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“You decide when, how and who you disclose your sexual orientation to,” Sue McCamley shares her story

Sue McCamley

We recently spoke to Sue McCamley. Not only does she work in the IT department at Kaplan, but she is also a pianist, dog owner and proud to be part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

As part of our Pride Stories series, Sue agreed to share her story of being openly gay in the workplace, along with her advice for others.

About Sue McCamley

Sue has been with us at Kaplan for seventeen years as the Delivery Services Director in IT. She highlighted some of the aspects of her job role that she enjoys:

“It’s really interesting to work in education and see the difference that Kaplan makes to learners. It’s a friendly and supportive place to work, with a diverse mix of interesting people.

As a Delivery Services Director, I interact with different stakeholders on a daily basis, and I enjoy finding solutions that enable us to support the business and our learners in the best way possible.”

Aside from working in the IT department at Kaplan, Sue lives in North London with her four year old “very naughty” Rottweiler, Chaya, where she spends a lot of time training, as well as playing the piano and working towards her Grade 6 exam. She has also now been with her partner for thirty years. Together, they enjoy travelling and have a long wish list of places that they would still like to visit.

Dog called Chaya

Open at work

We asked what inspired Sue to come out at work, and how she approached this with her colleagues. She shared that she never had to come out officially, as it was enough to refer to her partner by name as a female. Yet, she has “always felt fully supported and accepted” by her colleagues and managers.

However, one of the most awkward challenges that she’s experienced in a professional environment is that people assume that she is straight and married as she wears a wedding ring, and have asked her what her husband does for work.

Highlighting how many openly gay professionals do still face challenges both in their personal and professional lives, Sue explained, “I believe that challenges can vary depending on factors such as location and workplace environment. But I haven’t faced any challenges at all since working for Kaplan, and I feel lucky to work in such an inclusive environment.”

Although Sue found herself in a safe space to be herself at work, she has still noticed many positive changes in attitudes towards people within the LGBTQIA+ community over the last thirty years:

“Back in 1987 when I first moved to London, it was unusual for anyone to be openly gay in the workplace. This is not the case now, and diversity and inclusion policies are now common. But there is still more to be done.

However, I’m glad that I don’t need to pretend that I have a male partner anymore.”

Advice to others

Sharing her advice to other professionals who are in the LGBTQIA+ community, Sue emphasised how it is up to you as an individual to decide when, how and who you disclose your sexual orientation to. She stressed that it’s not a problem if you need to take your time, but you should trust your instincts and decide whether you want to come out individually to certain colleagues or more widely gradually.

Speech marks

“Not being able to be yourself and having to hide your identity causes a lot of stress and internal conflict.”

However, Sue continued the discussion of being openly gay at work by noting that research shows that there are still many LGBTQIA+ workers in the UK who are not comfortable about being out about their sexual orientation at work.

She explained that creating an inclusive culture where everyone feels welcome and respected is important, as showing demonstrable commitment to inclusion in the workplace can have a positive impact on an individual's experiences.

Kaplan resources available for staff and learners

If you need any support or general well-being advice, visit our equality, diversity, and inclusion page where you can find several resources and points of contact for whatever you need.

Want to share your story?

Whether you’re a member or an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, we would love to share your story and experience.

If you’re interested in taking part, please complete our online form and we will be in touch shortly.

Our EDI Team is here to support you.

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