1. What is the LGBT+ Staff Network and how was it formed?
The LGBT+ Staff Network is a network of, by and for Royal Holloway staff members and PhD students who identify as LGBTQI+, and their allies. It was formed out of an awareness that LGBT+ staff need representation and a space in which to organise and to express their identities, and that the university as a whole needs to continuously improve representation and accountability around LGBT+ issues.
2. What are the long and short term initiatives of the Network?
Our long-term initiatives are to make Royal Holloway an even better place for LGBT+ staff to work; to raise awareness of LGBT+ history and contemporary issues among staff and students; to provide information about, and forums for discussing, work-related issues which affect LGBT+ staff; and to be a social space for LGBT+ staff and their allies.
Our short-term initiatives are to sponsor two LGBT+ themed lectures a year; to improve our rankings in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index year on year; to mark important dates relevant to LGBT+ staff; to provide a forum for consultation on staff policies; to participate in staff inductions; and to continue to provide a Safe Zone training programme for the university.
3. What sort of events have you held in the past and plan to hold this year?
We hold regular events, for example, our monthly Rainbow Lunches on the first Tuesday of the month; a start of the academic year social gathering; and a LGBT+ History month lecture, among others. We will continue to hold all these this year, with the social event, a pub gathering, happening at The Pack Horse on Thursday 21 October from 5.30pm. In the past, we have also organised events with the SU such as a LGBT+ careers round table; joined events organised with other minority networks at RHUL; had Pride picnics, and joined London’s Pride march. Every year for Transgender Day of Remembrance (20 November) the Trans flag is raised at Founders. This year this will happen on Friday 19-Saturday 20 November, in memory of those who have fallen victim to transphobic violence.
4. How can colleagues engage with the Network?
There is no formal procedure. We welcome all LGBTQ+ members of staff and PhD students, as well as allies to join us. All colleagues need to do is to email us (lgbt.staffrhul.ac.uk) and they will be joined to our mailing list and start receiving information about our upcoming events and other initiatives. We are also looking for enthusiastic colleagues to join the network committee and be more closely involved, so if that’s you, do get in touch!