Dr Adam J. White

  • Having come from the sporting world, where it is often perceived to be highly homophobic, role models are essential to show others that sport is most often a safe and welcoming space for sexually diverse persons.

    Throughout my working life I have been out as a gay man. Whether that was when I worked in sport, secondary schools or here at universities. This has always been very positive, including here at Brookes. Each year I come out to my students in their first few weeks, without hesitation, regrets or worries. Being out to students today is something of a non-issue. It is mundane and normal… And that’s just how I like it.

    Since my first day here at Oxford Brookes, I knew I could and would be open about my sexuality. In fact, I put two small gay pride flags up on the board in my office in the first week. They now take pride of place on the board outside of my office. Having colleagues and students who accept me for who I am really does make me feel valued and wanted. I particularly like being asked about my dating life, how and when I came out and if/when I will have children. Just like I ask them about their lives.

    For me LGBTQ+ role models are extremely important. Having come from the sporting world, where it is often perceived to be highly homophobic, role models are essential to show others that sport is most often a safe and welcoming space for sexually diverse persons. I make sure that I come out each year to students and I talk about how my experiences in sport have been inclusive and welcoming. Sport’s reputation is partly because there is a lack of role models, so hopefully I am making a small difference.

    For me, being out at work is an essential. I know I would not be happy working in a place where I had to keep being gay quiet or even silent, and I wouldn’t work in those conditions. I don’t feel anyone should have to hide such an important aspect of their lives to the people they work, including colleagues and students. I also don’t feel that would be fair on them, having to only work with half a person. Here at Brookes, I can be the real me all of the time.

    My advice for any prospective students or staff at Brookes is Be Yourself. Diversity is what makes Brookes such a vibrant space to think and learn and we need people like you to Be Yourself as part of that.

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