An interview with Christophe Louot

Name: Christophe Louot

Current Job: Researcher

Scientific Discipline/Field: Optics, Lasers

Country: France

Pick some letters (L,G,B,T,Q,+, etc.): G


Twitter or other social media handle: @chrislouot

What does your job involve?

I develop laser sources for military applications. In this goal, I have to use optical fibers and to conceive specific fiber components that could handle very high powers. The position is quite original because I work in a French-german institute dedicated to military applications.

How did you get to this job (education etc.)?

I started my studies with a general first year (physics, maths, computing and chemistry). Each year, I selected different optional courses to specialize myself into optics. Then, I got a master degree in electronics/optics. I started my PhD in the same university, still in optics. I had to develop fiber laser sources for biological applications. After my defense, I decided to take a break with research. I spent two years in teaching and in learning scientific communication. In 2019, I came back to research with this new job (my actual position).

Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions?

Definitely yes! I know that there are some countries I will never visit, even in case of very interesting conferences. Moreover, I am very proud to have participate to the creation of measures against sexism, homophobia and sexual harassment at the University where I worked few years ago.

Have you had any reactions from colleagues about being LGBT, either good or bad?

In my previous work, I had sometimes to deal with some “jokes” but most of my colleagues stopped their homophobic remarks or started to apologize after each spontaneous use of homophobic insults. In my actual job, where 95 % of colleagues are straight cismen, I feel that it could be more difficult to come out. I only gave some clues for the moment.

Did you have any role models growing up (LGBT, STEM, totally unrelated.)?

I would have loved to answer Alan Turing (science and LGBT) or Marie Curie (science). But the reality is that these are role models that came later in my life. I got a LGBT political awareness long time after I came out (I was only 16). Younger, my real idol was rather the 6th power ranger who was the cutest and strongest to my mind. I discovered the life of Curie and Turing only a few years ago. Since then, they have become models.

What are your plans for the future?

I would like still to work in the development of laser sources. Another goal is to come out to all my colleagues. I’m not really out and I dislike this position. It has to change quickly! I will work here until 2024. So it is important to feel good at work!

Anything else you’d like to add?

I spend part of my time for volunteer activities. Since five years, I work for a LGBT association (I make school interventions against homophobia) in parallel to my research job. It helps to my life balance. Last, visibility of LGBT+ people is necessary. That’s why I participate to this interview and why I want to thank all the people in charge of LGBT+STEM.

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