Developed in partnership with our LGBT+ Staff Equality Network Group and local LGBT+ charity, Allsorts Youth Project, the LGBT+ Allies programme empowers staff from across the university to get involved in making a difference and provide visible and pro-active support for LGBT+ staff and students.
The programme was launched in the summer of 2018 by Director of People and University Executive Board sponsor for our involvement in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, Julie Fryatt.
When I joined the university, I knew that advancing equality and diversity was a really important part of my position as Director of People. Being an ally to LGBT+ staff and students is integral to my key role in increasing inclusivity, as part of the university strategy.
What is an LGBT+ Ally?
Stonewall define an ally as a straight and/or cis person who supports the entire LGBT+ community. At the University of Brighton, we have expanded on this definition as some of our allies are LGBT+ themselves but have signed up to be an ally to the wider community.
Our allies are members of staff who want to support their LGBT+ colleagues and students and are willing to stand up and be counted.
The remit of LGBT+ Allies at the university, as defined by allies and the LGBT+ Staff Equality Network Group, is to:
- demonstrate visible support to LGBT+ staff, students and visitors and commitment to providing a safer space
- have a good understanding of LGBT+ issues and commitment to ongoing development and learning
- signal that they can be approached by LGBT+ staff, students and visitors for sign-posting
- challenge and call out homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in our community, as well as unequal policies or practices
- support LGBT+ events and activities, including those being planned and delivered by the LGBT+ Staff Equality Network Group.
What do the LGBT+ Allies do?
Allies receive specialist training from Allsorts Youth as well as support and capacity building from the LGBT+ Staff Network Group to undertake activities as part of this programme.
Their actions support the aims and objectives of the LGBT+ Staff Network Group, as well as the university’s commitment as a Stonewall Diversity Champion.
Actions so far include:
- participating in and promoting the Gender Recognition Act consultation, to enable better processes and recognition for trans and non-binary people
- writing to their MPs to express their support for trans equality and asking them to write to the government to show their support
- attending and promoting LGBT+ events at the university, including talks and activities for LGBT+ History Month (February)
- supporting the university’s involvement in the city-wide #MyPronounsAre campaign to mark Trans Day of Visibility, including wearing and promoting the new Trans Ally badge and social media activities (March)
- displaying a LGBT+ Staff Network Group-designed poster across campuses for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, and undertaking social media activities, to show they are taking a stand against hate crime and that they provide a safer space for LGBT+ staff, students and visitors at the university (May)
- attending ongoing specialist training to ensure knowledge and competency across LGBT+ identities, issues and topics
- tackling misinformation and ignorance online
- supporting the LGBT+ Staff Network and LGBTQ+ Student Society in the Brighton & Hove LGBT+ Pride Parade each year.
Who are the university’s LGBT+ Allies?
There are currently over 30 trained LGBT+ Allies from different schools, departments and campuses across the university.
You can identify them by the purple logo in email signatures and on office doors.