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    Pride Month 2023: Harper Learning and Teaching Forum discusses allyship

    28 June 2023

    While Pride month is important for LGBTQ+ awareness, it’s something we should not only celebrate during the month, but also put at the heart of our daily lives. 

    It’s certainly something which has been the focus of Learning and Teaching Forum – and we caught up with Jamie Reynolds, the Student Union's LGBTQ+ Representative, who spoke about "How to be an Ally" to staff in April. 

    Here’s what he had to say about his talk – and why he thinks allyship is important. 

     

    At Harper we have an ever-diversifying student body and so LGBTQ+ awareness is vital to ensure everyone at Harper feels safe and accepted. 

    Enrolment data for 2022/23 told us that 126 students at Harper were comfortable sharing that they're part of the LGBTQ+ community and 203 people preferred not to share their sexuality. We anticipate the number of students within the community is much higher than 126. 

    During the Student Voice Survey, a question regarding how safe students feel on campus saw responses within the LGBTQ+ Harper community being significantly lower. We're actively working in the Student Union to be more visible allies to the LGBTQ+ community by hosting relevant events on campus as well as trips off campus.  

    Supporting the LGBTQ+ community is so important because statistics regarding mental health within the community are shocking. Transgender youth are three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than their cisgender counterparts and 50 per cent of transgender youth have attempted suicide.  

    We want to ensure that Harper is a safe space for students to express themselves and so staff have been advised how they can better support the LGBTQ+ community at Harper through their teaching.  

    Staff have also been provided with LGBTQ+ Harper Pride badges which they can choose to wear as a subtle public display of support.  

    We're actively looking into how registers can display transgender student's chosen names to prevent outing them to the University community. The LGBTQ+ community will be mentioned during lectures that surround human biology and sex education. We've also discussed with staff the best way to appropriately tackle questions that may arise during these sessions, and how to look out for LGBTQ+ students and their welfare. 

    As a university, we are hoping to improve every academic year with the services we can provide - and to have exciting things in the works for the LGBTQ+ Harper community.  

    The response from staff who attended the session was overwhelmingly positive and we reached maximum capacity for this talk - meaning future staff talks will be conducted for those unable to attend. 

     

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