Sir Nick Partridge, OBE, Keele Honorary Graduate

Sir Nick Partridge, OBE, is a leading British health care and HIV/AIDS care activist who graduated in International Relations from Keele University in 1978 and was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Letters in 2008. He was Chief Executive of the Terence Higgins Trust (1991- 2013) and Chair of Involve, an advisory group promoting public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research. He is currently Chair of the Clinical Priorities Advisory Group at NHS England and a volunteer at his local Citizens Advice Bureaux in Peckham.

Q. Why do you think it’s important to have out and visible LGBT people in the University?

When I came to Keele in 1974, there were almost no visible LGBT+ people at the University and virtually none in public life or the media. Our invisibility delayed my coming out and enjoying life to the full. It’s still rare for LGBT+ young people to learn about gay life from their families, schools and local communities. Getting away to University should open up the world in all its diversity. Out and proud LGBT+ students and staff are vital to creating a vibrant, dynamic and inclusive experience for everyone.

Q. What advice would you give to other LGBT staff or students who may be facing difficulties as a result of their sexuality?

Talk to someone! I you don’t want to go along to the Keele LGBT+ Soc, call Switchboard on 0300 330 0630. It’s the LGBT+ helpline, a place for calm words when you need them most. I was a volunteer there in the mid 1980’s and it’s still free, confidential and wonderfully supportive.

Q. Why are allies important in the workplace?

Workplaces can be very competitive and some ‘colleagues’ may stoop to using anti-LGBT+ slurs to try to diminish, undermine or intimidate you. They always have to be called out and this is often most powerfully done by your straight friends and allies. And who wants to work somewhere with no allies anyway?!

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