Getting better but not perfect

Life in IT for LGBT+ people used to be tough. Bullying and sackings weren't unheard of. Today things are better but, as David Waldock says, we've still a long way to go.

My name is David Waldock, and I'm a technical development leader, working at the British Library on making our collections available to people around the world.

I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian house and school, so I had a really negative, anti-gay childhood; it's taken years to get over that, and learn how to be myself.

I started working in software development when working for a sexual health outreach programme in the NHS and helping to develop one of their first websites. Since then, I've worked on projects for the insurance industry and the risk management sector.

In my first job, on a support desk back in the mid-nineties, I was bullied for being gay. When I made a complaint about the bullying, I was sacked. This was entirely legal back then. Today I work as a union equality officer with management to negotiate and develop positive policies around LGBT+ people to ensure that the organisation benefits from the diverse viewpoints we bring.

IT is still dominated by straight, white, cisgender men. While attitudes have changed substantially since the mid-nineties, challenging that norm can still be difficult: people assume I'm married or have a girlfriend, and it's not always easy or appropriate to correct them.

Advice for LGBT+ people still has to start with 'stay safe'. Choose places which have not just legally compliant policies, but places which celebrate diversity in their workforce. Don't disclose if you don't feel secure, but if you do feel safe, then be who you are to your absolute best.

Stand tall with other minority groups and support each other. Most of all, ensure you have a good work/life balance: make time for your lovers and partners because nobody ends their life saying, 'I wish I'd worked more.'