LSE is a proud member of leading charity Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme and the School has just launched its LGBT+ Role Models and Allies Directory. Tamara Ansons – Behavioural Lab Projects Administrator at the Department of Management and a member of Spectrum (LSE’s LGBT+ staff network) – discusses the importance of the directory as a source of visible evidence of ‘out’ LGBT+ individuals and Allies at LSE and as a key resource for students and staff who wish to contact LGBT+ individuals.
Back at the start of Michaelmas Term (MT), I attended the Stonewall LGBT+ Role Models Programme that was offered at LSE in conjunction with Stonewall’s Allies Programme. I was admittedly quite sceptical about the programme at first, because my own experience as a member of the LGBT+ community feels quite ordinary and ‘Role Model’ sounds like an epithet that should be reserved for more extraordinary individuals that live aspirational lives. However, through the work we did on the programme, I came to realise that being an LGBT+ Role Model is really just about being a visible member of this community and a champion for LGBT+ issues. Through the experiences that were shared and discussed during the training programme, it is now clear that Role Models come in many forms and are best described as ordinary individuals that display small but continuous gestures of support and strength of conviction when faced with LGBT+-related challenges.
Although the programme provided me with a useful way to think about my own experiences, it has also motivated me to be more visible and vocal about my own identity, as well as my support for LGBT+ issues in general.
With this encouragement, I became involved in the creation of LSE’s LGBT+ Role Models and Allies Directory, which has been created along with support from the EDI Taskforce. The purpose of these directories is twofold: on the one hand, they provide visible evidence of ‘out’ LGBT+ individuals and Allies here at LSE, who can provide positive models for others who believe that LGBT+ issues are important and are looking for ways to get involved. On the other hand, they provide students and staff with a list of LGBT+-friendly individuals that can be contacted for support. The Directories are evolving and developing, so if you want to get involved as either a LGBT+ Role Model or Ally, please contact Joy Whyte.
Beyond getting involved with these Directories, there are other ways to show your support for LGBT+ issues!
The Library’s ‘Glad to be Gay: The struggle for legal equality’ exhibition provides an excellent account of the activism and strides made by the LGBT+ community to achieve greater legal equality. Although these legal battles have resulted in many positive outcomes, there is still work to do to ensure our workplace is a truly inclusive environment for our LGBT+ staff and students. However, it is worth noting that LSE has made great progress in this work, having recently raised its ranking in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index by an impressive 52 places this past year, which is a testament to all the hard work being done by LSE Spectrum, the EDI Taskforce, the LSESU’s LGBT+ Officer, and Pride: LSESU Gender and Sexual Diversity Alliance.
If you are interested in other events that allow you to show your support for and learn about LGBT+ issues, there are numerous activities running until Tuesday 14 March. If you’d like to learn more or get involved, please visit lse.ac.uk/spectrum for a full list of events and news about LGBT+ History Month at LSE.