Gay GCHQ employee in LGBT radio interview
News article - 06 Jan 2015
A radio broadcast on 27 Nov 2014 gave the public a rare insight into GCHQ and its thriving Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community.
Ivan Jackson of ShoutOut, an LGBT online radio station based in Bristol, came to GCHQ's Cheltenham base to interview Ben *, an out gay member of staff.
The release of the film The Imitation Game, with its portrayal of Alan Turing's work at GCHQ's predecessor, the GC&CS at Bletchley Park, had led ShoutOut to wonder what it was like to be LGBT and work for today's intelligence agencies.
Ben reflected on how his experience of coming out at work was entirely positive, and on his belief that what matters is what staff can bring to GCHQ, not their sexuality.
Sexuality does not affect your ability to analyse data, to think about problems, to do your work, he said. It s a facet of my life. It doesn't define who I am in my workplace.
He added that current staff shared with Alan Turing and others a passion for their work and a belief in GCHQ's mission to protect the UK.
Ben discussed the organisation's LGBT network Pride@gchq and its work to achieve a higher ranking in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, an annual benchmarking exercise that ranks the Top 100 Employers in Britain for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
GCHQ is still a place of mystery for many, but hopefully Ben will have shown LGBT listeners that there is no reason why they too shouldn't fit in and make a difference.
*First name changed for privacy reasons.