Name: Stuart Haylock
Current Job: PhD Student
Scientific Discipline/Field: Chemical Biology
Pick some letters (L,G,B,T,Q etc.): G
What does your job involve?
I research protein ion channels and their activity, especially with respect to the lipid membrane in which they sit, and attempting to artificially control their activity with some bio-physical techniques.
How did you get to this job (education etc.)?
I did my undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Imperial and applied to the PhD while I was doing my master’s degree in the same lab. So all in all I’ve been at Imperial for about 8 years!
Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions?
I came out to each interviewer during my several PhD interviews and put my LGBT welfare work in my CV, because it was my belief that if they have a negative opinion of me because of it then it probably wasn’t the PhD for me. My current supervisor has been super supportive and allowed me free reign with LGBT seminars and outreach projects.
Have you had any reactions from colleagues about being LGBT, either good or bad?
At Imperial I’ve never experienced any significant homophobia, though there is the occasional inappropriate comment, though I don’t believe they are made with malice, and I’m quick to call it out.
Did you have any role models growing up (LGBT, STEM, totally unrelated…)?
While I was an undergraduate at Imperial College, the Head of the Department of Chemistry was an out gay man. In fact, he was the first openly gay person in any position of authority that I’d ever met. It was really heartening to know that he was always there, in a position that could help should I ever need any help. He taught me that there is a very big value in being out as an LGBT individual, the exposure to LGBT people in general can help to make other LGBT people to understand they aren’t alone, and can help to alleviate homophobia by making it clear that there are no single targets, only a strong community.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m hoping to stay in Academia after my PhD, though it’s extremely competitive, and plans don’t always work out. I hope that wherever I go, I can still be open and be myself, and I can encourage everyone around me to do the same.
Anything else you’d like to add?