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!
On December 1st a small number of staff, students and friends gathered outside the University Chapel to commemorate World AIDS Day 2016.
The evening commenced with a facilitated discussion an PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV) led by Sexual Health at Kent Community Health NHS Trust.
John Gilmore Co-Chair of CCCq welcomed the group on behalf of the University and reflected on the meaning of the day.
‘Today we wear a Red Ribbon to remember the more than 35 million people who have died because of AIDS and HIV related illness.
We remember those denied research and treatment.
We remember those treated like outcasts.
We remember those told that they deserved it.
We remember those denied love and compassion.
It is also a day to be thankful.
Thankful that because of research, education and treatment it is possible to live a long and healthy life HIV positive.
Thankful for the activists, for the researchers and for the healthcare professionals who have made this possible.
Today is also a day to stand up.
Stand up against the prejudice and stigma associated with HIV.
Stand up to the ignorance. To Educate.
To shout out as loud as we can that we will not accept the corporate greed, political apathy and prejudice that means some people living with HIV do not live a full and happy life.
People still die because of HIV.
Dying of AIDS because they cannot afford treatment, die by suicide because of stigma and rejection.
People needlessly contract this virus because of a lack of free condoms, because they cannot access PrEP, because their sexual health education is abysmal.
HIV is a political crisis.
We are the first generation who can actually end transmission of HIV, who can stop people dying from AIDS. Let’s do it!’
The group then entered the chapel for a candle lit vigil led by Dr Stephen O’Connor CCCq member. Candles were lit and a number of prayers and poems were read before the group joined together to sing Labi Siffre’s So Strong.
A lantern lit Red Ribbon route followed to St Paul’s Church where a mulled wine and mince pie reception was hosted.
The event was jointly organised by CCCq and Kent Community Health. Many thanks to all who supported especially the chaplaincy team at Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent County Council and St Martin and St Paul.
CCCq member Doug Little reflects on the recent Stonewall Trans Inclusion Seminar at CCCU.
*** Disclaimer: Please be aware that the content of this post is the views of its author(s) and does not necessarily reflect the policy, aims, practice or views of Canterbury Christ Church University or the CCCq Network. The CCCq Network or University also cannot be held responsible for the accuracy or reliability of comments or content posted by external parties. ***
Let’s Talk About Trans* (and little bit about Toilets)
Earlier this month CCCU hosted Stonewall’s launch of their first ever resource series dedicated to trans* in the work place. The resources mark a significant step in Stonewall’s own journey from being exclusively a charity for Lesbian, Bisexual and Gay (LGB) interests to becoming a trans* inclusive (LGBT+) organisation.
I’m happy to report that the event was a success! It was well attended with the audience representing a range of organisations.
David Shepherd (Deputy Vice Chancellor) opened the event and it was great to see the university’s commitment to equality and diversity. Stonewall’s presentation was informative, covering their work and history, as well as breaking down the contents of the guides.
The event was very much centred on people. It drew on real experiences. Leng Montgomery (Stonewall) spoke of their own initial apprehension to Stonewall opening up to trans*. It was clear that those on the panel had genuinely been hurt by Stonewall, but also by the wide LGB population. Stonewall did not shy away from this criticism – it was apparent to me that their efforts were genuine.
My own knowledge and understanding on trans* was limited. Even though I am a gay man I didn’t, at a personal level, empathise with the particular prejudice that trans* people face and experience. This event represented, for myself and for others like me, a real opportunity to learn about trans*, gender identity and presentation more broadly. I left the room knowing more, but also wanting to learn more. I’ll draw on the resources published and I’ve included links to all of these at the bottom of this post if you’d like to read them for yourselves.
The next day a colleague asked me about the event. I was feeling positive as it seemed that the event had stirred discussion and I thought great! That was until it became clear that the discussion was almost exclusively around one subject – toilets. Quickly put, the ground floor toilets in the venue were sign posted as ‘Gender Inclusive’, with the facilities signed to indicate whether the room had cubicles only or with urinals. The sign also made it clear that gender-specific toilets were available upstairs.
When people asked me about the toilets it was usually with a precursor that they didn’t mind the toilets being made inclusive, just that they weren’t given any advance notice. It might have been a slight inconvenience, but I think that we could all (including myself) empathise more about the challenge that it is for those who are trans* or non-binary who may experience distress every day for having to make a choice between male and female. In fact, I overheard some students who attended expressing some frustration that the University would host gender inclusive facilities for LGBT events but not for their own students throughout the year. I should recognise here that the University is addressing this need for gender neutral toilet facilities and it forms part of the Estate Master Plan.
My point is that the event was great. It was informative and engaging. It exposed me to discussions and issues I’d not considered. I really hope the University takes up more opportunities to engage LGBT* and equality and diversity topics. Though the latter part of my post shows that there are steps that we could all do to consider how every day we could be more inclusive and be just a little bit more sensitive and aware.
Stonewall Trans* Resource Pack:
- First Steps to Trans Inclusion – An Introduction to Trans Inclusion in the Workplace
- Communicating Commitment to Trans Inclusion – The trans inclusion journey and communicating commitment to all staff
- Creating a Transitioning at Work Policy – How to support your staff through their transition.
- Trans Inclusive Policies and Benefits – How to ensure your policies and benefits are trans inclusive
- Engaging All Staff In Trans Inclusion – How to engage all levels of staff in the trans inclusion journey
- Getting It Right With Your Trans Service Users and Customers – How to ensure your service delivery or customer service is trans inclusive