LGBTQ+ people in the UK and across Europe still face high levels of discrimination in all aspects of everyday life, according to a 2020 survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
The University has 3,000 students who identify as LGBTQ+ and iscommitted to delivering a fairer University community for all, where everyone feels welcome, where we engage with and learn from our diverse community and where we challenge ourselves – as an institution and as individuals – to do better. As part of this we are constantly learning from our history.
Uncovering our past to build a better future - launch of the Historical Research on Sexuality Project
The Historical Research on Sexuality Project is in response to work by a researcher in the 1970s on sexuality and conversion therapy.
Professor Jo Duberley Deputy-Pro-Vice-Chancellor Equalities says: 'The University and the Guild of Students are committed to working together to explore more broadly the activities surrounding the historical practice of conversion therapy in our University. We are unequivocal that conversion therapy, where the aim is to change a person's sexual orientation or to suppress gender identity, is unethical, degrading and harmful.
'This is a very important piece of work and we are committed to carrying it out in a thorough and consultative way. We have therefore launched a Historical Research on Sexuality Project to improve and share our understanding of historical psychological research in this area.
'To support the work of the Committee, the University has also funded a research fellow post to lead the initial research into the School of Psychology's historical research on sexuality and conversion therapy.' Read the full statement.
Celebrating our LGBTQ+ alumni, students and staff
Students and staff across the University developed a varied programme of virtual events for LGBTQ+ History Month in February as well as throughout the year. Catch up with the online events below:
The Alumni Relations Office hosted two alumni, Suki Sandhu OBE (BSc Economics, 2002) and Matt Cameron (BA Medieval and Modern History, 2009) as part of a panel event called ‘Our authentic selves: Being LGBTQ+ in the workplace’
For International Women’s Day the University hosted Amazin LêThị to hear her personal journey of homelessness and mental health challenges, to finding her identity & becoming one of the most visible and influential Asian LGBT+ advocates in the world.
The University hosted the Being Queer Asian global webinar with six prominent Asian activists from across 16 time zones sharing their stories of changing minds and hearts for LGBTQ+ equality in Asian communities across the world.
The University co-organised webinars about the Gaybourhoods in Amsterdam and Birmingham with the University of Amsterdam as part of our joint virtual EDI Festival. Both universities are strategic partners on EDI.
What we do now: support networks for alumni, staff and students
The University has a variety of networks and programmes to support LGBTQ+ staff, students and alumni.
For alumni and staff
The Rainbow Network aims to represent and support all staff and PhD students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or questioning, as well as under-represented LGBTQ+ identities, to ensure that their voices are heard and their needs are met at the University. Alumni are now invited to join the Rainbow Network; if you are interested in joining email the team.
The LGBTQ+ Ally training scheme is training available for all staff, providing practical steps they can take to be effective allies. It focuses on how they can ensure inclusivity, diversity and contribute to making the University a great place to work and study for all LGBTQ+ people.
The LGBTQ+ mentoring scheme run by the Careers Network team, in collaboration with Sean Russell (Founder of "Get Out Stay Out") offers a six-month mentoring scheme that pairs LGBTQ+ students with LGBTQ+ mentors. The mentors, who are industry professionals from a wide range of occupations, are able to share their guidance and advice about the choices they made in their careers. Previous mentorships have focused on helping students to devise their own personal coming out strategies for the workplace, developing professional networks, identifying and applying to LGBTQ+ friendly employers and much more.
For everyone; the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team
Dr Sammy Li, Adviser on Student Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the University is also the Convener of LGBT+ Network of Networks in Higher Education, a consortium of about 230 LGBT+ staff network officers and EDI managers from over 90 universities and research institutions in the UK. Read reflections from Sammy.