A lecturer at the University of Winchester hopes to persuade LGBT staff and students to join an online list of who is out.

Professor Eric Anderson, who has conducted research into homophobia in sport, says the ‘Outlist’ would help staff and students meet each other and plan events.

Speaking to the Daily Echo, he said: “It’s something that has been happening on American student newspapers for some time but if it goes ahead Winchester will become the first university in Britain to try it out online.”

A number of American universities have an Outlist. At the University of Oregon, it is described as “a list of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who wish to publicly acknowledge and celebrate that they are LGBTQ and/or allies of the LGBTQ community”.

Professor Anderson continued: “As a university, Winchester is at the forefront of promoting inclusivity and a culture of celebration for its LGBT students and staff. The Outlist is just one of the ways we could do that.

“It will be a chance for people to declare their support for the LGBT community and make a statement about their sexuality – an open network for students to meet one another, post events and see for themselves how inclusive the University of Winchester is.”

Professor Anderson added that the rise of social networking was instrumental in encouraging people to be out about their sexuality.

“For young people growing up with social networking there’s nothing unusual in telling people you’re interested in men, women or both,” he said.

“Sexuality isn’t private anymore. Young people are growing up with the visibility of homosexuality and it’s encouraged a new level of acceptance among youth.”

Professor Anderson, originally from California, has published numerous books and papers on the issues of homosexuality, sport and masculinity.

A recent study he carried out looked at affection between straight male friends.