Author Archives: canterburyccq
On 20th of November we mark Transgender Remembrance Day to remember those who have suffered or even lost their lives because of transphobia, and to remind ourselves and others that this fight is not over.
However, there is hope and change is possible! A couple of months ago we at the CCCq received an unexpected email titled ‘Greetings from LA LA Land’. The message was from a former student of Canterbury Christ Church University (then College) who had a remarkable story to tell about her time here and, more importantly, what happened afterwards. She got in contact to “offer up her story as a way of showing that even the most conservative of organisations can be open to the views of the individuals even when politics is telling you otherwise.”
We will let Kerry Michelle to tell the story in her own words:
Back in the 1980’s I was a big advocate for the Gay and Lesbian community at Christ Church, to the point I outed myself at a Clause 28 meeting when the college wanted to take down all the material that could be “promoting” homosexuality on campus out of the Student Union. I stood up and said I was going to shut down all social activities in the Union, including the van driving I did for the sports teams, as being bisexual I was effectively promoting homosexuality by booking or supporting any social event. This had the shock effect I wanted and we were able to compromise with the college on certain activities.
Spool on and here we are in 2017 and I am so excited to see an LGBTQ group within the Christ Church staff community especially as we see the current Republican administration here in the US doing so much blatant damage to our core existence.
So what has this to do with Christ Church Canterbury University? Well as an ex-student, didn’t really excel except at making social statements in the Union (tried to limit smoking in public spaces in 1988 which was a little too forward thinking for some). I have gone on to be a vocal voice for the oppressed over here in California and most recently at Disney corporate in Burbank.
Disney did a big Pride event about inclusion on the Studio Lot and were patting themselves on the back. In an open Q&A I stood up and asked where the non-gender specific bathrooms were on the studio campus knowing full well there were none, after a very awkward pause I was told they were hoping to have some on the ABC Studio campus next door. To which I stated that as a transgender woman I had nowhere to go on the studio campus and felt awkward using the gents as I had to wear uncomfortable clothes and be within an environment I am not welcome.
Following on from that I have made improvements to the campus in that we have agreed non gender threatening environments, identified spaces we can use and push their LGBT awareness and acceptance HR agenda. All of this is not bad for a contractor who is not even staff. Disney have been so awesome now they have completely reassigned my credentials in Disney World Wide to be Kerry Michelle in all security and access databases. This took a couple of weeks but as far as Disney is concerned I am a woman and have the same rights as a cis woman.
We are grateful for Kerry Michelle for sharing her story, and for reminding us that positive change is possible even in the most unexpected places! If anyone would like to get in touch with Kerry Michelle, please contact the CCCq Network at email@example.com and we can pass on your message. She has also promised a free studio tour for anyone visiting in Hollywood and trust me, the committee is so very tempted!
LGBT History Month is almost here! To celebrate, CCCq have organised a programme of events. The programme poster is below in full, and the key events will also have individual posters that you can download and use to advertise. But here in plain text:
01/02 13-14 Flag raising at Augustine House, followed by ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger: LGBT at the Olympic Games’ talk by Dikaia Chatziefstathiou & James Brighton in AH3.22 Augustine House Canterbury Campus. Download poster here: olympics
08/02 13-14 Flag raising at Old Sessions House, followed by Transgender Health seminar by Marissa Dainton in Jg07 Johnson Building Canterbury Campus. Download poster here: trans-health
15/02 13-13.45 ‘Katie’ film screening & discussion by John Gilmore in RWg19 Rowan Williams Court Medway Campus. Download poster here: katie
15/02 18-19.30 Public lecture ‘The Life & Legacy of Audre Lorde’ by Dr Stella Bolaki in Lg26 Laud Building Canterbury Campus. Organised in collaboration with CCCU BME and Women’s staff networks, and in partnership with University of Kent LGBT Writers week. Download poster here: audre-lorde
22/02 13.15-14 ‘UK LGBT History’ talk by Sue Sanders Professor Emeritus Harvey Milk Institute in Cg47 Carey Building Broadstairs Campus. Download poster here: sue-sanders
27/02 18-19.30 ‘Swoon’ film screening & discussion by Andrew Butler in Ns01 Newton Building Canterbury Campus. Download poster here: swoon
All February the University Bookshop will also host a display on LGBT+ writers
All events are open to staff, students and public. Looking forward to celebrating with you!