I’m a Just Like Us ambassador, LGBT+ activist, performer, and YouTuber - but I’m also a mentor and a mentee. Mentorship comes in many forms, and involves the imparting of wisdom from one person to another: whether it’s a relative giving a new student wisdom from their days at university, a teacher helping grasp a difficult concept, or someone far along in their career helping out someone who’s just starting out. Throughout my life I have had the privilege to both mentor and be mentored. I believe it is one of the single greatest powers we can grant to one another as humans.
My first experience of formal mentoring was with Just Like Us’ Mentoring Programme, run in partnership with Travers Smith. The scheme was amazing because it was a chance to get mentored by an accomplished professional, as well as a chance for a successful LGBT+ person to share their unique career experiences with a person much more recently out of the closet like myself. I was lucky enough to be mentored by Amy Lamé, the inspirational Night Czar of London. She helped me find direction out of my turbulent final year of university and focus on practical career directions. She helped me secure an internship at the world’s largest LGBT+ film festival, Iris Prize.
A year later, I was invited back into the programme for its second year. This year I was paired with Carl Miller, who embodies what it means to be a mentor. A master of writing and theatre, Carl has already shaped my understanding of the literary world, and even worked to give me valuable advice on my current career despite it being in a world very different to his own. Both Amy and Carl were able to give me advice on what life is like in the professional world as an LGBT+ individual, while also genuinely caring about me and my success, and helping me get there.
In addition to being a mentee, running a YouTube channel for the last few years has put me in the role of mentor to many younger followers. I talk about what it was like coming out in a hyper conservative, Christian family, and give my coming out advice. I talk about the complexities of sexuality, and the importance of breaking down dangerous stigmas and stereotypes. I talk about mental health, and overcoming performance anxiety. Although it may not be a traditional portrayal of what mentorship is, my videos and writing allow me to give back to the magical menagerie of mentorship in my own way.
Mentorship has so much to offer in our journey as humans, and it is so undervalued and under-appreciated in today’s world. It’s a beautiful cycle of knowledge. Mentorship has no age, or limit. It can be practised by anyone, in any setting, at any time. Nobody is above being mentored or below being a mentor themselves - and absolutely everyone can benefit from mentorship. I, for one, will always be grateful to have experienced both sides of this powerful, ancient practise.
Bradley is Just Like Us Ambassador based in Cardiff. The Mentoring Scheme is run in partnership with leading law firm, Travers Smith, and is open to Just Like Us Ambassadors across the country.