The University’s LGBTQ+ and allies community is comprised of two groups, who work closely together to support and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. The community serves as a space for sharing good practice and to drive forward University-wide initiatives that ensure our LGBTQ+ community are listened to and supported.
The work of the LGBTQ+ and allies community are also supported by the Essex LGBTQ+ Alliance, a network of Essex-based organisations sharing resources and best practice across the private, public and third sectors for the benefit of everyone in the workplace.
The University’s support for LGBTQ+ staff has been recognised through the Guardian University Awards which reward pioneering work in higher education. In 2015 we won the ‘Advancing Staff Equality’ category for the role we played in setting up the Essex LGBT Alliance and in 2019 we were runners-up in the same category for our work towards embedding a layer of LGBTQ+ inclusivity into everything we do.
We were also a Stonewall Top 100 Employer in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
At the University of Essex, we outline how we ensure equality and inclusion for all staff and students, including the LGBTQ+ community. We have also implemented a zero tolerance approach to harassment and bullying.
We encourage those who have been subjected to or witnessed harassment and/or bullying to report the incident and seek guidance from our Report and Support Service. Our University is a Hate Crime Reporting Centre, and has an active Harassment Support Network. Our Bystander Intervention Training also equips and empowers our staff and students to confidently and safely intervene when situations of harassment, bullying and hate crime arise.
We want to ensure that staff and students feel supported by the University. Find out more about our diversity and inclusion policies, including our trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming and intersex staff guidance.
Within each academic department, an academic is assigned the role of Inclusivity Champion, with a specific focus on supporting the inclusion and wellbeing of their students.
As part of the University’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion within and beyond its community, individual members the University Steering Group (USG) act as champions in relation to the protected characteristics below.
At the University of Essex, we recognise that using gender-neutral language can have a positive impact on our staff and student community. We also understand the importance of using the correct pronouns for people and we actively encourage our staff to include their pronouns on their email signatures.
We understand that people are often 'scared of saying the wrong thing', so we have also created a LGBTQ+ glossary, detailing a variety of terms and definitions for staff and students to refer to. We also have a guide to pronoun usage.
Remember: if you say the wrong thing by accident, just (briefly) apologise! Recognise that you have got it wrong, and move on. As long as you have good intentions, most people will appreciate you acknowledging your mistake and help you get it right.
Validium Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) has advisers that offer specialist advice on LGBT issues (.pdf, Essex users only). Validium helps people from all communities, including young people exploring their feelings about their sexuality, through to managers anxious about hate crime, harassment and bullying within their department, to employees returning to work following gender affirmation surgery.
MindLine Trans+ offers emotional support to people who are trans+, a gender, gender fluid and non-binary and anyone wanting to talk about their gender identity. The helpline is also there to offer support and information to family and friends.
We have published the results of the Reindorf Review that was commissioned to investigate the cancellation of two events. Take a look at the Vice-Chancellor's blog as he considers some of the difficult issues raised and as well as our commitment to our trans and non-binary students and staff.
We know that some of our trans and non-binary community and their allies have been affected by the issues raised in the review. Sara Limerick outlines the support available to our staff.