Sarah Dening – LGBT+ Staff Role Model

Role: Student Mentor, Student Support

Your coming out story…

I knew I was gay when I was about 13 but at that time LGBT people were not accepted in society.

I did not come out until I was about 29 and didn’t really tell many people as the few people I told initially were very negative.

One person sent me a bible with marked sections that they suggested I read.

Difficult times.

Did you have any LGBT+ role models growing up? Who were they and why?

No none at all.

Have you suffered prejudice in your job or personal life and, if so, can you describe what effects it had on you?

Quite a bit in the 1980s and 1990s; I had my house graffitied, there was name calling and eggs thrown at my door, but none for about 10 years until very recently.

The law is clear now and I have found the police supportive.

What would you say to those who may be facing difficulties regarding their LGBT+ status at work?

Talk to colleagues, society members, or friends and family if you can, and if it’s happening at work your line manager.

What can we all do to make University of Kent a better place for being an LGBT+ member of staff?

Stand up for LGBT+ rights, support each other and promote equality.

What do you think of being LGBT+ in Kent?

I think Kent is a LGBT+ friendly place with some groups and activities to join, always room for improvement.

Why do you want to be an LGBT+ role model? Why is it important?

I am happy to be a role model as I want to support LGBT+ within the university and promote and join into activities.

I am happy to be contacted by anyone to chat over possible issues or talk about ideas they may have for our society.

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