LGBT+ Allies

The University has a growing number of LGBT+ Allies who have attended training with either Stonewall or the Oxford Learning Institute. Taking inspiration from the Stonewall Allies programme, the Oxford Learning Institute developed an LGBT+ Allies workshop. The workshop aims to give non-LGBT+ individuals an opportunity to explore what it means to be an ally, time to ask questions and practical advice on how they can be an effective ally. If you are interested in attending the workshop and becoming an Ally, please email:

Ryan Bird

LGBT+ Ally

Ryan Bird

I am Chief Executive of Oxford SU. I lead the staff team, manage the operations of the organisation and support the elected sabbatical officers to achieve their manifesto priorities. At Oxford SU we seek to develop a work environment where we treat all employees as individuals, fairly and in a consistent way. We want to be a sector leader in equality and diversity, working to the spirit and the practice of the Equality Act 2010 and wherever possible looking to go far beyond it. We recognise that being a diverse and inclusive employer helps us fulfil our responsibility to make a difference for the students of Oxford.

Every day I am inspired by our students, they are often the trailblazers when it comes to pushing forward the equality and diversity agenda. It is with this in mind that I decided to become and LGBT+ Ally - I am keen to support colleagues and students more and want to proactively ensure that the University of Oxford is a safe and welcoming space for all.

At the moment we are busy working with students to ensure we continue to learn and develop as an organisation. We are planning a range of staff development opportunities over the coming year that will explore equality and diversity and what it means for us.

LGBT+ Ally

Kirsty Allen

‘I am Head of Research Evaluation and Impact and REF Programme Manager in Research Services. I wanted to become an Ally in order to understand more about some of the challenges faced by the LGBT+ community in the workplace, and how I might be able to help colleagues to feel supported. At the excellent workshop Stonewall ran, the most striking lesson for me was when we were asked to have a conversation with someone else where gender and marital status could not be referred to: I found it revealing how hard I had to concentrate not to give this information, and I felt that it restricted my ability to build a rapport with my partner in the exercise. I also learned some surprising and sometimes upsetting statistics about how people in the LGBT+ community can feel unsafe or unsupported even in environments committed to equality and diversity. Since attending the workshop I have changed my approach to expressing my support for equality and diversity, sometimes through simple measures such as adding a line in my email signature or having a rainbow flag postcard by my desk; but also by ensuring that when I recruit or welcome someone to the team, I explain that this is an inclusive workplace and they can feel free to be themselves.’

LGBT+ Ally

Martha Buckley

Hi, I'm Martha, and I'm a Project Support Coordinator in the Humanities Division, working with research projects across the Faculties.  As a wheelchair user, I have had a long history of engagement with Disability rights, but coming to Oxford as a graduate student in 2012 opened my eyes to the challenges which can be faced by my LGBTQAI+ friends and colleagues.  I find it saddening that whilst University is a time that many people feel comfortable exploring their identity, including gender identity and sexuality, there is often a reluctance to carry this openness into the workplace.

I want to help to create an environment where everyone is free to be themselves, and I believe that freedom of expression is not just something which should occur outside of the office.  As a white cishet woman, I recognise that I have inherent privileges, and that disclosure can be a tricky area, but I hope that I can support my LGBTQIA+ colleagues with appropriate signposting, and I am always available for a chat over a cup of tea. I’m the one with the rainbow lanyard and ‘gender is a universe’ pinned over my desk…

LGBT+ Ally

Charlotte Smith

I have worked at the University of Oxford since 2004 and in an Athena SWAN role since 2014. The substantive part of my role focusses on gender equality; embedding and sharing best practice; provision and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data to provide evidence for the Athena SWAN charter award. My Athena SWAN work is based in the Radcliffe Department of Medicine, and I have another part-time role as a Project Manager for a BBSRC research project in the Department of Biochemistry. The Stonewall Allies training helped me understand and challenge my biases and assumptions, the training gave us guidance and tools to work towards providing an open and inclusive environment. Being a Stonewall Ally has also helped me provide visible support for colleagues and friends, I have an Allies poster above my desk and wear the University of Oxford rainbow lanyard.

LGBT+ Ally

Lorraine Laird

 In my role as PA to Head of Materials Department and Communications Officer I come into contact with a lot of people, both face-to-face and via social media and internal communications, so I leapt at the chance to attend a Stonewall ‘Allies’ training session during February 2017 to help me understand the many issues facing our LGBT+ friends and colleagues on a daily basis, and to try and do what I can to improve how I personally interact with people - and to a greater extent the language employed for internal and external communications - all with the aim of helping everyone enjoy equality in the department.

Coming from a commercial background (including working in large personnel department and also as a lawyer for many years) I have a long and strong history of equalities training, but unfortunately in the past I have also had to deal with cases of prejudice and bullying in its many forms. Since joining the University, and in particular the Department of Materials in 2012, I have been delighted to witness how welcoming the University is to everyone without exception, and how it constantly strives to identify areas of inequality and seeks to redress the balance.

LGBT+ Ally

Gillian Morris

I'm an ally

Why wouldn’t I be?

I have some amazing colleagues in Medical Sciences and beyond, some of those great colleagues just happen to be LGBTQ+.

I want to support them. 

I am an ally.

I want people who come to work here to know that they will be welcomed and treated well throughout their career.  Being LGBTQ+ should have no bearing on how you are treated in the workplace.

Gillian is the Assistant Registrar (Human Resources), in Medical Sciences Division

LGBT+ Ally

Eve Rodgers

I work as Head of Administration & Finance at the Department of Education in Oxford.   We have an inclusive and open environment in the department and the University takes its equality responsibilities seriously,  but there is always more that can be done to ensure that all colleagues and students feel included and that they can be themselves whether working or studying.  So when an invitation went out to attend an LGBT+ Allies workshop and become an LGBT+ Ally, I was keen to take part.  I know from LGBT+ relatives and friends that coming out isn’t something that is done once, it’s a continuing process and anything more we can do to make the workplace somewhere where people can truly be themselves, is important.  The training workshop was excellent and informative, and challenged assumptions about gender and sexual orientation. Some of the statistics we were given show that there is still more to be done to ensure equality. For example, it was concerning to learn that one in four LGB people are not at all open about their sexual orientation at work, that nearly two thirds of graduates go back into the closet when they enter the job market, and that one third of trans respondents have experienced at least one form of bullying or harassment on their campus. We were encouraged to do small things that signal that Oxford is an LGBT+ welcoming environment, so the first thing I did after the workshop was to put an LBGT+ flag postcard on every notice board in the department.  Small actions make a difference!

LGBT+ Ally

Professor Helen Byrne

Mathematical Institute