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:

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

Professor Helen Byrne

Mathematical Institute