Sussex marks LGBT History Month on and off campus
During February, events will be taking place both on and off campus to mark UK LGBT History Month 2020.
An annual event since 2005, the History Month provides us with an opportunity to think about the lives, experiences and issues faced by LGBT+ people in the past and present. This year’s theme is Poetry, Prose and Plays.
Throughout the month we will be flying the rainbow flag over Sussex House.
The Students’ Union are organising a programme of events including social meet-ups, quizzes and film screenings.
There’s also a social for members of the University’s LGBT+ Staff Network.
All members of the LGBT+ Staff Network and the student LGBTQ+ Society can see a performance for free: Emma Frankland’s piece Hearty, a response to her gender transition and the politics surrounding trans identity, is playing at the Attenborough for the Creative Arts (ACCA) on campus.
New Queers on the Block, a scheme supporting the development of LGBTQ+ artists and audiences across the UK, has commissioned a number of events that will be performed at ACCA in February.
The Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research at Sussex will host a panel presentation and discussion “with a view to identifying a change agenda for universities and the University and College Union (UCU)”.
Other events include a screening of ‘Britain on Film: LGBT Britain’ at The Keep. This moving collection of films dating from 1909-1994 highlights some of the earliest representations of LGBT people on screen, collective public activism and the fight for equal rights as well as personal experiences. On the day of the screening a selection of relevant original material from The Keep’s archives will be on display from 1pm.
LGBT History Month allows us to think about our commitment to LGBT+ equality and inclusivity on campus.
In 2018 the University signed up to become a Stonewall Diversity Champion, affirming our commitment to create an inclusive and accepting campus environment for all students, staff and visitors.
We made our first institutional submission to Stonewall’s UK Workplace Equality Index last summer as part of our ambition to be ranked in the Top 100 Employers by 2025.
For our first application, our rank is 407 out of the 503 employers who took part. This year saw a significant increase in the number of organisations making submissions to the index, so securing a ranking in the top 100 is going to be difficult to achieve.
While the rank may seem quite low, it is just the start of an ongoing process. This month we will receive detailed feedback about our submission, which will help us understand how we can improve and where we need to focus our efforts.
We set the target of 2025 to achieve a top-100 ranking because the index covers all aspects of the University as an employer. The application process requires employers to demonstrate their work in ten key areas of employment policy and practice alongside a survey of employees.
Moving forward, we will be using the feedback from Stonewall and working with the LGBT+ Staff Network to develop an institutional action plan so that we deliver sustainable improvements that will help us to improve our ranking and achieve a top-100 rating.