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Spotlight: 5 LGBTQ+ Univites

Middle-aged man smiling, wearing a blue shirt and blue glasses

John Weltman (1979, History)

This LGBTQ+ History Month, we want to spotlight five amazing Univites involved in LGBTQ+ activism in various fields from law and journalism to geophysics.

1. John Weltman (1979, History)

John Weltman graduated from Yale in 1979, matriculated at Univ that same year, where he stayed until 1981, leaving for the University of Virginia School of Law. He has his BA, MA (History – thesis on espionage during the Cromwellian Protectorate) and JD. He is a lawyer with over 38 years of commercial litigation (barrister) experience and is the founder of the largest surrogate parenting agency in America, Circle Surrogacy, now in its 28th year. John and his husband of 34 years (together nearly 40), Cliff, were the first gay couple to have children through surrogacy in the United States. Their boys are now 28 (radio frequency engineer at an internet service provider) and 26 (PhD candidate in Paleontology). Find out more about John in this profile.

White person with short hair wearing a pink shirt and square glasses

Rebecca Colquhoun (2020, DPhil in Earth Sciences), WCR Disability and Accessibility Officer

2. Rebecca Colquhoun (2020, DPhil in Earth Sciences)

Rebecca is a third year DPhil student in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford, researching earthquake mechanics and seismic hazards. They were highly commended in the Vice Chancellor’s Diversity Awards for leading initiatives that tackle racism, homophobia and ableism at the department, college, and divisional level, and beyond Oxford.

Within the Department of Earth Sciences, Rebecca has invited LGBTQ+ speakers to the department careers fair, co-founded the department’s LGBTQ+ affinity group, and co-founded Oxford Unlearning Racism in Geoscience, which produces anti-racism policies and resources. At Univ, they advocate for disabled students, running social events and promoting available support. They have shared their own experiences of being neurodiverse to encourage disabled students to apply to university. They are the institutional liaison for the International Society of Non-binary Scientists and co-organised the American Geophysical Union annual LGBTQ+ meet-up.

Find out more about Rebecca in this profile.

Black person wearing red shirt

Otamere Guobadia (2012, Law)

3. Otamere Guobadia (2012, Law)

Otamere Guobadia is an author, poet, and journalist. Otamere’s writing focuses on desire, queerness, art, race, love, and pop culture. His work has been published in publications including i-D, AnotherMan, GQ, The Guardian, Gay Times, HUCK, The Independent, Conde Nast’s Them, and Attitude. In 2020, he wrote an Open Letter to Queer Britain (Vogue) as part of a Queer Britain initiative supported by Levi’s UK and the Post Office. He is currently working on his first book.

At Univ, Otamere edited the Oxford-based queer and trans publication No HeterOx and was President of the Oxford University LGBTQ society.

Profile: Holly Johnston

Orlando. Photo: Henri T Art

4. Holly James Johnston/Orlando (2019, MSt and DPhil English)

Holly James Johnston is an MSt student in English at the University of Oxford. She also performs as a drag king under the name “Orlando”. Taking her name from Virginia Woolf’s Orlando (1928), her drag melds masculinities and femininities together through lip-sync and dance. She appeared alongside art historian and curator Stephen Calloway in ‘The Art of Being a Dandy’, a short film for Tate Britain’s Aubrey Beardsley exhibition.

5. Ian Kramer (1974, Classics)

One of Britain’s leading HIV/AIDS campaigners, Ian Kramer read Classics at Univ and was also a member of the College’s University Challenge Series Champions team in 1976. He served as vice-chair of the UK Coalition of People Living with HIV/AIDS, co-chair of the European Network of Positive People, and on the board of the Global Network of Positive People, as well as being on the Department of Health’s steering committee for the National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV. You can hear his story thanks to the Patient Voices programme.

You can find out more about Univ and the University’s queer history on the Queer Oxford website. Dr Robin Darwall-Smith (1982, Classics), Univ’s archivist, is a key contributor to the project. 

Published: 28 February 2023

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