There are still some elements of fear surrounding coming out in the workplace for lesbian and gay university staff, Stonewall claims.

The gay charity has expressed fears that universities do not do enough to tackle equality as it is assumed that the institutions are automatically liberal.

Stephen Frost, the manager of Stonewall’s workplace programmes, said many lesbian, gay and bisexual staff fear coming out would limit their career opportunities or cause bullying.

He told the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES): “People who aren’t able to be themselves aren’t operating at their best.”

Mr Frost said universities should be aware of their gay and lesbian staff as they are about race, gender and disability.

This has been backed by Frankie Williams, senior lecturer in community and youth work at Sunderland University.

She told the THES that at first she was concerned that monitoring would lead to a “box-ticking” mentality.

“But as long as you have everything else in place, I think monitoring produces visibility.”

Stonewall currently has a list of over 200 Diversity Champions who they work with to promote good employment practice.

There are 12 universities in the scheme including, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Liverpool John Moores University and Carfiff Univeristy.

However, none of them are in the charity’s top 100 employers in the UK. Many of the best performers are national and local public organisations, such as Staffordshire Police, currently top of the chart, the Department for Work and Pensions, Manchester City Council and the Department for Education and Skills.