Jayne Stuart

  • I came to terms with being gay whilst at university, so after years of hiding this part of my identity from myself and others I feel it’s important to present my true self in the workplace.

    My role at Brookes is to provide design support for members of staff across the University. This gives me the opportunity to meet a diverse mix of people within Brookes, and work on a variety of projects, including the LGBTQ+ History Month programme. I am also Chair of the LGBTQ+ Staff Forum.

    I came to terms with being gay whilst at university, so after years of hiding this part of my identity from myself and others I feel it’s important to present my true self in the workplace. I have been open about my sexuality throughout my time at Brookes as it feels like a safe place to do so. Outside work I am more guarded - unfortunately it’s still not always safe to be openly gay in public and I have at times encountered physical and verbal abuse.

    I believe LGBTQ+ role models are important because they demonstrate shared experience, the diversity of Brookes and its support for the LGBTQ+ community. I have felt more comfortable about sharing my sexual orientation and being more visible since becoming involved with the LGBTQ+ Staff Forum, which provides a network for employees, organises social events and LGBTQ+ History Month events, takes part in Oxford Pride, and through working with students from Brookes Union and Brookes LGBTQ+ Society and members of Human Resources and Senior Management, provides an inclusive platform for any opinions and ideas to be voiced.

    I have been invited to speak for the Springboard Women’s Development Programme at both Oxford Brookes and the University of Oxford. I feel it’s important to share my experiences as a lesbian, of managing depression and talking about my career path and my time at Brookes. I’ve received positive feedback following my talks, highlighting the importance of hearing a different perspective.

    I try to maintain a positive outlook on life and support from my family and friends helps with this. Challenging myself also plays a large part, so I’m drawn to experiences I know will push me either mentally or physically. Outside work I enjoy camping, going to gigs and playing board games (I’ve also set up a board games evening at Brookes).

    I joined Brookes in 2002 and have always found it to be a friendly, supportive environment where I feel comfortable being myself.