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Meet the network

THE LGBT+ ALLOUT staff network welcomes people from all areas of the University and you can meet some of their members below.


Megan, ALLOUT Co-chair (she/her)

Megan smiling

Hello and welcome to ALLOUT! I am really happy to be co-chairing this network and representing my colleagues.  I have been working at the University since November 2021 in the Main Library.  In my remit as a Reading Lists Assistant, I am currently putting together EDI reading lists of the material from the open shelves for staff, students and other library users. I hope that it empowers us all to find and listen to more voices out there from all walks of life. 

I joined ALLOUT in 2022 as a co-chair.  ALLOUT has provided an opportunity to share and express my identity and meet new colleagues from across the University. The network has something for everyone, and I like that it isn’t one fixed thing; with the help of our members, we have the capacity to expand it, shape it to meet our needs and use it to celebrate our individuality. 

In my first year as co-chair, I have attended EDI forums and the People Committee meeting, met with our executive sponsor, Patrick Hackett, and joined in with Staff Network Day.  I’ve also led our University’s entry in the Manchester Pride Parade for 2023, proudly walking alongside the LGBTQ+ staff networks from five other Higher Education institutions in Greater Manchester.  During my time as co-chair, I would like to work more closely with the other staff network groups to host some intersectional events at the University as well as the wider community.  I am always looking for ways to improve the ALLOUT network so I look forward to hearing any suggestions you might have.

Network members

ALLOUT membership currently stands at over 200 and members are from all areas, disciplines and backgrounds. Below you can meet just a few of our members.

Dr Stephen Hicks, Senior Lecturer in Social Work

I am a Senior Lecturer in Social Work and a gay/queer member of the LGBTQ Staff Network. I have written quite a bit about LGBT parenting, including the book Lesbian, Gay & Queer Parenting: Families, Intimacies, Genealogies (2011). I have also done research on sexuality theory and social work/care. I’ve volunteered in the LGBTQ+ community over the years, in HIV/Aids services; with young, homeless LGBTQ people; with LGBTQ foster carers/adopters; and recently with young men and trans people who are homeless and/or sex workers. 

Adele Aubrey, Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute Manager

I am Head of Institute Operations& Partnerships at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, I have worked at the University for over 20 years. I started at my first role at the University as a web designer, then I moved to e-learning, curriculum development, and have been fortunate enough through the professional development opportunities provided by the University to advance to management roles. The University has an active commitment to equality and diversity, and is visibly supportive in the city to equality and LGBT issues, not least through its contribution to Manchester Pride. The University of Manchester is undoubtedly a fabulous place to work. 

Will Whittaker, Research Fellow in Health Economics, Institute of Population Health

I've been at the University for over 15 years now, 8 as a student, 6 in research. Originally from Manchester I have never left, primarily because of the LGBT community the city has. The University has a thriving LGBT student society which helped ease me into Manchester's thriving LGBT scene and the strong prominence of the University at the Manchester Pride parade always makes me proud. The University has also showed great interest and support for my current research interests in LGBT inequalities in health. I take immense pride in the openness and tolerance of my city and University, I honestly don't feel any other University or city would give me the same sense of belonging.

Dr Maddison Coke (she/her), Experimental Officer, National Graphene Institute

I live with my wife Stacey & dog Mai and currently work here as an experimental officer in charge of a large range of plasma and characterisation tools. I am often asked about how I “promote” equality and diversity in the workplace, and I can think of no better way than being open about who I am to all those around me. I am a female. I am dyslexic. I am BAME. I am bisexual. I am scientist. I am me. No one thing defines me, because being able to be who I am in its entirety allows me to be the best me I can be and flourish. My current workplace has really allowed me to be my whole self and become more than I thought I could be. I have always appreciated how the university actively encourages people to be their authentic selves. People have always been at the core of what universities stand for and I think this has allowed me to be open about my bisexually to my colleagues and friends. 

Dr Sean Pert (he/him/his), Senior Clinical Lecturer, Speech and Language Therapy

I am a Senior Clinical Lecturer and Consultant Speech and Language Therapist. I joined the university in 2014. I originally came to Manchester from a small mining town, drawn by the vibrant Gay village. I have always been out to my colleagues, service users and students. As an older gay man, I have experienced severe homophobia in the past, and the AIDS crisis meant I lost many dear friends. The university allies programme and supportive LGBTQIA+ staff network both help to create an accepting, supportive, and safer environment. I am seconded two days a week to Lead the Indigo Gender Service’s Voice & Communication Therapy Team. I strive to be an ally for trans and non-binary people and involve students in my clinical work when delivering this service. Bringing your while self to work means that diverse people at the university are more relaxed, happier and productive. 

Matt Sanderson (him/they) PhD Researcher, Planning / Power Networks CDT

I am pursuing a PhD at the University of Manchester while also working as a Teaching Assistant, a role I find hugely rewarding. After years of keeping my sexuality private, the welcoming environment at the University gave me the confidence to come out as bisexual/pansexual to my partner, family, colleagues, and friends. In 2008 I unfortunately had a bad accident that injured my neck, leaving me with chronic widespread pain syndrome. Since then I have also been diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder. I am rarely on campus nowadays, though some of you may have seen me getting around in my wheelchair, which I now use full-time due to my limited mobility. I set up a research group called Challenging Research for disabled PGRs to provide support and community. Although not actively involved in LGBT advocacy, I enjoy attending Cumbria Pride each year virtually as a Scout Leader.

Sue Heath, Associate Dean PGR, School of Social Sciences

I am Professor of Sociology in the School of Social Sciences and until recently was Associate Dean for Postgraduate Research in the Faculty of Humanities. I joined the University in 2010 – second time round, in fact, as I also worked here at the start of my career in the mid-90s. I came out shortly after my first spell here, so it was great to be out as a lesbian when I came back to Manchester. A highlight was marching with ALLOUT colleagues at Manchester Pride and being enthusiastically waved at by some of my sociology undergraduate students in the crowd! I feel very fortunate to work in an organisation where people are not defined or judged by their sexuality but are valued for the job they do regardless of who they are. And being able to be yourself at work is a precious thing, so I’m proud to be part of the University’s large and diverse LGBT community.

Joe (he/him) Media Relations Officer

I’m a News and Media Relations Officer in the Division of Communications, Marketing and Student Recruitment, chiefly promoting research from the Humanities faculty but also working on corporate communications issues - I’ve worked here since 2016, after a previous career spent working for various NHS organisations and the civil service. I live in North Staffordshire with my fiancée Shaun and our cat. I find the university to be a fantastic place to work as a gay man, and the allyship of my colleagues has always been very evident – before I worked at Manchester I found it extremely hard to come out to people due to previously-experienced homophobia, but I feel so comfortable here that this is no longer an issue for me in the workplace. I was especially moved by the joyous reaction to my engagement to my partner of 14 years – our wedding was postponed due to the pandemic, but at least half of the confirmed attendee list was made up of my colleagues! I feel very lucky to work in such a kind and supportive environment, and I honestly can’t picture myself ever wanting to work anywhere else.