Nick French – LGBT Staff Role Model

Role: IT Support Technician
Department: School of Physical Sciences
Member of the University since: 2013

I think attitudes have changed so much that in many workplaces no one would make a fuss.

Where did you grow up and what was it like to be LGBT there?

I grew up in Enfield in North London. Enfield itself doesn’t have much of an LGBT presence, but being so close to London meant it was very easy to dip in and out of the large LGBT community London has to offer. I have a very supportive family and friends which is all you can ask for really!

Your coming out story?

I don’t think I really have one. I had a boyfriend for a few months and my mum asked if I was gay, saying that I looked so happy when I was with my boyfriend. I also had an older gay sister who was already out to our family, so I don’t think it was much of a surprise! I think a lot of people imagine coming out to be some theatrical drama but your family know you the best and in most cases probably already know!

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

Not really. When I compare my experiences with others I feel really lucky. No one in my personal life has ever held my being gay against me and I’ve never felt it has been an issue at work. The people close to me always want me to succeed and be happy and I feel my workplace is the same.

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

I think attitudes have changed so much that in many workplaces no one would make a fuss. If you want to come out just casually mention your partner (if you have one) or join the staff LGBT Network and let people know when you come to one of our meetings! I think in the unlikely event that your sexual orientation does cause an issue, there are people to talk to who can help and the staff LGBT network may be a good first point of call.

How do you think your work is affected by being LGBT?

Being LGBT doesn’t have any impact on my day to day work. If you are friendly, considerate and hardworking people should and will respect you.

What can we all do to make Kent a better place for being an LGBT Staff member?

I think the Staff LGBT Network is a great place to start. Being visible and making a good impression are both important. Being accepting and accommodating to different cultures, personalities and lifestyles will make the University better for all staff and students.

What do you think of being gay in Kent?

Kent and especially Canterbury lacks the strong LGBT community of London but I think in time that will change. Having more of a visible LGBT community would help others in the city who might be feeling a bit isolated, to get involved. I would be happy for the Canterbury LGBT Community to grow and hopefully work together with both the Staff LGBT Network and the Student LGBT Network to organise events and social meets.

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

I want to be an LGBT role model because I feel that having a visible LGBT staff presence is important to help improve the diverse community of the University. It can be tough being LGBT and I have been lucky to have been accepted so easily.  I want to help others be accepted just as I have.

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