Dan O’Neill is a wildlife filmmaker, TV presenter, and PhD candidate biologist who recently shared his experience encountering antigay discrimination in the workplace.
In a first-person piece for the U.K.’s i news, O’Neill explained that, “like most LGBT+ people, I’ve been called names all my life. I’ve been advised by people in my industry to ‘play down’ my sexuality — and I have done.”
He went on to give some details, recalling how “once, I was in a meeting at a production company in London to pitch ideas for a new program. I guess I was getting excited about an idea and talking about it in an excitable way. I found out afterwards that one of the leaders of the meeting said: ‘He’s gayer than we expected.’ I never got a call from them again.”
The experience stuck with O’Neill, and for a long time he worried about how his demeanor might be affecting his opportunities.
Luckily for him–and for everyone–he eventually realized that being true to himself would ultimately lead to a more fulfilling life, personally and professionally. Now he hopes to inspire the next generation of kids interested in a career in biology and filmmaking.
“I loved David Attenborough documentaries, ” he said, “and wanted to be a biologist and wildlife presenter when I grew up. But there was nobody like me on screen — that I knew of. As the saying goes, you can’t be what you can’t see — and so I couldn’t see a possible future for me in that field.”
O’Neill can be seen most recently in Snow Leopards: Ghosts in the Snow airing on BBC.
Here’s some more from his very adventurous looking Instagram: