transgender flag

Kent’s response to EHRC statements on upcoming LGBTQ+ legislation

The University of Kent is committed to fostering a positive working environment where all staff are treated fairly, with dignity, courtesy, respect and consideration. We recognise that the response of some institutions, both international and national, regarding plans to legislate for a ban on conversion therapy in England and Wales, and Gender Recognition Act reform in Scotland, are placing our trans colleagues at an increased risk of harm.

We do not – and will not – tolerate discrimination and harassment within our institution. We have been pleased to see growing awareness of the diversity of the trans and non-binary community and increased understanding of the breadth of gender identities. Unfortunately, this visibility has come with a rise in hostility towards some members of the trans community.

We encourage all staff and students to actively engage in increasing their understanding of the issues facing the trans and non-binary communities and to take action to create a more inclusive environment. To understand more around the specific current concerns, theStonewall response to EHRC statements on upcoming LGBTQ+ legislationandMermaids’ response to the EHRChighlight the impact that this is having on the trans and non-binary communities.

This is situated in an ongoing context, whereTrans and non-binary people face discrimination and harassment:

  • At work, including from colleagues, managers, customers and clients;
  • In public, including verbal and physical abuse;
  • Online, particularly on social media where targeted harassment, bullying and abusive comments and even attempts to find and share trans people’s previous names and current address are increasingly common;
  • Trans people also face barriers to accessing healthcare, such as long waiting lists for treatment.

As an institution, we are committed to speaking out when we witness or hear transphobia, challenging decisions that exclude trans people, including ways of thinking that perpetuate a rigid gender binary, learning how best we can support our trans colleagues at all times, and educating ourselves and those around us.

For members of our trans, non-binary and intersex communities

Network support

Join our communities – theStaff LGBTQ+ Network, Kent Union LGBTQ+ Network and Trans, non-binary, intersex and questioning peer support group are here to support you.

Gender neutral toilets

We recognise that this is a particular concern for trans and non-binary members of our community, and we have maps of both our Canterbury and Medway campuses highlighting the location of gender neutral toilets.

Harassment reporting

We fully support and encourage all ourstudentsandstaffto report incidents ofharassmentand discrimination.

Rainbow Lanyard

TheUniversity of Kent Rainbow Lanyardcelebrates and promotes our work around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Wearing one shows your commitment to providing a safe and comfortable environment for all of our LGBTQ+ staff and students. It also shows LGBTQ+ people that they can ‘bring their whole selves’ to you without fear of judgement or an unsupportive reaction.

For allies

We recognise that it can be challenging to know how to support other members of our community facing discrimination and harassment or speaking out when we witness or hear transphobia. Below are some actions that you can take.

Update your email signatures

Add yourpronouns to your email signature, (Pronouns means how you identify — he/him, she/her, they/them, for instance — and how you’d like other people to refer to you. This is a great, inclusive practice for everyone, even or especially if you’re cisgender – if you’re not sure what this means, Stonewall have put together a helpful glossary).

Active Bystander training

‘Active Bystander’ is an innovative and award-winning training session which gives staff and students the skills to challenge unacceptable behaviours, including those which may have become normalised over time.

We have three sessions planned which are running in April, June and August all bookable via Staff Connect. Students have an online Bystander module that is part of the Expect Respect module on the student Moodle site.

Learn more about the challenges members of our community face

Online training in Staff Training Moodle on Transgender Awareness and LGBTQI – these are easily accessible, available at any time and give an introduction to the challenges members of our community face. We recommend that all staff engage with these training opportunities.

Access resources

Using the resources available removes the burden of questions, explanations and discussions from members of the trans community – the links below are an excellent starting point for people wanting to understand more.

OurLGBTQ+ networkhave a fantastic blog that covers ongoing news, events and challenges – stay up to date with the issues affecting the community.

Mermaids UK and Stonewall have easily accessible resources and Q&A that cover many of the relevant issues.

Rainbow Lanyard

TheUniversity of Kent Rainbow Lanyardcelebrates and promotes our work around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Wearing one shows your commitment to providing a safe and comfortable environment for all of our LGBTQ+ staff and students. It also shows LGBTQ+ people that they can ‘bring their whole selves’ to you without fear of judgement or an unsupportive reaction.