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Forum News ISSUE 6 – February 2013

Chair’s Update by Seth Atkin Let’s Celebrate LGBT History Month Who we are  Association of Colleges  Association of Employment and Learning Providers  Association of Teachers and Lecturers  Equality Challenge Unit  Higher Education Funding Council for England  Learning and Skills Improvement Service  National Union of Students  Skills Funding Agency  UNISON  University and College Union


elcome to the new look Forum newsletter. We’re delighted to have a new issue for you to mark Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month and it’s a testament to Sue Saunders and her team at Schools OUT that so many educational institutions are also marking it. We’ll hear from her about how LGBT History Month got started. We are delighted to be reissuing our 12 Steps document, as part of our own celebrations of LGBT History Month. This year the Forum has also supported the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in holding an event entitled ‘It’s Not Just About Toilets’. There is also lots of news from our partners, including the NUS’ excellent Out in Sport research, news about LSIS/SFA Equality, Diversity and Inclusion projects around the country, the forthcoming AoC Equality Conference, as well as UNISON’s take on recent European Court of Human Rights rulings. 2013 sees the Forum celebrate six years since our first meeting in May 2007. Our aim was to work together to ensure both equality areas were promoted and resourced. It has been a very busy time with many changes and we are delighted to have amassed a range of resources and engaged with many organisations and individuals in the promotion of equality. We always want to hear your success stories, so please do let us know about anything you have done or are doing, to make a difference. How did you celebrate LGBT history month? Please visit our website: or contact me for further information about the Forum’s work.

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Forum News

Twelve Steps to Advancing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality Introduction The Forum co-ordinates activity aimed at advancing sexual orientation and gender identity equality throughout the post-school education sector. We share our expertise to produce high-quality, sector specific research and guidance, such as: Guidance on trans equality in post-school education, and Managing the interface: sexual orientation and faith. The Forum brings together representatives from funding bodies, trade unions, representative groups and other stakeholders. Why is action needed? In 2011, research into Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality in Adult Learning, carried out by the Skills Funding Agency and supported by the Forum, found that:  Almost one in three trans learners had experienced bullying or harassment in adult learning due to their gender identity.  Around one in six lesbian, gay and bisexual learners had experienced bullying and harassment in adult learning due to their sexual orientation.  Only around a third felt that equality policies translate into reality. In Higher Education, the Equality Challenge Unit found in 2009 that:  49.5% of lesbian, gay and bisexual students reported negative treatment from fellow students due to their sexual orientation.  39.3% of trans staff reported negative treatment from students due to their gender identity  31.7% of lesbian, gay and bisexual staff reported receiving homophobic / biphobic comments from work colleagues  28.5% of trans students reported negative treatment from tutors / lecturers due to their gender identity. Our vision The Forum’s vision is for a sector where:  All learners and staff (actual and potential) are treated with dignity and equal respect.  Everyone is enabled to achieve their full potential, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity  All organisations work to eliminate discrimination, harassment and bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.  All organisations work to advance sexual orientation and gender identity equality.

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The Forum recommends the following steps towards meeting this vision. You can take these steps alongside action for other protected characteristics, but sexual orientation and gender identity must be visible within whatever approach you take. 1. Publish objectives for sexual orientation and gender identity equality. as part of meeting the Public Sector Equality Duty requirements. 2. Commit publicly to tackling all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. 3. Take action to ensure all of the organisation’s stakeholders understand their rights and responsibilities in regard to sexual orientation and gender identity equality. 4. Take action against homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and harassment, reflecting them in policies and procedures. 5. Respond positively to needs and concerns raised in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity by students and staff. 6. Take action to increase the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans lives in education. Reflect diverse sexual orientations and gender identities within course content, language and visual communications, for example by celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans History Month in February. 7. Be clear about who is responsible for leading on sexual orientation and gender identity equality. Establish representation for sexual orientation and gender identity equality at all levels in the organisation including governance and leadership. 8. Ensure that staff and student inductions include relevant information about sexual orientation and gender identity equality. 9. Provide continuous professional development and training about sexual orientation and gender identity equality for all staff and learners. Include expected standards of behaviour and a summary of legislation. 10. Involve staff and students’ unions in the promotion of sexual orientation and gender identity equality. 11. Fund and develop equality groups for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans staff and learners. 12. Consider and give due regard to the impact of change and improvement programmes on equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans staff and learners.

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Forum News

Working with the Forum The Forum is keen to encourage and co-ordinate actions to advance sexual orientation and gender identity equality in the post-school education sectors. We encourage partnership working not only amongst Forum members but also with providers across the UK. Here is a selection of some of our current work. At Liverpool College, staff are piloting training for personal tutors and teacher training students on managing conversations commonly perceived to be challenging or controversial, such as the intersection between sexual orientation and religion or belief. This pilot project develops work done by the NUS (funded by LSIS 2011–2012) and builds on the joint work undertaken between the Forum and Faith and Belief in Further Education (FBFE). This began in 2008 and culminated in the publication of Managing the Interface in 2010, an invaluable piece of research and guidance. Developing an ongoing initiative started by LSIS and UCU, the Equality Team at Gloucestershire College has developed gender identity policy and guidance, launched for this year’s LGBT History Month 2013. Gloucestershire College engaged guidance input from specialists in gender identity equality at national and local level, as well as modelling good practice in producing informed policy and guidance along the lines of the Forum’s 12 steps advice.

Working with the Forum Linking with the same initiative as Gloucestershire College, the Diversity Advisor at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has, with support of the Forum, developed a discussion about gender identity equality entitled ‘It’s not just about toilets’. At this event students, equality leads, national and international activists around gender identity equality address important issues and experiences of trans people both within and beyond the learning and working environment. The Equality and Diversity Advisor at Gloucestershire College is a speaker at this event, and they form part of a team which will produce and deliver a similar event in the Midlands region again in partnership with the Forum. The Forum is working in a broad partnership within and beyond the post-school education sector to deliver a suite of LGBT history resources which will be launched at the pre LGBT history month launch in November 2013. Partners include the TUC and Schools Out/LGBT History Month. The online resources will be hosted by the LGBT History Month website. Staff at Exeter College engaged with the content development and are making this an opportunity to involved their students in the design and collation of online material for this project. The design element forms a core part of the art and design curriculum delivery making it a model of good equality practice.

If you have an idea for a project or want to have support in developing your work to advance sexual orientation and/or gender identity equality please do get in contact with us.

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Forum News

How Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students of all ages wish to feel they belong to the community of the class, school and neighbourhood. In the past we have been slow to produce books, posters or images that reflect the diversity of the population; so black, ethnic minority, disabled and LGBT children are often invisible. Boys and girls are often given very stereotypical roles. With the recent legislation and concern about community cohesion, some strides have been made. However there is still much to be done. Successive governments of whatever hue have not helped; Schools OUT has always argued that all educators and people who work in schools should have compulsory equality and diversity training. Following the Stephen Lawrence Report all members of the Criminal Justice System do receive such training, yet for teachers there is nothing. Sue Sanders of Schools OUT

Schools OUT, since its inception in 1974, has consistently been in the vanguard; campaigning and producing tools, resources and models to help staff in education make our educational institutions a safe space for LGBT people and enable them to be visible. In 2004 we started LGBT History Month. We received some seeding money from the DCSF as it was then called. We also knew that the Public Duty was being created requiring all public institutions to be proactive with all the protected strands, so it seemed that establishing a designated month would be a useful starting place. It certainly proved so. Local authorities, unions, museums, galleries, and libraries grabbed it and ran with the idea - creating an exciting, imaginative, informative and fun range of events, exhibitions, materials, quizzes and theatre. Up and down the country February has become a month where you will probably not be far from an event that celebrates the diversity and achievement of LGBT people. The website has a calendar so you can put your event on it and can search across the country to discover what is on. The calendar is now linked with the LGBT Voluntary Consortium and is run all year and used by other LGBT organisations and general institutions so it has become a national calendar to publicise LGBT events. See

History Month Got Started, by Sue Sanders We have produced a section for schools which provides ideas and lessons to enable teachers to celebrate the month. There is a regular bulletin that is sent out every month or so over the year updating people on important events. Our strapline ‘Claiming our history, celebrating our present, creating our future’, makes it clear what we are about and the website grows with information about our past years and the communities’ achievements and history. We have inspired many other websites, collections and archives. The British Museum now has an online Same Sex Desire and Gender Variance trail see http:// www.britishmuseum.og/explore/themes/samesex_desire_and_gender/introduction.aspx. Several organisations have now also got funding to develop LGBT archives, such as Birmingham, Nottingham, Burnley and the Jewish LGBT group. Having established a specific space in the diversity calendar for LGBT people and issues, our next job was to develop both a method and resources to enable educators to include LGBT people and issues across the curriculum and across the key stages linked to it throughout the year. We at Schools OUT are, in the main, teachers and youth workers, well aware of the dangers of tokenism and the lack of training, resources and models dealing with equalities. We have always striven to campaign to change that and demonstrate what good practice could look like. The Classroom website comprises 36 lessons that either usualise or actualise LGBT people and explain our method. We are keen to move on from the ‘gay lesson’. We wish to give teachers the tools and confidence to include LGBT people and issues easily, calmly on an everyday basis. We know that prejudice occurs when there is ignorance; we have in the past lied about sections of our population by failing to include them, thus making them invisible. The Classroom offers educators tools and a method so they can not only include LGBT people in their lessons irrespective of their subject, but can include all the protected characteristics in such a way. It is a simple way of thinking about how we use inclusive language and examples so we reflect the diversity of the population in our lessons. This article is written by Sue Saunders and reflects her own opinions, and not those of the Forum and its members.

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Forum News

NUS Reveals Experiences of Being ‘Out in Sport’ The National Union of Students (NUS) has published the findings of its research into the sporting experiences of LGBT students in further and higher education, Out in Sport. The report found that almost half of those at college and university who do not participate in any sport (46.8%) find the culture of sport to be alienating and 41.9% said they had a negative experience at school which has meant they don’t want to get involved. “Whilst many LGBT students find sports teams to be welcoming it is clear that many are put off by a fear of homophobia or negative past experiences which have created barriers to their involvement,” said Sky Yarlett, NUS LGBT Officer (Open Place). Backed by high-profile LGBT athletes Gareth Thomas and Steven Davies, the report calls on students’ unions and educational institutions to take a lead in ensuring that sports facilities, teams and staff are LGBT-friendly. “NUS’ Out in Sport project is truly ground breaking and I am delighted to support it. Attitudes have changed and the time is right for sport to start accepting openly gay people in the same way other areas of society have in recent years,” said Gareth Thomas. To download a copy of the report go to:

Useful links Out in UNISON newsletter: 20UNISON%20-%2048.pdf UNISON LGBT committee annual report: 202012%20annual%20report.pdf

LSIS and SFA Support EDI 4 Projects Huntingdonshire Regional College: To monitor, or not to? How do you create a culture of inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students? That’s the task Huntingdonshire Regional College has set itself, in trying to collect data over the past two years on LGBT learners. A daunting task indeed, considering how few learners choose to declare their sexual orientation/gender identity and those who do, often don’t feel comfortable about doing so. Now the College wants to establish a baseline to assess how well (or not) it integrates lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgender learners with plans to create a safe and open forum where sexual orientation and gender identity issues can be discussed. Doncaster, Rotherham and District Motor Trades, GTA Ltd: Ever wondered what can be achieved in a single hour of continuing professional development (CPD)? This project is updating the popular lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality awareness one-hour elearning CPD resource: ‘Project Empower’. Once updated it will be available to learning providers free of charge. Kingston College: Challenging occupational stereotypes How can you successfully challenge occupational gender stereotypes so that more men are attracted into traditionally female occupations? And how do you also signal that you want to be inclusive of people of all sexual orientations? Kingston College is working with local employers (such as British Airways, Monarch Airlines, Headquarters Salon and Severin Hubert) as diversity role models. The College aims to showcase positive role models and to recruit more men onto their courses, which can lead to sustainable employment opportunities in the economic growth areas of aviation cabin crew and hairdressing. Prospects Services Ltd, National Careers Advice: Driving Forward Inclusion It has long been clear that the careers provision in London needs to embed equality and diversity. So the aim of this project is to provide a comprehensive training pack for careers advisers and associated adviser guides. In addition, this process will enable equality, diversity and inclusion champions to be recruited within the service. For more on the current Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (round 4) projects and to read their summaries, see:

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Forum News

A joint press release from the second International Intersex Forum in partnership with ILGA and ILGA-Europe. The Second International Intersex Forum agreed to affirm the principles of the first International Intersex Forum and extended the demands aiming to end discrimination against intersex people and to ensure the right of bodily integrity and self-determination:

1. To put an end to mutilating and ‘normalising’ practices such as genital surgeries, psychological and other medical treatments, including infanticide and selective abortion (on the grounds of intersex). 2. To ensure that the personal, free, prior, and fully informed consent of the intersex individual is a compulsory requirement in all medical practices and protocols. 3. Creating and facilitating supportive, safe and celebratory environments for intersex people, their families and surroundings. 4. In view of ensuring the bodily integrity and health of the intersex child, psychosocial support and non-pathologising peer support be provided to parents and/or care providers and the child`s immediate family instead of surgical or other medical treatment unless such interventions are live-saving. 5. The provision of all human rights and citizenship rights to intersex people. 6. The provision of access to one`s own medical records and any documentation, and the affirmation of the intersex person`s right to truth. 7. The acknowledgement and redress of the suffering and injustice caused in the past.

In view of the above the Forum calls on: 1. The United Nations to take on board intersex rights in its human rights work. 2. Other regional and national human rights institutions to address the human rights of intersex people in their work and in turn call on their respective governments/ institutions to affirm them. 3. Human rights organisations and LGBTI specific organisations to give visibility and inclusion to intersex people and their human rights concerns. 4. Intersex people to link up to the intersex movement and help it become more visible. The Forum thanks the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe for its engagement with the Forum and calls on it to fulfil its intentions to address intersex rights in its work. Find the open letter to the UN Commissioner for Human Rights here. Finally the Forum calls on the members of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association currently gathered in Stockholm for the ILGA World Conference 2012 to support the creation of an Intersex Secretariat with the ILGA structure.

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UNISON’s Carola Towle reviews the latest European Court of Human Rights’ rulings

In January 2013, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) affirmed that preventing sexual orientation discrimination is an important and legitimate purpose that justifies restrictions on expressing religious belief. To put it simply – workers have the right to be free from discrimination because of their religion, belief or lack of belief. They are also entitled to express their religious belief. However, this does not mean they can use their belief to justify discriminating against others who the law also protects. In its much anticipated judgment in Eweida and Others v. United Kingdom, the Court ruled that the right to act in accordance with one’s religion may be limited in order to protect others from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Two of the four cases were from employees who refused to provide services to same-sex couples because of their Christian beliefs. The other two concerned wearing visible crosses at work. All these cases had already been through the UK court system. Lillian Ladele worked for the London Borough of Islington as a registrar. She refused to perform civil partnership ceremonies because she believed samesex unions were contrary to God’s will. She was disciplined and ultimately dismissed. The Court held that LB Islington’s decision not to make an exception for her religious beliefs was legitimate and proportionate. The Court ruled that Islington had not violated her right to be free from discrimination on the basis of religion, as she claimed. Gary McFarlane worked for Relate Federation, a private organisation providing sex therapy and relationship counselling. He objected to treating same-sex couples and was dismissed. The Court found that the right balance had been struck between McFarlane’s right to manifest his religious belief and “the employer’s interest in securing the rights of others.” There was no violation of his right to freedom of religion, either separately or in conjunction with the right to be free from discrimination. Although this goes much wider than matters relating to same-sex couples, the Court ruling is particularly timely, given progress on the introduction of same-sex marriage in Scotland and in England and Wales.

AoC Annual Equality and Diversity Conference Following the success of our previous annual equality and diversity conference, the AoC employment team in partnership with AoC Create will be hosting its fifth consecutive Equality and Diversity conference on 19th June 2013 in London. This event is designed to support Colleges with moving beyond legislative requirements and focussing on advancing equality and diversity in the workplace. This event will aim to support Colleges to encourage, celebrate and value the diversity of their workforce and enhance their commitment to the equality of treatment for all employees. The event is designed to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and expertise through main stage plenary sessions and thought provoking and informative breakout sessions with a range of equality and sector specific experts.

This conference offers the tools to stay up-to-date and at the forefront of good practice in equality. With a focus on sector-specific issues and opportunities to engage with colleagues and experts both within and outside of the FE sector, this is the essential event to inform your work in progressing equality and diversity in the College workplace and learning environment. The programme will be launched in April 2013. To book your place or for further information see:

Dates for the diary: UNISON LGBT branch officer training – London, 17 April UNISON bi members network meeting – London, morning of 25 July UNISON trans members network meeting – London, afternoon of 25 July Details for all of these from Or simply link to our calendar:

This newsletter was edited by Wanda Wyporska at ATL. The Forum takes no responsibility for the opinions expressed in this document and none of the content should be considered as legal advice. If you wish to get in touch with the Forum, please contact Seth Atkin If you have items to be considered for the website or newsletter, please contact Wanda Wyporska,

SGFORUM newsletter  

Newsleter of the UK forum for sexual orientation and gender identity equality in post-school education

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