UH aims to be an inclusive institution that champions equality and diversity. We celebrate and value the diversity of our workforce and student population and will treat all employees and students fairly, equally and with respect. The University will at no time discriminate against people on the grounds of their gender identity/expression or sexual orientation and is actively working to ensure LGBTQ+ equality across the institution.
Sexuality has to do with the way someone identifies, how they experience sexual and romantic attraction (if they do), and their interest in and preferences around sexual and romantic relationships and behaviour. People experience and identify their sexuality in many ways. There is further information about support for trans individuals.
Please note that we utilise the “plus” at the end of “LGBTQ” to represent the wide range of other sexual identities including questioning, pansexual, asexual, omnisexual etc. This is an inclusive way to refer to the community, as they can be grouped by one common theme: the fact they do not identify as straight or cisgender.
Some of the ways we celebrate and support our LGBT+ community:
- From autumn 2020 the University will re-commit to Stonewall, which campaigns for the equality of LGBT+ people across Britain, to become a Diversity Champion in 2021.
- LGBT+ Society is a student run society within the Hertfordshire Students' Union that is also supported by the Equality Office. They run weekly social events on campus as well as working with the University and the local area to help improve the services on offer for the LGBT+ community.
The LGBTQ+ Mentoring Programme matches trained LGBTQ+ staff mentors with LGBTQ+ staff and student mentees with the aim to empower and support our LGBTQ+ community.
- We run regular events for LGBT+ History Month, Trans Day of Awareness, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia and LGBTSTEM Day, among others. We have also organised workshops including LGBT+ and Mental Health.
- Gender Neutral Toilets have been rolled out across various University buildings and can be used by people of any sex, gender or gender identity. All new buildings will be equipped with a GNT.
- LGBTQ+ Staff Network is open to all members of staff, regardless of sexual orientation, who wish to be involved in, or support diversity issues which are fully supportive of LGBTQ+ staff.
- The LGBTQ+ Allies Programme was launched for staff to enable individuals to demonstrate their active commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ equality at UH, and equip them with the knowledge and tools to help support LGBTQ+ colleagues and students. An “ally” is a term used to describe a heterosexual or non-trans person who believes that LGBTQ+ people should experience full equality in the workplace, and individuals within the LGBTQ+ community who support each other. Keep an eye out for the rainbow lanyards!
- The Chaplaincy and EDI Office hold stalls at Pride festivals and events.
- The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Office represent the University at LGBT+ Partnership meetings and is involved with a number of external organisations. They can offer support and provide information or signpost students and staff to relevant internal and external organisations and support networks.
Support during COVID-19
LGBTQ+ people are no more likely to catch COVID-19 than the general population, but LGBTQ+ students could experience specific social and wellbeing challenges as a result of the current situation. Links to further information and support may be found here.
There is a wealth of information and resources to support and address the needs of LGBTQ+ people:
- Stonewall's website is a really useful starting point. It provides advice on all aspects of sexual orientation and has some useful research. There are also workplace guides to include First Steps to Trans Inclusion and a new campaign for LGBT Christian role models.
- The Lesbian and Gay Foundation are a useful organisation to contact for support with coming out.
- Queer Muslim project photographs and interviews from Muslim LGBT people around the world.