LGBT+ Role Models

These are just a few of the University's LGBT+ Role Models. They have all attended Role Model training with either Stonewall or the Oxford Learning Institute. The training provides individuals an opportunity, in a safe and supportive space, to explore what it means to be an LGBT+ role model, to identify potential barriers and ways to overcome them. Some of the Role models are also trained mentors, click on the profiles to learn more.

Martin Reichhardt

Dr Martin Reichhardt

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford. Here I work with biomedical research, and I teach medical students. I’m originally from Denmark, and have been out since my late teen-years. For me, it was a great challenge, that I didn’t know any LBGT+ people when I was coming out. I didn’t have any role models to show how life could be for someone like me. Therefore, I believe it’s really important to be out and visible today, and that way possibly inspire others who are struggling to find their way. I have found, that being open and honest about every side of me, is the easiest way to make both LGBT+ and non-LBGT+ people embrace our differences. So now I try to help people live with that same openness.

Luke Jackson-Ross

I am the Admissions Coordinator for St Hugh’s College, and one of the Link Officers for the LGBT+ Advisory Group. It’s so important to have visible role models not just for current staff and students, but also for those colleagues and students who have yet to join us. Ours is, first and foremost, an academic community, and I believe this plays a significant part in our ability to accept and support each other. I wear my rainbow lanyard with pride, and hope to encourage applications from all who would benefit from studying and working here.

Dr Victoria Cabrera-Sharp

I work as a Research Development Manager in the Science Area and I am a proud rainbow parent in a British/Spanish household. At Oxford, I have been able to bring my full self to work and I no longer dread the Monday morning conversations of what I did that weekend and with whom! I know that constantly having to self-edit yourself is not only exhausting but also impacts on your physical and mental health negatively. People still do a double take when I say wife but it is never a big deal. We have created our own unique family for which there wasn’t much established precedent. In a way, it was both terrifying and liberating to come up with our own traditions, from whether we call ourselves mummy or mamá to having “best people” in our wedding instead of bridesmaids or best men. My daughter was not an accident but a very wanted and sought after baby who is treasured in two mother tongues. We had to navigate the minefield of obstacles of the UK fertility services and our own biology in order to welcome her. I had an excellent clinical mentor and friend who helped us navigate the system, so my door is always open to give support to anyone in a similar situation in a personal capacity.  

Andrew Princep

I am a research fellow in physics at Wadham College, and a research scientist at the ISIS neutron and muon facility in Oxfordshire. As an experimental physicist I use neutron and x-ray scattering to explore magnetic and electronic behaviour in crystalline materials. I never fully appreciated the importance of being visible as an LGBT scientist until I attended my first LGBT STEMinar, where I had the best time of my entire professional life surrounded by other LGBT+ scientists indulging in their shared passions and common experiences of identity. It is often shocking to transition from undergraduate study where there is a strong sense of queer community to an academic environment where the lack of visible queerness prompts many to re-enter the closet. I want to work towards an atmosphere where nobody would ever contemplate this course of action, and nobody will ever feel that there might be a conflict between their sexuality and their passion for science.

Waverly March

While I’ve always been open about my sexuality, I only recently came out as agender at work. For nearly everyone on my team, I was the first non-binary person they’d met – it was challenging to be met with so many questions, but ultimately I was glad for the chance to represent my experience to people who genuinely wanted to understand. It was that impulse that pushed me to participate in the Role Models scheme: my gender and my sexuality both inform how I live my life, and I want to be able to integrate them into my work.

As the main source of information on lecture scheduling and upcoming events in the English Faculty, I’m visible to students and staff alike. I’m hopeful that by being myself, quietly and consistently from day to day, I can use that visibility to encourage others to do the same.

Helena Palmer

As the administrator for the Moritz-Heyman Scholarship, I encounter and support diversity on a daily basis. It’s so important to show our students that Oxford is for them, no matter who they are or how they identify. Bisexuality is often dismissed by people both inside and outside the LGBT+ community and reinforcing its legitimacy is something I’m very passionate about in my own time. I decided to join the LGBT+ Role Models programme to take that passion and introduce it to my work life as well!

Helen Charlesworth

I’m Helen Charlesworth, Head of Communications for Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, and also the Chair of the LGBT+ Advisory Group. Role models are important to me because I remember the few people that were openly LGBT when I first came out. It made a huge difference to see other people that were living happy and honest lives. It’s important to have openly LGBT people at the University so that colleagues can see this is a safe and welcoming environment. We know that people perform better at work when they feel happy and able to be themselves.

James Fletcher

I have always been out at work and rightfully received a warm or (even better) an indifferent response from my colleagues. Being out about my sexuality, partner, and so on has never been an issue. It is difficult to unpick whether that is a result of my own attitude, the attitudes of others, the nature of my workplace or a mixture of them all. It is clear though that, for many others, being out at work is not as easy. I believe it is the duty of those who can stand up for themselves and others, and those who can testify to the positive experiences they have had in their own workplace, should do so. That is why I joined the Stonewall Role Models programme.

Dr Clara Barker

During my youth there were few LGBT+ role models around. I certainly never met any in my school, when section 28 was in force. I assumed that it was not ok to be transgender and as a result my mental health suffered, resulting in severe depression and suicidal thoughts that continued until I transitioned. When I finally came out as transgender I was met with absolute acceptance. As a trans-woman, I took a position with the Department of Materials and became the vice-chair of the University’s LGBT+ Advisory Group. once living my life authentically my mental health improved significantly, showing that it really can get better.

Outside of work, I was featured in Stonewall poster campaign and I work with Oxfordshire LGBT+ youth groups.  Which goes to show the importance of role models – be it in the work place, in schools, universities or the community at large. It is easy to say that these places accept people for who they are but it is vital to actually see that this is true.

I am a trained mentor and would be happy to mentor LGBT+ members of staff within the University, especially research and academic staff. Email: clara.barker@materials.ox.ac.uk

Read Clara's article in the Huffington Post: You Can Be Yourself And Be A Scientist Too.

Professor Richard B Parkinson

I think it’s important to be entirely oneself to one’s colleagues and students, without any self-censoring. Being gay for me is just a normal part of my life, and doesn’t bring with it any obligations to conform to expectations. In a university like Oxford, there are all sorts of LGBTQ people - artists, gardeners, scientists, mathematicians, and even Egyptologists.

Emma-Ben Lewis

Emma-Ben Lewis

We all agree that 'being yourself' at work is important, but for a non-binary person like me that's easier said than done. My close colleagues are great and try to be respectful, but ultimately I am most people's first experience of meeting someone who is neither a man nor a woman. It’s tough sometimes. I joined the role models programme because I want to do better at making myself visible, and to feel less guilty when I have to tell someone 'actually, you've made a false assumption about me'. I have a lot in common with my LGB colleagues on this, although non-binary awareness and inclusion has some catching-up to do... we're working on it!

Freyja Madsen

I joined the Role Models programme because I believe everyone deserves to be honest about who they are at work, and that doing so makes us all happier, healthier, and more productive. I’ve been out as a bisexual woman for my entire adult life, but haven’t always felt comfortable discussing this with colleagues. Meeting more out and proud people both professionally and socially has really encouraged me to be honest about my sexuality in my professional life, and I’d love to return the favour by increasing LGBTQ+ visibility within the University – our community has done incredible things, and we should be proud of them. I also believe that little things can make a huge difference; it’s amazing how many productive and interesting conversations a rainbow flag on a pin board can start.

Lloyd (Meadhbh) Houston

I am Lloyd (Meadhbh) Houston and I am a DPhil student in the Faculty of English and a tutor on LMH’s Foundation Year programme. I joined the Role Models programme to raise the visibility of gender queer people in Oxford, and to think about how best to educate others about LGBTQ+ issues in a friendly and inclusive manner. Having studied here as both an undergraduate and a postgraduate, I was nervous about how people who had known me personally and professionally as a cis man in the institution would react to my new identity. A large part of finding the confidence to be myself came from the support and encouragement I received from other members of the community, and from the example set by people by LGBTQ+ friends and colleagues. As a Role Model, I hope to offer the same sense of safety, support, and inclusivity in my teaching practice and in my interactions with staff, students, and friends throughout the university.

Rich Plummer-Powell

I joined Oxford's Role Models in order to be more assertively "out" at work, and to help me demonstrate (to myself and for others) that it's alright to be just whoever you are at work. LGBTQ+ visibility matters because it creates a more equal world, builds self-acceptance, and encourages everyone to be confident in their own identity.

Hannah Boschen

I work at the Oxford Learning Institute in Professional Development. I spend my time facilitating workshops for all staff in the University primarily based around aspects of management and leadership, communication skills and personal effectiveness. I’ve seen the look of relief in people’s eyes when I’ve told them I’m part of the LGBT+ community. And I think it’s important to remind people that we exist, throughout the organisation, doing all sorts of different things. My desk is unmistakable in the office. A rainbow flag flies proudly on it, which sits next to a rainbow unicorn. A simple, yet powerful way of conveying an important message to everyone, regardless of their identity.

Read Hannah's article in Medium: My rainbow family suddenly expanded in the best way possible

Dr Samantha Knight

I’m a University Research Lecturer and a PI for the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and I’m based at the Wellcome Trust Centre For Human Genetics (WTCHG) ‘up the hill’ at the Old Road Campus. Although I have worked for the University for over 25 years, openly out as gay woman, it was only in the Summer of 2016 that I made the conscious decision to step up and step out as an LGBT+ role model. I was spurred on by the Stonewall Role Model Course which was held in Oxford for the first time that year. I was curious to find out what I could do that would be relevant and effective for the LGBT+ community and our allies in the workplace and to explore ideas for making this happen. The course gave me the impetus to join the University’s LGBT+ Advisory Group as well as the gentle nudge I needed to use my membership of the WTCHG’s Gender Equality Committee to encourage colleagues also to reflect on how we can become more effective and inclusive in the workplace. Everyone should be able to feel comfortable and able to be themselves, welcomed and secure in their daily working environments and within the University as a whole.  So let’s make it happen! Oh and if you’re still reading this and might enjoy a relaxed, informal, reasonably priced dinner out amongst friends, do come along to Cheap Eats, a social get together that I organise for the third Sunday of every month. You’ll find this and other events posted to the Oxford University LGBT+ network mailing list (to sign up send a blank e-mail to oxu-lgbt-staff-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk).

I am a trained mentor and would be happy to mentor LGBT+ members of staff within the University, especially research and academic-related staff, regardless of grade. Email: sknight@well.ox.ac.uk

Mel Parrott

I am a trained mentor and would be happy to mentor LGBT+ members of staff within the Collegiate University, especially those working in a college in Professional Management roles. Email: mel.parrott@kellogg.ox.ac.uk

If you are interested in taking part in a future LGBT+ Role Models programme and joining the network please email: equality@admin.ox.ac.uk