February 8, 2018, by Zoë Goodwin
LGBT+ allies in the School of Mathematical Sciences
By Susanne Pumpluen, School of Mathematical Sciences, Director of EDI
At the end of last year, the EDI Committee of the School of Mathematical Sciences wanted to do something that demonstrated their commitment and support to the LGBT+ staff and student community.
We wanted to show a gesture of good will/support to our LGBT+ community, by declaring our offices safe spaces for anyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender. LGBT+ safe space stickers were made available to all staff to display on their office doors to show their commitment to being an ally of the LGBT+ community.
Why is this important?
A national survey of 80 UK HE institutions (including UoN) in 2014 showed that:
- 1/5 LGB+ and 1/3 transgender students have experienced at least one form of bullying or harassment on their campus.
- LGBT students who have experienced a form of homophobic or transphobic harassment are 2–3 times more likely to consider leaving their course.
- More than half of LGB+ respondents (56 per cent) cited the feeling of not fitting in as the main reason for considering dropping out.
These stickers make our support of LGBT+ staff and students visible. It is important to note however that our staff who choose to display the safe space stickers have not undertaken any special training but are willing to provide a listening ear free of judgement or discrimination.
In order to support our staff to have open conversations, we sent around some supporting information which included advice on what language to use. This was put together by Harry Moriarty, Chair of the University’s Trans Working Party. We are also grateful to him for pointing out that the People and Culture team (email@example.com) are able to pass on a list of individuals at the University who would be happy to provide direct support to anyone who identifies as a trans person.
So far the School has handed out 30 stickers and its time to order some more! It is wonderful to see so much support as you walk through the School now. Thank you to everyone involved.