National Coming Out Day & Oxford

Today, October 11th is National Coming Out day. It is an annual event designed to encourage people to tell their families, friends and coworkers that they are gay. Coming out is the most impactful thing to advance LGBT rights globally and I wanted to take time with today’s post to call attention to this.

When I applied and during my interview I was concerned about being Out during my Oxford MBA. Oxford is filled with high-church transitions including wearing formal-wear to take exams, eat certain dinners, and it trends more conservative. It also is home to Oscar Wilde and many other LGBT writers, embraced Rachel Maddow, and has a college known as the Queer College (Wadham) that flies the rainbow flag each February.

Personally I was concerned that with 40-50% of the class coming from countries where homosexuality is illegal there would be tension with my classmates and that I might be the only one. I am proud to say that that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In the past month I have had a dozen people from India and various countries in the Middle East and Africa send me a quick message or pull me aside to let me know that they are supportive. About 2-3% of the class is LGB and so far this year has destroyed my concerns about being out.

This weekend I was in Chicago for an LGBT MBA conference and when people heard I was from Oxford they echoed my original fears. I am glad that I was able to picture my classmates and their support and let them know that the students are strong allies across the board.

I am grateful to be in an environment where I don’t have to worry about being authentically David and if any prospective students are reading this and want to know more, please reach out to me. I’m happy to chat. David.Baker@mba2015.sbs.oxford.edu