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.
“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.”
Jayne Stuart (she/her), Graphic Designer and Digital Media Developer