Beyond the Binary

by | Jun 6, 2022 | Company News

Alexi Hampson

Alexi Hampson

Trainee Software Developer
I enjoy puzzles and problem-solving using electronics and computer programming in both my professional and personal life.

At work, I am a jack of all trades. My desk is covered in cables and protypes, and all sorts of things I’m working on. A mathematician by profession, I have been a ROC Technician at learnd since 2021, helping to solve customer problems.  

Soon I am moving into a new R&D role, as a Software Developer. This is not a million miles away from my Maths degree because I focused on solving real world mathematical problems using computation.  

For example, predicting the weather. Which is impossible to do in this country and that is not just because we have awful weather. It is because the equation cannot be solved, and we must approximate and apply it to many weather fronts.  

I graduated from the University of Manchester in 2019 so missed the pandemic, then temped for a while trying to work out what to do next. The role at learnd came along and it felt like a natural fit. We work in a very agile way; it is a flexible and supportive culture.  

Find your people 

Living in the city and meeting other people from the LGBTQ community was a breath of fresh air after growing up in the rural West County.  

I was about 15 or 16 when I realised that I was bisexual. That was my first entrance into LGBTQ. I didn’t face much push back when I came out, as I’ve always been comfortable in my own skin. I was physically strong and broad from a young age and by 12, I was an established football and rugby player.  

Being non-binary was a slow realisation for me that happened after meeting other people at university. Something clicked. As a society, we draw harsh lines and box people in. I felt that I was somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.  

If someone tells you they are LGBTQ, believe them. People go on their own journeys at their own rate, and if someone has found out something about themself, the best thing you can do is to trust them. 

Where there is resistance, I ignore it. That may not be the healthiest thing, but it works for me. For example, if someone who doesn’t know me misgenders me (because I dress in a masculine way and have a beard), I either let it go or if it’s someone I will see again, I correct them.  

Using the right pronouns  

As I meet people, I tell them or offhandedly mention it. Using my pronouns (they/them) is not all that different to saying he/him or she/her. It just takes a bit of getting used to.  

I’ve had some interesting reactions. There are people in the past who have asked if its real, not in an aggressive way, just doubtful. But you know yourself and your own mind, better than other people. I have a thick skin, but not everyone does and it effects everyone differently. The key is not to let someone else’s ignorance make you doubt yourself.  

You would be amazed about the number of people who are now on a new journey of self-discovery because they had never encountered someone who was non-binary or ace (asexual) before or been comfortable exploring what else is out there. You just need exposure to it, and it can be life changing.  

Perhaps the most surprising thing that’s happened since coming out, is when an older person who has lived their whole life in a rigid gender box, says: ‘This resonates with me.’  

If hearing someone tell you that they are LGBTQ is hard for you, then you need to check your own world view and your own beliefs.  

My family and friends have always been supportive. Being in an environment, either being raised in one or living in one, that is supportive of who you are no matter what that is and understanding that who you are can change, is incredibly important.  

It’s vital to create that kind of environment wherever you can in your life, in the workplace, in your communities and at home.  

For support and advice about coming out as LGBTQ visit Stonewall.   

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