Emma Elliott (she/her or they/them)
I was born in the old Norfolk and Norwich hospital in 1990, and grew up in Norwich. As a child and teen, I felt confused when my friends talked about their crushes and so on, and struggled to relate feeling anything comparable to what they described.
In the 90s and 00s, I knew little of the LGBTQ+ world, especially as internet access and availability was not what it is today. So I did not really begin to think about and start understanding the idea of orientations and gender identities in much detail until I went to university.
‘Gay’ was definitely a slur when I was growing up, and the kids my in school whispered that one of our teachers was ‘a lesbian’ – a term I wasn’t entirely sure on the meaning of, but knew from the way people used it that it was not a good thing.
Working at UEA
Working at UEA has been a positive experience as an LGBTQ+ person. Joining Staff Pride was one of the first things I did when I began working at UEA in 2017, and I am glad to say I have never personally experienced any homophobia or negative reaction to being a queer woman while working at UEA. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for some of my previous employments before coming here.
I have flitted between the label ‘asexual’ and ‘lesbian’ for myself and have finally settled on calling myself a lesbian on the ace spectrum (at least for now…) but consider labels to be fluid and changeable.
I believe it’s ok for people to find that how they identify themselves has changed, or to feel that no one label fits, or can fully describe them. I would like to see the world become a more accepting place, where everyone can feel safe and confident to be the person they want to be, not have to worry how others will see or define them.