in the same way many of us will have.


“That’s why we need to see more stories from queer people from all walks of life. They need to be stories of celebration and success, not just our trauma.”

________________


What are the challenges, if any, do you think that those from the LGBTQ+ community face at work?


When I came to work in a predominantly cisgender heterosexual male environment, I quickly learned that if anyone is looking to inspire you, they’re probably going to use some kind of sports metaphor. I can only speak for myself but if I hear one more ‘thought leader’ make another sports related metaphor to demonstrate what great leadership looks like; I will fill my pockets with stones and find a nearby river.

I say it in jest but I also say it because we talk about a lot of things in the world of work in quite an exclusive way. I actually think for quite a large number of people, not just queer people.

Historically, sports isn’t the most inclusive of industries, especially for queer people. Language like this just reminds you that you’re walking into a space that wasn’t built for you and that the group of people moulding that world hasn’t evolved very much either. There are a million ways to connect to an audience so if you have to talk in metaphors, are you able to think of a more universal metaphor to make your point?

Anyways, if we’re discussing more serious matters there is still plenty to consider:

  • Gendered bathrooms. (Where do I go if I don’t identify as a binary gender? Is my identity safe here?)

  • Parental leave. (What am I entitled to as a queer parent in your business? Does my manager understand the differences? Can they support me?)

  • Discrimination. (Does my colleague respect me? Who do I talk to if I think I could be being held back or left out because of my identity? Did I just hear those employees making homophobic/transphobic jokes?)

  • Representation (eg. I don’t see any queer identifying people leading this business. Do I have a future here?)


How can people become better allies?


I think good allyship is demonstrated through genuine interest in difference and taking the time to learn about the experiences of others. If you’re offered the opportunity to attend something where you can learn, take that opportunity and soak it up and don’t be afraid to ask a question that you might think sounds strange. I can assure you that you’re not the only one thinking about it and you might just answer some questions in other people’s minds in that space.

I think people often make the honest mistake of thinking that LGBT events are exclusively for LGBT identifying people but little change is made if our experiences continue to only be heard by our community so make sure you turn up and listen with the best of intentions.


In the near future I hope to see systems built for things like HR, banking, insurance, pensions and tax systems that are more cognisant and aware of identities of all kinds and inclusive of them.”

________________


And where do you see things heading (advances) for the LGBT+ community in the next 2-3 years? Or what would be your wish?


I hope to see a working world that exists less solely in the binary. Binary genders are valid and important but it is often the only option which I think can be quite triggering or dysphoric for anyone that identifies outside of that.

Including language for all gender identities doesn’t limit anyone that chooses to identify as cisgender but it does create a lot of freedom and inspire a lot of calm for anyone who identifies outside of the cisgender binaries.

In the near future I hope to see systems built for things like HR, banking, insurance, pensions and tax systems that are more cognisant and aware of identities of all kinds and inclusive of them.


If you could give your younger self advice, knowing what you know now, what would you say?


I think I’d tell myself that while it might feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, your honesty and intuition will always take you in the right direction. You can trust yourself more than you do.



If you enjoyed this interview, check out our resources page where you can find similar interviews and more- https://www.thecentreforinclusiveleadership.com/blog






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