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Allies in Action: Isobel Lowe-Zinola

This week, we’re celebrating the allies making the Civil Service a great place to work for LGBT+ people. Isobel works at the Department for Education. In this post, Isobel shares why being an ally is important to her.

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By Isobel Lowe-Zinola

Civil Service Allies Week

What’s your job role and where do you work?

My job title is Performance, Risk and Resourcing Committee Secretariat, but more broadly I work in Central Governance for the Department for Education.

How long have you been an ally?

Although I have considered myself an Ally since I was a teenager, I became more conscious of my allyship during my time as Women’s Officer for my college at University, and as a committee member for Cambridge University Amnesty International. In both of these roles, an awareness of LGBT+ issues and involvement in those causes was essential. More recently, when I joined the Civil Service in July 2018 I signed up to be a departmental ally immediately.

Why do you think it’s important to be an ally, and to have allies within an office?

Support for LGBT+ people and their rights should be active rather than passive. I think people in the Civil Service generally consider themselves very liberal, but active engagement is really essential. I believe, as allies, we need to proudly voice our support for our LGBT+ colleagues, acknowledge the issues they continue to face at work and in the wider world, and work to address these, because that’s the only way to achieve real change.  

What have you done to be a visible ally within your office or what do you plan to do?

Since being in post, I have helped to organise Stonewall Allies training for DfE colleagues (scheduled for Nov 18), and analysed data of our current allies to think about ways to tailor initiatives and events to interest and include allies. I am putting myself forward for election to the new ‘Allies Officer’ role in the DfE and have received training to help deliver LGBT+ awareness sessions to DfE colleagues. Aside from that, I wear my LGBT+ rainbow lanyard with pride, and try to always listen to my LGBT+ colleagues to learn how I can be of most use to them!

Civil Service Allies Week is a chance to highlight the important role of LGBT+ allies in the Civil Service.

Find out more about Allies Week