After co-chairing Swansea University’s LGBT+ Staff Network for 4 1/2 years, today I am saying goodbye as I prepare to leave the university to take up a new role in another organisation.
When I first became co-chair in 2014, the network was a small group of around 15 staff members, who held 1 event per year. Since then we’ve grown tremendously, and I’ve been proud to lead the network to the successful place where it stands today, supported by my co-chair Alys Einion, our Network committee, our senior champion Professor Martin Stringer, and our Allies across the university.
Here are some highlights from the Network’s last 4 years:
On a personal level, it’s meant so much to be able to use my experiences and knowledge as a queer woman to contribute to making the university a great place for LGBT+ people to work and study. For most of my university years as a student, I was in a very dark place, struggling with mental health issues and my queer identity – and this was only a few years ago. Had someone told me that 3 years later, I’d be leading an LGBT+ Network to become one of the most LGBT+ inclusive universities in the whole UK, I never would have believed it. I’m honoured to have contributed to this vital work, to watch the Network grow, and to see the increased prominence of LGBT+ equality across the university.Knowing that what we’ve helped establish could help even one person not have to struggle like I did makes any difficulties or hardship worthwhile and something I’ll always be exceptionally proud of.
I’ve made many friends through the Network, and most of my fondest memories of working at Swansea University are from the people I’ve met and the work I’ve done through the Network. I’m very sad to say goodbye, but at the same time I know it’ll be a good opportunity for someone else to step up and help the Network continue to evolve and achieve more great things.
I don’t doubt that that the Staff Network and the Allies Programme will continue to grow and develop in the future. Although I won’t be in the university, I will keep supporting and cheering from afar!
Thank you to everyone I’ve had the opportunity to work with over the years – it’s been amazing.
Alys Einion December 20th, 2018
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