Many thanks to Universities UK (UUK) for inviting me to close their schedule of Pride events by talking about the importance of Allies schemes in HE. The key points covered were:
- The law as it now stands, the Public Sector Equality Duty, and some of the common terms currently in use
- Given the legal protection, why are so many LGBT people wary of being themselves and coming out at work
- The sense in HE that this is not a problem: that as institutions of learning, openness and debate – everyone is almost by default tolerant and inclusive
- An overview of recent surveys and case studies pointing to drop-out rates for students, wariness of staff and PhD student to come out and the lack of senior champions
- The concept of minority stress: the impact of belonging to one or more minorities which face discrimination and the idea of intersectionality which is is now being discussed so much at the moment.
- The good news: great example of Allies schemes in HE and other sectors, the importance of visibility and ensuring LGBTQ awarenss and inclusivity is not tokenistic, but threads throughout the culture of the organisation.
Many thanks to Myles Hanlon for inviting me and who recently set up UUK’s first LGBTQ+ staff network – do read his blog.