Patrick Strudwick has been named the 62nd mostinfluential gay man in Britain today. His contributions to thejournalism industry earned him highly regarded awards in 2010 and he now writesregularly for the Guardian and Attitude magazine.

Heattended Manchester University when he was 18 and studied classical music. Whenthe time came to leave though, he says ‘I wasn't sure about pursuing a careerin music’.

Eventually he moved into sales and website design which led to anopportunity to write. ‘I was asked “why don’t you think about writing?”Journalism had never occurred to me because I had always focused on music. Itwas a bit of a ‘Eureka!’ moment when I realised that was what I wanted to do’. He began as most journalists do, ‘I pitched ideas and hassled him [the editorof a men’s magazine] and he eventually agreed to let me write the music page.’He then moved on to the more popular magazine ‘Attitude’ which he spent2002-2008 as the senior contributing editor and columnist.

In 2009, Strudwick wentundercover to discover what was, at the time, an untouched subject unknown tothe Great British public. ‘The piece came out in 2010 and before that, no-onehad done this, no-one had gone undercover to expose this kind of therapy.No-one really knew it was going on in this country beyond a few academics’. Hetalks about conversion therapy, a so-called cure for homosexuality. He tells me of the difficulty after theinvestigation of having the 4000 word piece published.

Eventually it waspublished by The Independent six months after it was written. ‘There were lotsof ripples that came from my piece [...] I pursued a complaint against both ofthe therapists involved. The complaint against the psychiatrist and medicalcouncil was dropped in the end but the complaint against the therapist took twoand a half years. During that time, there was a lot of media coverage: first ofall when she lost, then when she appealed, and finally when she was struckoff.’ After the arduous case against the therapist she was removed from herposition of power.

‘She became the first therapist in history to be struck offfor trying to ‘cure’ a gay person which in itself is quite a seminal moment,but also, as soon as that happened, the BACP (British association forcounselling and psychotherapy) finallycondemned conversion therapy’ Patrick tells me with a tone of achievement.

In2010 Patrick was named Journalist of the year at the Stonewall awards, Highly Commended Journalist of the year at the Mind awards and the winner of the BestNational Newspaper feature at the Guild Of Health Writer’s Awards.

All of thesewere in honour of ‘The Ex Gay Files’, his investigation into conversiontherapy. He was also the British winner of the EU Journalist award; ‘TheEuropean award was actually for an interview I did with Peter Tatchell for theIndependent.’ On being asked about being named the 62nd mostinfluential gay person in Britain he laughs and says ‘umm, it’s a bitmeaningless. I think what was important for me in 2010 was that the issues thatI uncovered were out in the open – I got my story out there and I made adifference, I changed things.

Being recognised in that list is nice and showsthat people in the industry are recognising my work.’

Patrickhas interviewed the likes of Björk, Grace Jones and J-Lo among a multitude ofothers and is an avid user of social networking site Twitter. He recentlyargued with musician Azealia Banks over her use of the word ‘faggot’ and askedher to apologise. She responded by saying her apology would be insincere, sodidn't. He has also recently published an article entitled ‘The Queen defending gay rights? She can'teven say the words out loud’ about the Queen’s fight for gay people’srights. Shocked by the Mail on Sunday’s headline, he says ‘whatever next? Queen standsas Labour councillor? Queen does the Harlem Shake?’

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