Pride Life Magazine - - FEATURE -

What at­tracted you to a ca­reer in the se­cu­rity ser­vices? Luke: Since I was young I’ve had an in­ter­est in tech­nol­ogy and much to my par­ents’ frus­tra­tion I be­came very com­pe­tent at tak­ing things apart to learn how they work; less so at putting them back to­gether again! I went to univer­sity to study com­puter science and it was around this time I started to hear more about the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing, I went to work for an IT depart­ment in an­other pub­lic sec­tor or­gan­i­sa­tion. I en­joyed the job but the mystery and in­trigue of the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices made me visit the GCHQ ca­reers web­site. I knew it wasn’t go­ing to be like Spooks but I saw a job that sounded in­ter­est­ing and ap­pealed to my in­ter­est in com­put­ers and tech­nol­ogy. It was nec­es­sar­ily a very vague job de­scrip­tion but I took the plunge and ap­plied. It wasn’t un­til my sec­ond day here that I ac­tu­ally found out what my job would be and it was definitely worth it. Toby: For me it was the in­cred­i­bly in­ter­est­ing na­ture of the work; af­ter post­ings in other gov­ern­ment de­part­ments I was fa­mil­iar with the work of the se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence agen­cies and de­cided it was a nat­u­ral next step in my ca­reer pro­gres­sion. How im­por­tant is it for you, per­son­ally, to be out in the se­cu­rity ser­vices? And how im­por­tant do you find it, gen­er­ally, to be out in the se­cu­rity ser­vices? Luke: I would hate to feel I couldn’t be my­self at work. I’ve done the gen­der neu­tral ter­mi­nol­ogy thing be­fore and it’s tir­ing. As with any job, be­ing able to feel com­fort­able and not on guard about ev­ery­thing you say in case you out your­self makes a mas­sive dif­fer­ence to your en­joy­ment of work. Ev­ery em­ployee in the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices has to be cir­cum­spect about where we work and what we do, so once you walk through the gates, I think it’s vi­tal to bring your true self to work and be open with your col­leagues. Toby: Be­ing out at work al­lows me to be my­self; it avoids the need to be guarded and pre­vents any un­nec­es­sary awk­ward­ness. More widely, know­ing some­one’s sex­u­al­ity at work usu­ally doesn’t mat­ter – but work­ing in a small team and know­ing a lit­tle more about your col­leagues al­ways helps to make ev­ery­one feel com­fort­able, friendly and so­cia­ble. Have you ever en­coun­tered any dis­crim­i­na­tion in the work­place on ac­count of your sex­u­al­ity? Luke: I’ve been really for­tu­nate and not ex­pe­ri­enced dis­crim­i­na­tion any­where that I’ve worked. I won’t say the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices are per­fect — just like any or­gan­i­sa­tion, there is al­ways work to be done; but I’ve never had an is­sue per­son­ally and se­nior lead­er­ship are making a de­ter­mined ef­fort to pro­mote di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion not just for LGBT peo­ple but for all mi­nor­ity groups. Toby: Never! The or­gan­i­sa­tion takes its re­spon- sibil­i­ties for pro­mot­ing equal­ity and di­ver­sity quite se­ri­ously; even with­out that, most peo­ple have really mod­ern and ma­ture at­ti­tudes. Be­ing gay and out is no big deal at GCHQ. If you were dis­crim­i­nated against on ac­count of your sex­u­al­ity what cour­ses of com­plaint are open to you? Luke: Ini­tially, if it’s ap­pro­pri­ate you should re­port the is­sue to a line man­ager or some­one in your man­age­ment chain. If this is not ap­pro­pri­ate or you want fur­ther sup­port, then you can speak to HR. There is also a sec­tion called Em­ployee As­sis­tance who you can go to con­fi­den­tially to dis­cuss any prob­lems and they can put you in con­tact with the right peo­ple or pro­vide any sup­port that is nec­es­sary. There are a lot of av­enues avail­able to staff and dis­crim­i­na­tion isn’t tol­er­ated. Toby: As you’d ex­pect with any em­ployer, there is an in­ter­nal com­plaints process (which is pretty se­ri­ous and de­tailed). Ad­di­tion­ally there is help avail­able through staff sup­port net­works. If I did feel dis­crim­i­nated against I’d prob­a­bly talk to my line man­ager first and definitely wouldn’t ig­nore it. Do you have an LGBT sup­port or so­cial group and what does it do? Luke: There are a num­ber of sup­port and so­cial groups in GCHQ for var­i­ous mi­nor­ity groups, in­clud­ing black and eth­nic mi­nori­ties, dis­abled staff, faith groups and LGBT staff. The GCHQ LGBT group is called Pride. Its pri­mary pur­pose has been to sup­port LGBT staff, raise aware­ness

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