Out in force
“We need positive role models who can show us it’s possible to be your true self at work”
We talk to Royal Air Force Logistics Officer Lisa Griffiths about being out at work, the importance of role models, and same-sex parenting.
DIVA: Tell me a bit about yourself. What is your job?
I’m a Royal Air Force Logistics Officer. It’s a great role and extremely varied - I love it! I am also passionate about my role as Co-vice chair for the RAF LGBT+ Freedom Network (and as the Families & Partners Lead). Our network has circa 60 volunteer personnel who are committed to supporting our LGBT+ serving personnel, and their families, to achieve an ever-inclusive working environment. We support numerous community events, including LGBT+ discussion panels at schools, networking events with industry and (of course) Pride in London. We also work closely with Diversity & Inclusion policy personnel to provide lived experience advice to steer policy developments, if required. It’s a really rewarding role!
How important do you think it is to have visible role models in the work place?
It’s essential to have role models in the workplace. It’s human nature to not want to feel we are on our own… that there is someone else we can relate to. We all need positive, relatable, role models who we can turn to for guidance, who can show us it is possible to be yourself, your true self, at work. I’m not saying everyone should come out, but I’ve come to realise there is a difference between being secret (a negative decision) and being private (a positive decision). Keeping a part of you secret takes a lot of mental energy and can be draining. By being more visible at work I hope I can provide strength to LGBT+ personnel to be themselves, and to assist our LGBT+ allies in fostering a truly accepting working environment – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Also, it’s important that we don’t see each other in limited boxes – being LGBT+ is a part of who I am, but it’s not everything I am. Being an RAF officer is part of who I am, being a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife, being a woman, is all a part of who I am. It’s important to remember that society is hugely diverse and we must work with a range of networks and the wider community to support each other, and to enable each individual to achieve their potential – for business, but also for personal fulfilment.
What are you most proud of?
Getting through the selection process and subsequent officer training was no mean feat, but I am proudest of my three children. My wife and I spent almost five years creating our family through what was a total of 16 attempts of IUI and IVF. My wife carried our first daughter and I carried our twin daughters. They are now three and five. It is incredible to see them grow and develop their personalities and sense of humour – they are all so different, but equally amazing. Our five-year-old has started school and to see her learning to read and write has me in awe. My responsibility to raise strong, inquisitive, and kind little women is always at the forefront of my mind. Right now they are into Fireman Sam, Spiderman and princesses… and stickers… they put them everywhere. I’ve turned up to work with stickers in my hair on more than one occasion! But I do try to teach them about diversity and equality – to teach them their gender doesn’t need to dictate the careers they want in the future, or who they want to marry.
Read more about some of the amazing LGBT+ women serving in the navy, army and air force in the June issue of DIVA, available to buy in print or digitally here.
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