On Tuesday 17 May there will be several events being run across the University in celebration of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBiT):
The rainbow flag will be raised on the flagpole outside Whiteknights House (facing the Library) at 13.00. Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell will lead proceedings, with representatives from UEB, RUSU and our network in attendance. There will also be a speech by a representative of the Beaumont Trust, a charity who raise awareness of gender dysphoria and transgender issues.
This will be followed by a workshop on Gender Identity led by members of the student LGBT+ society from 14.00-15.00 in the Thet Win Aung Boardroom, RUSU.
Finally, a panel discussion will take place 19.30-21.00 in the Van Emden lecture theatre in HUMSS on the role of allies in the LGBT movement.
IDAHOBiT around the world
IDAHOBiT is celebrated annually on 17th May, the date when the World Health Organisation declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1990. It is now celebrated in over 130 countries and you can find out much more about the day on their website.
Every year there is a theme and this year it is Mental Health and Wellbeing. This derives from the historical definition of homosexuality as a psychological disorder, and focuses on the continued association of Trans identities with mental disorders and the higher rates of mental health problems among LGBT+ people. If you are affected by these issues there is support available from the LGBT switchboard and the Elefriends online community run by the charity Mind.
On 8th May University staff member and AVEN (Asexual Visibility and Education Network) member, Mark McClemont was interviewed on BBC Three Counties Radio about asexuality.
Someone who is asexual does not experience sexual attraction but may experience romantic attractions and may be straight, gay, bi, or pan in these attractions. There is a lot more information on the AVEN website including some definitions of how people identify and types of attraction.
You can listen to Mark’s interview in full on the BBC iPlayer (it starts at 06:45).
We are very pleased to say that the University of Reading now has gender-neutral toilets open to staff and students. Whilst it may not be the most glamorous initiative they are an important step in making our working environment more inclusive.
The toilets can be found in the HUMSS building, in the Modern Languages and European Studies area on the 2nd floor. If you are not a HUMSS native then you might like to watch this video to decrease your chances of getting lost!
Portrait of Lord Wolfenden
In 2013 the Vice Chancellor, Sir David Bell, wrote an article for Pink News about another University of Reading Vice-Chancellor: Lord Wolfenden. As well as being the University of Reading’s Vice-Chancellor between 1950 and 1964, Lord Wolfenden also chaired a Home Office committee whose report paved the way for the legalisation of homosexuality.
The committee spent 3 years hearing evidence before finally concluding that homosexuality was a matter of private morality and so should not be a criminal offence. This generated considerable controversy in the press and much public discussion, with the report selling 15,000 copies in the first three months after publication. Although the government avoided this political problem and waited for 10 years before legalising homosexual acts for those aged 21 or over, Lord Wolfenden’s report was key in instigating this change.
Read Sir David’s article in full on Pink News.
Welcome to the official blog for the University of Reading network group LGBT Plus! We are an inclusive group for staff and postgraduate (research) students at the University who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Asexual, etc. and their allies!
We have a support and representative function. We provide networking opportunities, liaise with the Deans of Diversity and Inclusion about LGBT+ matters at the University and generally try and make Reading a more inclusive environment for its LGBT+ members.
We plan on using this blog to give out news updates on our activities, address any LGBT+ related topics and provide a forum for raising LGBT+ visibility at the University! If you’ve any content suggestions or questions then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter or Facebook.