Professor Robin Mason
(Main staff profile at https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/profiles/university/robin-mason.aspx)
What does being the Executive Lead for LGBT+ Equality mean?
It means a few things. First, I act as a champion and advocate for LGBT+ equality on the University executive board. Secondly, I support the various LGBT+ networks and activities in the University. In practice, that tends to mean that I inflict some welcoming remarks on people before the main event gets going. But I hope it helps to raise the profile of the excellent work that staff and students do at the University. Finally, I engage with external organisations to ensure that the University’s position on LGBT+ equality is recognised and supported.
Why did you feel this role was important for you to take on?
I’m very proud that the University values all our staff and students and is a place where everyone can feel welcome, included, and safe to be themselves. But we always need to be trying harder and doing more to ensure that we are fully inclusive across the spectrum of gender diversity. I hope that, in this role, I can play at least some part in ensuring that we remain one of the most LGBT+ friendly universities in the UK.
What have been the highlights of your time as Executive Lead for LGBT+ Equality to date?
This one is easy: working with fantastic colleagues and students who are passionate about and committed to equalities. Our Rainbow Network, in particular, can’t be praised enough. No wonder it keeps being recognised as Stonewall’s West Midlands Network Group of the Year.
What are your hopes for the future regarding the LGBT+ community at the University of Birmingham?
I always hope with any role that I do that it will one day become redundant. I really do hope that we continue on the course that we’re on so that at some point, and hopefully not too far in the future, our society and our University will be so open and inclusive that there’s no need for one LGBT+ equality lead—everyone will be one. But we have some way to go.
What do you feel is your biggest challenge as Executive Lead for LGBT+ Equality?
My immediate thought was: there’s never enough time to engage in all the equality activities that are going on at the University. But thinking more deeply, I think we are still some way from understanding fully and responding appropriately to the issues faced by trans staff and students.
What message would you like to send to LGBT+ people at the University of Birmingham?
I hope you feel that our University values and respects you, and that you feel entirely safe and comfortable to be the person who you are. I know that there’s always more to do, though, so I would love to hear from you if you have any thoughts or suggestions about how we can become even more open and inclusive.