Laura Wood - LGBT role model

Transformation Manager

My Role in Hampshire County Council

My “day job” is in the Asset Transformation team within property services. We provide support and expertise to colleagues within Hampshire County Council and across partner organisations to enable a more cost and service efficient way of utilising public land and buildings – for example through sharing of space or generating revenue.

In addition to that I have the honour of being the chair of Hampshire County Council’s LGBT+ network, a role that I took up in January 2018.

My Identity

I identify as a gay woman or a lesbian. My coming out was more a realisation that there was a word for “people like me”, my sexuality feels like it has been part of who I am since I was young. I am of the age where Section 28 was in place when I was at school and so LGBT identities were not something I came across in my education, or indeed in my home life. At the time it felt like it was “not normal”, and all of my role models were found on TV or in books, rather than in real life, which I think would have lead to an easier road to self-acceptance.

Despite that environment I am very pleased to say that I have always been surrounded by supportive friends and family, even into my journey as a gay parent through adoption.

Why it is important to be a role model

I think visibility is very important – I would like to be able to help shape a culture where people are happy in their own skin and do not have to think twice about what they reveal about themselves. Stonewall, the LGBT charity, believes strongly that when people are able to be their authentic selves they are happier, more fulfilled and do better at home and work. My reason for being a role model is just to let people know that there are networks of supportive LGBT people out there whatever their situation. To me it is a very good thing to be able to find and connect with people with whom you share characteristics or experiences.

Laura Wood