Update: Stonewall Top 100, Staff Network, York LGBT History Month and Trans Inclusivity


Stonewall Top 100 Employer

For the third year running, York St John University has secured its place as one of the UK’s most inclusive workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual staff according to LGBT rights charity Stonewall, and our LGBT Staff Network has been highly commended. News release

Jo Thompson, Head of Human Resources, and Silviya Lewin, LGBT Staff Network Steering Group member, went to the celebrations. Read Jo’s story here.

Event: Share your ideas, and work with us

Thursday 9 February, 12pm-1pm, HG/013 (glass box)

We’re in Stonewall’s top 100 for the third year running AND our LGBT Staff Network has been highly commended – again! It’s no wonder we are over the moon!! This is a recognition of all the work we do to ensure that York St John is a supportive and inclusive environment for LGBT+ staff and students.

We are looking for more people to come and join us to help us with this important agenda and to ensure we retain our place in the top 100 for years to come. So if you are interested in working with us then please come and join us for an informal get together, please feel free to bring your own lunch. It would be great to hear your ideas and have you work with us on making the university an even greater place. All are welcome…and we mean, all.

York LGBT History Month 31st January – 28th February 2017

This year’s programme of events is stunning and the launch party will be held on campus in Temple Hall on 3rd February from 6.30 (tickets are free but you will need to book – see programme for details). Our VC will be speaking at the launch and talking about the importance of this month is recognising the part that people – whether famous or not – have played in our history. This year is particularly important as the theme of the month is “Citizenship, PSHE and Law” recognising that it is 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 became law, partially de-criminalising male homosexuality in England and Wales.

York St John University continues its support for this month long co-ordinated set of events through sponsorship and also through contributions such as:

Lunch Poems: Reading LGBT/Queer Poetry – 6 February
Documentary Screening: Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger – 13 February
Can a person talk like a lesbian? – 22 February
Lavender Linguistics – 24 February

Our big event is the Ebor Lecture on Wednesday 22 February in which we welcome Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt to talk about “Here I am Lord”: The Place for LGBT People in a Modern Christian Movement.

Many thanks to the team at York LGBT History Month for putting on such a broad and exciting programme.

Why is LGBT History Month so important to us?

By Fiona Thompson, Chair, YSJU LGBT Staff Network
My view is that LGBT History Month not only casts a light onto our history and gives voice to many who were silenced, to many who spoke out and to many who risked or gave their lives fighting oppression or merely for having the bravery to stand out and proud. However, this is not just about history – it is about the here and now. Whilst we have many rights in the UK (that have been fought for) the oppression of LGBT people globally is horrific, with death a constant threat or reality. At the time of writing we have a new President in the White House and, on the day of his inauguration, reference to LGBT rights was removed, along with other parts of the Obama legacy, from the White House website. A sign of things to come or mere online housekeeping? Only time will tell.

LGBT History Month is a time to celebrate our heroes and our successes but also to recognise that hard won rights are easily lost. A fantastic set of events that remind us of our history yet it comes with a warning note that we must learn from history. This is no time for complacency – to avoid repeating history we need to continue our active support for LGBT+ rights everywhere – until LGBT+ oppression is history.

Trans Policy Review

York St John University is updating its trans policy and guidance, and has set up a Trans Policy Review task and finish group. The group would like to hear about any individual experiences and suggestions on how things could be done differently, and better; receive questions about your work relating to trans equality, or what issues you think may arise. Find out more on Moodle where you can also leave comments. For more information, or if you do not have access to Moodle, please contact Marije Davidson, Equality and Diversity Adviser, E: m.davidson@yorksj.ac.uk (email or Skype Messenger).

Event: Help us be a Trans Inclusive Employer

Thursday 9 February, 9am-10.30am, Holgate 013 (Glass Box)

For YSJU staff and members of the local community
At York St John we are reviewing our policies and practices with the aim of being a trans-inclusive employer. The LGBT Staff Network would like to hear from trans people (including those who identify as non-binary, genderqueer, etc) about employment issues, including support and trans-visibility. We will write up your comments anonymously and feed these into the Trans Policy Review. Please register here.
There will be a separate event for students, please email Marije Davidson for more information.

Marije Davidson

I am Equality and Diversity Adviser at York St John. I support York St John University's work to be an inclusive and welcome place for students, staff and visitors with diverse identities and backgrounds.

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