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. I was also a member of the Out in Oxford project, the legacy of which we are working to continue http://www.glam.ox.ac.uk/out-oxford. 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 as part of a LGBT+ anti-bullying committee, visiting schools to give talks and help set up safe groups. This 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 also run a group for young LGBT+ people, TOPAZ, and a support group for parents of LGBT+ children alongside this, TOPAZ Parents. https://tas91731.wixsite.com/topaz I am also currently a member of the Oxford Pride Committee. For this work, I won a Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister,https://www.pointsoflight.gov.uk/out-in-oxford/ and as a result was profiled by the University https://medium.com/oxford-university/oxford-scientist-recognised-by-prim... .
I am a trained mentor and would be happy to mentor LGBT+ members of staff or students within the University.