Role Models: Guy Lowe-Barrow

Role Models: Guy Lowe-Barrow

Guy spent most of his youth in St. Vincent and the Grenadines where, growing up was always aware of his ‘otherness’, coming to realise himself as Gay. With support from an inspirational teacher, Andrea Bowman, he came to terms with his sexuality, although his coming out involved a heated ‘discussion’ with his father who told him that ‘he wished he had kerosene and matches’.  In 1996 he volunteered as the first St. Vincent and the Grenadines to CFLAG, a fledgling Caribbean LGBT group, with whom he met with the Chief Medical Officer to discuss LGBT community concerns about HIV testing and medical confidentiality on the island.  He became involved in youth politics on the island but having witnessed another gay person brutally beaten and feeling helpless to help he resolved to leave.

Guy enlisted into the British Army from Kingstown, among the first recruited directly from the islands. He joined the Royal Logistic Corps, qualifying as a Chef and completing several Operational Tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as multiple other overseas deployments, promoting to be responsible for the day to day running of military kitchens.

Guy joined the Army Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Forum as the Gay men’s rep whilst serving with the Welsh Guards in London, implement a new way of soldiers paying for food to the Battalion and tailoring the system for the different regimental Messes. In 2012 he deployed on Operation TELIC, Iraq, as the catering manager in a Forward Operating Base, before returning to join the military catering team during the London Olympic Games.

In 2013, Sergeant Lowe-Barrow was appointed Secretary of the Army LGBT Forum, as well as contributing to the foundation of the Army Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) network. He has lead Army organisation for London Pride March and MOD LGBT Conferences, and organised Defence’s first community engagement at UK Black Pride.

Committed to inclusion, whilst serving with the Royal Irish Regiment Sergeant Lowe-Barrow developed interactive Diversity & Inclusion to increase the soldier’s interaction with the Army’s diversity training. Sergeant Lowe-Barrow is now an Instructor at the Food Service Wing of the Defence College of, Policing, Logistics and Administration.

Sergeant Lowe-Barrow has experienced challenges in his career some professional others not, admitting “there have been and continue to be moments where I’ve just wanted to give up but then I remembered an inspirational female Company Sergeant Major in training who hear I was on the verge of asking to discharge who told me of her friends and colleagues who were kicked out and fought so much for me to have my opportunities. Her leadership set a marker which I would come back to time and time again as a reminder of the sacrifices made by others for me to be able to serve as an openly gay man, and became my first military role model.”

“I decided to become part of the Army LGBT forum after witnessing the first soldiers marching in uniform in London pride march. Whilst not comfortable being that ‘out’ to the world, it struck me that there weren’t any LGBT Soldiers of Colour, so I got involved. It has been a privilege to contribute to inclusion in the Army not just as a solider but as a soldier from the commonwealth. I had the privileged to be one of the founding members of the Army BAME network and now functions as the secretary of the network.”

Sergeant Lowe-Barrow spoke at Stonewall’s Manchester Workplace Conference and joined Commander Field Army, Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders to support the Stonewall #ComeOutForLGBT campaign.