Today I had the great pleasure of staffing an information stall on Singleton campus, raising awareness of LGBT History month and the activities we have planned here at the network to mark this month and celebrate diversity. This was a great opportunity for me to go out and ‘Bang my Rainbow Drum’ as I found myself describing it to a passing colleague. Ably assisted by another network member, we waved rainbow flags and shared information with a wide range of people. Victim support had also left some information with us on reporting Hate Crime. This was a sobering reminder of the current social and political climate and I was saddened by the number of people who immediately took that information and commented on how relevant it was for them, their work or their clients. It reminded me how important it is to keep doing the work that we do, proudly and publicly.
I was already fired up from having attended the Stonewall Top 100 Employers Awards in London the previous evening, delighted to hear Swansea University’s name read aloud as one of their top 11 employers for trans inclusion, and to have climbed up to 29th in their list of Top 100. Wales gave a great showing and dominated the ratings, with the National Assembly for Wales being the Top Employer out of the top 100. Despite an interminable late night train ride and only a few hours sleep, I still felt elated to be out and about, visible and doing my bit to raise the profile of LGBT+ equality here at Swansea university today.
What made it most worthwhile was the response of the people we spoke to. I was able to make contact with students who had experienced homophobia and discrimination, students who were looking for support, staff who were looking to support us, people who wanted to learn more, and people who were really interested in our events. I was particularly enthusiastic about our upcoming Storytelling Evening, with live music, comedy, poetry and an open mic. We rarely arrange something so eclectic and fun, and it was a real pleasure to invite people along.
Banging my rainbow drum – it seems like a potential for a lot of noise, perhaps driving people away. I prefer to see it as a call – a call to all who simply want to work and study in a place that is making equality a reality. My fatigue melted away as I shared rainbow stickers with passers-by and reminded everyone that here at the network we are a source of information, support and signposting for staff AND students. I had so many positive, warm responses and felt sad to take the stall down – still talking to people – because it was clear to me that simply being visible, being present, banging that drum for just an hour, has made some kind of difference to some people.
To reiterate, this month we are hosting some events which aim to celebrate the lives and histories of LGBT+ people, including those in the public eye and those whose stories may be less well known. A link to our events is below – come along, join in and we look forward to seeing you there.
Alys Einion February 1st, 2018
Posted In: Uncategorized
© Swansea University
Hosted by Information Services and Systems, Swansea University