Name: Harry Dozier
Organisation: Scottish Government
How does your identity relate to your work?
I identify myself first and foremost as a writer and artist. But, the parts of me that most people see, before they know me, are my multiple intersectional identities. I'm a Black gay American with disabilities. And they've all played a large part in my experiences at work at different times.
As a minority ethnic person and non-native British citizen, parts of my identity are obvious the moment I walk into a room. I don't get to choose who I come out to in that sense. It was difficult getting to grips with the very different British office culture. It also made it difficult to know if it was ok to reveal the parts of my diverse identity that aren't immediately visible.
Have you faced any barriers in your career due to your identity?
Some of my earliest experiences being out and not from the UK were quite negative. For me, the biggest problem wasn't negative 'banter', but being discriminated against in professional situations. I was told that I was inappropriate because of my culture or because of the perceived 'gayness' in the way I dressed. It was hard, because I was already struggling with my own personal rejections – I had left my family behind because, at the time, they didn't accept my identity as a gay man.
Have you had any opportunities in your career due to your identity?
My identity hasn't created opportunities, but it has been an asset. Because of my intersectional identity I'm able to speak to different groups of people from a place of authenticity and empathy. My experiences have fuelled my passion for equality and I've used that to seek out opportunities where I can support others.
I've been lucky to have worked with people and in organisations that fostered my drive and enabled me to succeed despite any cultural or physical barriers. I’ve had to get involved, reach for those opportunities, and use them to help raise others up.
Why are LGBT workplace role models important?
Workplace role models change lives. Having people in the workplace who understand your identity and can offer support and inspiration are invaluable. I’ve been lucky to have many role models in my life who’ve showed me what it means to inspire people. They aren't famous. They’re just people who shared their stories with me and encouraged me through dark times. Role models do everything from simply standing up to standing out. It's a kind word. It's saying no to bad behaviour. It's celebrating the triumphs and accomplishments together. You're a role model for just being you and sharing that with one person, or one hundred.
As an LGBT person, what’s it like working in government?
For me, working in government has been a liberating and uplifting experience. They're incredibly open to change and creating a culture of acceptance.
However, I know that the ease and comfort I feel at work isn’t universal. Like many sectors, in remote offices and areas the culture can be very different. I want to make sure people who do experience any negative behaviour in their offices know that there's recourse for getting it changed.