Laila El-Metoui is an equity educator and founder of Uk queer Arabs.


What is your professional background?

My career started as an ESOL Teacher (English to Speakers of Other Languages) and progressed on to my most recent pre-pandemic position where I was responsible for supporting the social integration of newly arrived migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum at local authority level.

I progressed from teacher to curriculum manager to Project Manager and became self-employed at the start of the pandemic when my short term contract ended.

Throughout my career I have promoted diversity, inclusivity and equity and ensured that all learners and staff were celebrated, visible, respected and valued. This continued when I progressed on to more senior leadership roles. These are now the core of my self-employment business and have won me several awards and nominations (Stonewall Lesbian Role Model of the Year 2020, Top 100 Pride Power List listing 2021).

I now sole trade under to provide equity training and support to global corporations around the world in English and French. I am also proud to be an ambassador for

How important is diversity and inclusivity both in the workplaces and the wider environment?

We live in a super diverse world and the workplace needs to reflect this and provide a working environment where everyone is valued and respected. It is well researched that having diversity of thought in the workplace leads to innovation and larger profit margins, so for me it’s a no brainer. The more diverse an environment is, the more it will thrive.Education is one of the key elements towards eradicating prejudice, discrimination, and bigotry, visibility and representation at all levels do matter, I also believe that words have power and in the importance of using inclusive language.

What benefits does a positive take on diversity and inclusion have, both for an individual and for the workplace?

 For an individual, we need to understand intersectionality and how it impacts our daily lives and the ability to be our best authentic selves. Having to filter or edit one or more parts of one’s identity will prevent someone from performing to the best of their ability and will often lead to low retention rates or underperformance for employees.

 You are the founder and chair of Proud London Councils. Can you tell us a bit about this group?

In 2018, whilst working for a local authority I revived a dormant LGBTQ+ staff network and reached to all London boroughs to benchmark the activities we were doing. Four years later it’s a thriving network where many of the London Local Authorities and their LGBTQ+ staff network meet quarterly to support each other. Setting up and running this group won me an award with Stonewall.

You are founder and co-chair of UK Queer Arabs. What does that role involve, and why is there a need for a UK Queer Arabs group?

In September 2021, I founded UK Queer Arabs to respond to a gap within the LGBTIQA+ community for representation for people from the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa).

The group’s primary purpose is to bring together adult Queer Arabs to remove social isolation, build friendship and strengthen own sense of identity. It also aims to raise awareness of the lives and issues of queer Arabs, challenge and remove stereotypes and build a positive and more accurate image of the community.


You run the Pride in Education and Educating Out Racismconférences, what do these events involve, and why is there a need for them?

Both events are global conferences aimed at the education sector to support race equity and LGBTIQA+ inclusion and celebration. Both events are emergency responses to events. Educating Out Racism was set up after the murder of George Floyd and Pride in Education was initiated with Schools Out UK to respond to the UK government’s cuts to anti-homophobic bullying funding. March 2020 the British Government removed £4million from the education budget and I felt I had to step in to provide additional support to the education sector.

Do you think there are elements of racism in the LGBTQ+ communities, and, if so, how does one go about combating this?

Racism is everywhere, not just within the LGBTIQA+ community , challenging micro aggressions and incivilities when encountering them is a good place to start.

 Whats a typical day in your life?

I usually respond to the need of my community whether it is through enquiries for consultation and training or supporting small community groups and individuals.

 On either a personal or a professional level what has been your proudest achievement?

Helping to fundraise valuable funds for LGBTQ+ charities during the pandemic and contributing to feeding LGBTQ+ people seeking asylum. I also secured over 200 hundred Zoom licences to be given to LGBTQ+ community groups. Zoom has been instrumental in supporting our community through the pandemic.

 Youve let the genie out of the bottle. What would be your three wishes?

My 3 wishes would be to:

  • end all crimes (including those against LGBTIQA+ people)
  • end global warming
  • for everyone to have access to basic needs (food , shelter and healthcare)