York St John is a Top 25 Stonewall Employer!

We are 24th on Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers this year – and in the Top 5 universities! Happy and proud is an understatement of the roller-coaster of emotions going through the LGBT+ community at YSJU! What an incredible achievement!

Of course, this would have been impossible without the dedication and hard work of the LGBT+ staff network. Jo Thompson, the Head of Human Resources, and a woman extraordinaire said: “’I’m incredibly proud that the work we have done at the university has been recognised by Stonewall, in particular in relation to Trans staff and students. We’re keen to do more of the same over the coming year and to continue to work with all our employees in ensuring York St John is a great place to work and study!’

Fiona Thompson, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching and a true inspiration, added: “Rising to 24th in the Stonewall Top 100 employers is a moment of celebration and reflection. Celebration because it is a recognition of the terrific work undertaken by a range of dedicated colleagues with a focus on ensuring LGBT+ staff and students know that we are a good, supportive, and enabling place to work and study. Reflection, because there is so much more we want to and need to do to ensure that all feel they have a place with us as an inclusive institution committed to diversity and advancing social justice. I am extremely proud of our achievement, we punch above our weight, and I am very grateful to those who made this happen – and it’s a great opportunity for a party too!

It is such an important time of the year for recognition of inclusiveness and dedication. YSJU’s own Equality and Diversity Adviser – the most remarkable Marije Davidson, explained: “The ranking recognises the contribution by colleagues and students to becoming an LGBT+ inclusive organisation. For example, I am delighted with the level of support and interest for the Trans Inclusive Framework from across the University. There is always more to be done and we need to remain mindful of hetero- and cisgender- normative behaviour. I believe that as we are becoming more confident as an LGBT+ inclusive organisation, we will attract students and employees who share our ethos and help us grow in strength”.

The Chair of the LGBT network, Phill Gray, the Deputy Director of Student Recruitment and Conversion, and happens to be a guiding light for most of us, summarised the emotions and experiences perfectly: “I’m proud of the team effort that went into the submission for Stonewall. To be recognised as a Top 100 employer, especially against the increasing number of participating institutions, and particularly being the size that we are, is amazing! We were commended for not just staying in the Top 100 but for making an incredible leap from 89th in 2017 to 24th in 2018.  It takes a tremendous effort for this to happen! Stonewall were very impressed with our work with Trans staff and students.  It’s incredible where we are this year, it really is! However, as Ruth Hunt emphasised in her address to the group last night, we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. The fight continues, especially as a big part of the world looks to diminish the rights of the LGBT community. As a beacon of learning we should strive to continue to be a symbol of hope for our staff, students and our communities.”

Onwards and upwards YSJU! With so much planned for this year, could we climb even higher in 2019? With your help we could so please get in touch via LGBTstaff@yorksj.ac.uk  if you want to be part of our success.


The official press release can be found here.

Read Marije’s blog ” Traveling to trans inclusivity” on the ECU website.

Silviya Lewin

I work in international student recruitment and over the few years at York St John University, I have undertaken various roles with international focus. I have always been keen on being involved with the wellbeing of students in general, but particularly international students, as in terms of cultural transition, they have so much to overcome. I was involved with Equality and Diversity at York St John Students’ Union during my undergraduate studies, and this interest has transferred to my work, as I am now one of the University’s Equality Champions. LGBT+ topics and the community are very close to my heart. I am a proud Stonewall Ally and feel very passionate about supporting my LGBT+ colleagues and friends, as well as the wider LGBT+ community.

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