College and university is a time of self-discovery and personal growth. It is also the time when many of us came out of the ‘closet’, and discovered who we really are. Unfortunately, LGBT students are frequently at risk of systematic and individual discrimination and harassment. For many students, joining the LGBT society at school is their first experience of being in a welcoming and accepting environment. Not to mention their first chance at becoming an activist, working towards changes that affect their lives and those of their peers.
Stonewall today launches Gay By Degree – the first ever guide which shows how gay-friendly every university in the UK is – www.gaybydegree.org.uk /www.gaybydegree.org.uk
MEGAN KEY - Public Sector worker Megan has been an exemplary role model within the National Probation Service, moving from Probation Officer to Equalities Manager in the Midlands division
College and university is a time of self-discovery and personal growth. It is also the time when many of us came out of the ‘closet’, and discovered who we really are. Unfortunately, LGBT students are frequently at risk of systematic and individual discrimination and harassment. For many students, joining the LGBT society at school is their first experience of being in a welcoming and accepting environment.
Not to mention their first chance at becoming an activist, working towards changes that affect their lives and those of their peers.
The National Union of Student’s LGBT Liberation Campaign fights for the rights of LGBT students. The campaign is the largest democratic LGBT organisation in Europe, representing further and higher education students from all across the UK. It campaigns on national and international levels for issues effecting LGBT students and supports individual student unions in their campaigning efforts.
Established in 1983, next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the group. The organisation is comprised of 2 elected national officers, 17 elected committee members and a steering committee. Each year a women’s place officer and an open place officer are elected, along-side committee members including representation of further education, women, disabled, black, trans, bisexual, international students and students from the Nations.
The LGBT liberation campaign has been pivotal in many changes to the political landscape and life of British people. Recent achievements include the lifting of the blood donation ban for gay people and the abolition of Section 28.
More recently, NUS LGBT launched No Place for Hate, a report summarising the findings of research conducted with over 9000 university students around their experience with hate crime in further and higher education.
Current campaigns include the Out in Sport and the Schools projects. The Out in Sport campaign aims to understand the sporting experiences of LGBT students in further and higher education and support unions and institutions in making sport more inclusive. The Student Project aims to train LGBT student groups in universities and colleges across the UK to go into their local secondary schools and run sessions on LGBT awareness.
Arguably, the most important event in the organisation’s year is the annual conference. The key purpose of the conference is to debate and pass the policy which forms the direction to be taken by the campaign in the coming year as well as elect the incoming officers and committee members. This year celebrates the 25th anniversary of the conference which will be held in Manchester on March 30th to April 1st.
Meet the Officers
Vicki Baars is the LGBT women's officer. She attended her first LGBT conference at Birmingham guild of Students in 2007, and hasn’t looked back since. “Being an elected officer at NUS is one of the best experiences I've ever had. From leading hundreds of students on demonstrations against fees and cuts in post-16 education, to having an influential voice around a table when it comes to setting the agenda on tackling LGBT phobia; this has been a once in a lifetime opportunity.” She says.
Alan Bailey is the LGBT officer open place. He began his journey 7 years ago at Salford University as a fresher. Since then he has seen the Kent version of Section 28 repealed, protection from discrimination in goods and services and now finally some ground being won on the ban on donating blood for men who sleep with men. He fondly speaks of his years in the student LGBT movement; “Looking back at all those changes I feel proud to know I was involved in student protests and campaigns which helped to make them changes happen.”
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