LGBTQ staff and students still face many obstacles. LGBTQ students are more likely to drop out from studies, and if they are ‘out’, return to the closet once they start working. LGBTQ employees in the UK still don’t often feel comfortable being out at work. Organisations have done a great deal to ensure that LGBTQ employees are included, valued and supported.
The LGBTQ Ally Scheme is for staff who wish to proactively support their LGBTQ colleagues achieve equality in the workplace and contribute to an inclusive community for students. This network works closely alongside the Rainbow Network for LGBTQ staff and PhD students. Being an LGBTQ Ally broadly means being a supporter of LGBTQ equality. Allies
are not experts, unless that is also part of their day job, however the University's specific expectations of members of the LGBTQ Ally Network are as follows:
- Attend an induction session to learn about LGBTQ identities and issues and receive a lanyard
- Identify yourself as an Ally (lanyard, email signature etc.) where appropriate and safe to do so
- Be able to explain why you’re wearing a lanyard
- 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
- Do not be a bystander to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language and behaviours on campus
- Sign Stonewall's "Come out for LGBT" pledge.
- Complete the annual Stonewall Workplace Equality Index survey and encourage colleagues to do this
The role of an Ally is about visibility. Wearing a lanyard is the easiest and most immediate signal that the campus is welcoming and inclusive. How Allies fulfil the role is up to each person and the Induction Session will provide some tips. More information about how to be an effective ally can be found at "Five ways to be an ally" on Stonewall's website.
How do I become an Ally?
Sean Russell of Get Out Stay Out will be running a series of Induction events open to all UoB Staff and PhD students. New dates will be announced shortly.