Name: David Wilson
Current Job: Software Engineer at Loughborough University
Scientific Discipline/Field: Computing/Software Engineering
Pick some letters (L,G,B,T,Q etc.): B,T, Q
What does your job involve?
I’m involved with business process improvement, systems administration, management information reporting, project management and coding. Interpersonal skills are as important as technical ones in my area of work because we need to work closely with the users of systems to make sure they do what is needed.
How did you get to this job (education etc.)?
I studied Computer Science and began working in the IT Department part time during my degree. I’ve worked my way up through a number of roles across different areas such as helpdesk, tech support and desktop management, this being my 7th position in the department.
Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions?
I’d have to say I’m privileged to have barely considered it. Universities tend to have some of the best equality and diversity records and I feel fortunate compared a lot of other people for whom being LGBT have been more of a barrier. I’d perhaps be more reticent about moving into a smaller organisation that wouldn’t have the same level of support.
Have you had any reactions from colleagues about being LGBT, either good or bad?
Although while I’ve never actively hidden or lied about being LGBT at work I’ve also kept it relatively quiet until more recently. Being bisexual doesn’t tend to come up in conversation unless you have a partner of the same sex. More recently I’ve come to identify as genderqueer. It isn’t an option to live faithfully in my gender identity without anyone noticing so I’ve done a lot more “coming out”, although it’s not a phrase/concept I like. I Chair the staff LGBT+ group which is well supported at the highest level so I feel very safe. There has been the odd clumsy question around gender, conflating it with sexuality, but without any malice and people have been very open to learning more about it and getting my pronouns (they, them, their) right.
Did you have any role models growing up (LGBT, STEM, totally unrelated…)?
I had a lot of role models that broke down traditional gender boundaries, like Prince, David Bowie, Brian Molko and Eddie Izzard. My computing role-model was Irfan Skiljan who wrote the Irfanview image viewer because it was at once totally cottage industry but also amazingly good at what it does.
What are your plans for the future?
I’d really like to see more countries recognising non-binary gender identities and I’ll continue doing what I can to educate more people about it.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I feel utterly privileged to live and work where I do and in the time I do. So many LGBT people have been and are persecuted ruthlessly for just being who they are. I think visibility normalises things for people so it’s really important that where we can and where it’s safe we make ourselves visible