The LGBTQ Ally Network is a network for staff who do not identify as LGBTQ but support their LGBTQ colleagues to achieve equality in the workplace. Ally is defined by HEFCE as follows: "Within an equality, diversity and inclusion context, ‘ally’ is used for an individual who – while not sharing the equality characteristic – is a declared supporter and advocate of those who have this characteristic." (http://www.hefce.ac.uk/media/HEFCE,2014/Content/Pubs/Independentresearch/2017/Sectorleading,and,innovative,practice,in,advancing,equality,and,diversity/2017_edpractice.PDF, 2017). This network works closely alongside the Rainbow Network, and is represented on the Rainbow Network committee by Sheena Griffiths.
Being an LGBTQ ally simply means being a supporter of LGBTQ equality, but the University's specific expectations of members of the LGBTQ Ally Network are as follows:
- Attend an induction session for LGBTQ allies.
- Commit to learning about LGBTQ identities and issues from LGBTQ people.
- Proactively contribute to the creation of LGBTQ-inclusive spaces.
- Do not be a bystander to homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic language and behaviour on campus.
- Sign Stonewall's "Come out for LGBT" and "No Bystanders" pledges.
- Complete the annual Stonewall Workplace Equality Index survey and encourage colleagues to do so.
- Respect confidentiality of LGBTQ identities, and do not disclose people’s identity if unsure whether they are open about it.
- Signpost students and colleagues wanting advice about LGBTQ issues to the relevant part of the University.
- Promote the LGBTQ Ally Network to colleagues.
More information about how to be an effective ally can be found at "Five ways to be an ally" on Stonewall's website.
Merchandise, including lanyards and badges, will shortly be available for members of the LGBTQ Ally Network, and it is hoped that staff will display this merchandise proudly around the Edgbaston campus and at their desks to signal their commitment to LGBTQ equality to colleagues, students, and visitors.
Please note that LGBTQ Advocate training for staff who wish to provide specialist support to LGBTQ students is offered as part of the Inclusive Curriculum project. If a student approaches you to ask for this support but you have not received the training, please refer them to Dr Nicola Gale or Dr Nicki Ward, or to the University Harassment Advisers in Wellbeing Services who have also received LGBTQ awareness training.