The IDENTITY Project

Robert, Barnet, UK

Robert Vesty

A co-chair of the LGBT+ staff and student network at Middlesex University where they work as a Senior Lecturer in Theatre, Robert grew up in the UK (half Lancashire, half Essex) in a working-class household trying to hide being the queer kid that he was.

They went to Birmingham University to study theatre and then trained at Welsh College of Speech and Drama before working as an actor; eventually moving into teaching/academia and getting a PhD.

Robert now most readily identifies as queer and lives in East London with their genderqueer spouse and, as well as teaching movement for actors, he writes about and practices movement/dance improvisation that uses voice and is exploring this through the lens of queerness and class.

What does your identity mean to you?

A myriad of things – at the very least, it’s intersectional and I embrace my queerness as a constituent part of many facets of me! Identity is a set of markers that are ever in flux and are always relational. I don’t believe that I have sole rights and power over how my identity is constructed even though I have loads of power (thanks to certain privileges) over how I construct my identity – I care about the complexity and politics of this set up. As I grow older (hitting 50) I find myself ever more comfortably playful in my skin as a queer person. So, all in all, identity to me is radical (it has deep roots) and yet flippant, frivolous, flighty and light, all at the same time.

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