Celebrating the “B” in LGBT

Ailsa is a Technology Operations Specialist in RAN Operations for Vodafone UK. Here we talk to her about her day job, being bisexual and the importance of the LGBT & Friends Network.

By Vodafone LGBT Network

Ailsa is a Technology Operations Specialist in RAN Operations for Vodafone UK.  Here we talk to her about her day job, being bisexual and the importance of the LGBT & Friends Network.

What is your role here at Vodafone and how long have you worked here?

I am a technology operations specialist within RAN operations.

RAN operations are responsible for network availability in the UK.  We ensure that all changes implemented on the network are completed within the agreed outage time and that all sites with faults are restored as swiftly as possible.  We work closely with the second line radio and transmission support teams, as well as the field teams to manage the day to day faults across the network. We also manage internal supplier improvement initiatives to enhance network robustness and availability.

I have worked for Vodafone UK for 9 years in a range of different roles within customer operations and technology operations.

Why is the LGBT & Friends Network important to you and how have you been involved?

I am relatively new to the LGBT & Friends Network and first became aware of it at the meet and greet with Ben Cohen during Pride week in June (that’s me and Ben in the photo).  I think the Network is important as it provides support for its members and also raises awareness of the LGBT community within Vodafone.  I’m looking forward to becoming much more involved from now on.

How would you describe the impact of being bisexual & how can work colleagues support or learn from you?

I am very lucky with my immediate and extended team, and do not feel that my being bisexual as any impact on the team. I know that I am a minority so to speak, and as a result I do get asked a lot of questions which I don’t mind.  In fact I prefer to be asked than be spoken about behind my back and assumptions made.  Plus it enables me to educate people on being bisexual to help dispense with the stigma and myths that can be associated with it.

What are some myths about bisexuals that you would challenge?

The two main myths that get bantered around about are: “you are just lazy and need to make up your mind” and “you’re just being greedy”.  This really is not the case.  We are quite simply attracted to both males and females.  There is also an opinion that bisexuals make poor parents as their children will be confused and bullied about their parent’s orientation.  I am very lucky to have four children, all of whom are doing very well with their education and extra-curricular activities.  My children are very open with their friends about both myself being bisexual and their father being gay, and they have not had any negative experiences at all.

Being bisexual comes with the added difficulty or tendency of your orientation being defined by who you are with at that particular time in your life.  I was deemed as being straight when I was married to my ex-husband.  I am currently deemed as being a lesbian as I have a girlfriend.  When in reality, I am bisexual at all times.  I don’t get offended when people make assumptions like this.  Instead I take it as an opportunity to educate people about bisexuals, especially as it seems to be the least known group within the LGBT community.

How did you come out at Vodafone?

During a light hearted, jokey conversation with my close work colleagues.  None of them were shocked and they accepted my orientation without judgement.

Outside of work, what do you do to unwind?

I love spending time with my children, girlfriend and friends. I enjoy going to the cinema, theme parks, and the odd concert and festival too.

Who is your hero and why?

My Mum!  Even though she was born with a major disability and endured 20+ operations on her feet and legs as a child, and a further four as an adult, including loosing part of a foot, she never let it get in her way or stop her from doing anything.  She managed to be a regional champion for hurdles in senior school, work full time, raise four children, and be married to a serving solider, all whilst dealing with her disability without complaint.  She was the most inspirational person I have ever known and I am very proud to be able to say she was my mum.

"I love the fact Vodafone supports me to be me."

Introducing the great LGBT & Friends network.