Reading Pride 2017

Saturday 2nd September, the day of Reading Pride, dawned bright and clear and as we arrived at Kings Meadow to unload there was alread

UoR volunteers at our stall at Reading Pride

y a lovely cheery atmosphere developing. We had boxes of postcards, rainbow flags, stickers, lanyards, mini prospectuses and events guides plus our banners and the wonderful picture boards developed to support events to mark the Wolfenden anniversary. Plus a box of red t-shirts for volunteers to wear!


We were quickly set up and most of us were able to carry or follow the large RUSU University of Reading rainbow banner along the march from the station, through town and back to Kings Meadow. We had taken bags of lanyards, stickers and small rainbow flags to give out to people as we passed and it was wonderful to hear that the march was estimated to be about 1,500 participants compared to 800 last year.




Reading Pride 2017 march

Once back in Kings Meadow, we were very active as a team ensuring that virtually every single person at the event had either a UoR rainbow flag, sticker or lanyard!

Our popular flags!

We gave out mini prospectuses to the many groups of young people who were in secondary school or college groups. We were visited by people who were keen to tell us that they attended Reading University and also some very excited freshers who were thrilled to see that we had such a large stall with so many enthusiastic and well informed volunteers. It was also lovely to see the smiling familiar faces of current staff and current students and others from the growing Thames Valley LGBT+ network.

The theme of Reading Pride this year was ‘Love Unites’; we were placed very close to the main stage and heard speeches from representatives of the transgender, asexual, Muslim and leather communities as well as the organising committee emphasising how love unites and it is important to show love and kindness in the face of the bigotry in wider society in current times. The market place had a wide variety of stalls representing local charities, community organisations, faith groups, sports clubs, political parties and a wide range of support groups. There was also a good range of good stalls that were familiar from our own International Food Thursdays and vendors of bright festival wear!

The LGBT+ staff network co-chairs, Dr Calvin Smith and Dr Deb Heighes would like to thank the large group of volunteers from the LGBT+ staff and Allies network and the RUSU Diversity officer, Leen Alnajjab, and Welfare officer, Rose Lennon. Tips for next year? Don’t forget string, gaffer tape and scissors are essential; book the sunshine to ensure a great turnout; and take an unofficial mascot! Having Eddie the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel made the volunteers very happy and encouraged more people to stop and talk.

Our popular mascot Eddie



Reporting harassment (including homophobia, biphobia and transphobia)

I wanted to make everyone aware of two important support networks that have been in place at the University for a number of years. The Harassment Adviser and HARC Adviser networks are members of staff who have volunteered to undertake these important roles. They have received specific training and provide informal and confidential support. They will listen to an individual’s concerns and may encourage them to seek more specialist advice and support from others.

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Harassment Adviser network

Harassment Advisers provide support to staff and students at the University who believe they are experiencing harassment and bullying in any form, for example due to their sexual orientation or gender identification.

Essentially, they act as a neutral and impartial Adviser and support individuals through the informal resolution of their difficulties. They treat allegations seriously and will consider the perception of the individual raising the allegations.

Further details can be found by clicking here including the Harassment Adviser profiles and contact list.


Health, Advocacy, Respect and Care (HARC) Adviser network

HARC Advisers provide more general support to staff at the University who feel they need someone to talk to but are unable to approach a colleague or line manager. For example, this could be someone who is feeling stressed or anxious, or someone who is new to the University and is unsure where to turn to for advice.

Further details can be found by clicking here including the HARC Adviser profiles and contact list.

If you would like to find out more about these networks please contact Alan Twyford, HR Partner on x8755.

Asexuality radio interview with University staff member

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).

New gender-neutral toilets!

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!

From the past pinkly: Sir David Bell writing in the Pink News.

Portrait of Lord Wolfenden

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.

LGBT Plus at Reading!

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, or via Twitter or Facebook.