Workplace Survey 2014/15

The University of Southampton is taking part in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 2015; a tool used to evaluate our initiatives to promote a better working environment for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees.

As part of this exercise, Stonewall would like to hear from our employees (including heterosexual colleagues) on the experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals in the workplace. The information you provide is entirely anonymous and will go to Stonewall's Workplace team, not to the University. Once the feedback is collected and analysed, only average scores will be shared with University of Southampton.

To participate you need the organisation’s three digit code. If you are already on the LGBT Network’s mailing list then this will be emailed to you. If you are not but would like to complete the survey, please email sotonLGBT@gmail.com or diversity@soton.ac.uk.

Once you have the code, please follow the link below. The deadline for responses is at 5pm on 15 November 2014.

We appreciate all responses; the more we get, the better the picture of how the University is supporting our LGBT staff and ensuring this is a safe, comfortable environment for everyone to work in.

www.stonewall.org.uk/wei2015/survey

For more information about Stonewall’s work and the Diversity Champions programme, please visit www.stonewall.org.uk/at_work

Thank you

Chas & Elwyn
27/06/2014


Theatre trip to London: Beautiful Thing

At the first meeting of the academic year, and number of members expressed interest in a theatre trip to London.

A new production of Beautiful Thing is opening in the West End from April 2013. A well-known film about two boys coming of age and coming out, the original play debuted in 1993.

If you are interested in attending, please contact the Network Chair. Further details will be announced nearer the time.

New academic year, new Chair

Following a call for volunteers in July to take on Chair from Laurence & Edgar, Alexander Melhuish (Diversity Projects Officer) has volunteered for 2012-13. The first event of the year is lunch at the Crown, 4th October, where we'll discuss plans for future events.

University of Southampton LGBT Network supports Out Sailing

The Out Sailing project

The Out Sailing project was inspired by a member of the Sailing & Cruising Association (S&CA) after looking at the 'It Gets Better' website www.itgetsbetter.org. So many young people live with homophobia at school, bullying or domestic violence and the It Gets Better project seeks to prevent suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth by having LGBT adults convey the message that teenagers' lives will improve.

The S&CA wanted to take some action - and initiated Out Sailing to help young LGBT people facing difficult situations. We aim to build confidence and provide new social and networking opportunities for vulnerable lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people through sailing.

Many of us find sailing a wonderful way of buildings self-confidence, learning new skills, enjoying being part of a team and simply having fun out on the water. Out Sailing will provide an enjoyable experience for 10-15 young people for a weekend of water-based activities at the UK Sailing Academy (UKSA) in Cowes. The weekend is being funded by voluntary donations from S&CA members and by other fundraising efforts. Find out more about the S&CA at www.gaysailing.org.uk

The Albert Kennedy Trust

Out Sailing decided to work with the Albert Kennedy Trust, which supports LGBT 16-25 year olds who would otherwise be homeless or living in a hostile environment. They will identify the young people who will most benefit from the Out Sailing project and will bring them to Cowes for their active weekend on the water. The Albert Kennedy Trust was set up in 1989 to address misunderstanding and mistreatment of LGBT young people in the UK where this results, or is likely to result, in homelessness. It's named after Albert Kennedy, a gay teenager, who fell to his death from a multi-storey car park in Manchester while absconding from local authority care and trying to escape hostility and violence.

The Albert Kennedy Trust helps to ensure that all LGBT young people are able to live in accepting, supportive and caring homes, by providing a range of services to meet their individual needs.

LGBT History Month 2012

LGBT History Month 2012

LGBT History Month 2012 is over! Our events were very successull so thanks to all those who took part!

You can find more about our 2012 events on the LGBT History Month page including a video of Angela Mason's talk.

Christmas gathering at the Nuffield

The LGBT Network would like to invite you to its Christmas gathering on Thursday 1 December at 5.30pm in Studio 2 at the Nuffield Theatre. Come and join us at the Nuffield for a first taste of Christmas! We will take this opportunity to share our progress over the las couple of months and discuss activities for the year ahead. A light buffet will be provided so do come along! We would love to see you there.

New academic year reception at the Nuffield

The LGBT Staff Network had its first get together of the year at the Nuffield Theatre. Thanks to everyone who joined us! It was a great evening! Edgar and Laurence, the new co-chairs, gave a brief overview of the year ahead and asked for volunteers for the Network committee.The first committee meeting will take place in November.If you want to join the committee, email us at SotonLGBT@gmail.com.

Policy on gender identity

The Diversity Team has invited Network members to comment on the University's policy on gender identity (currently titled 'Gender Dysphoria Policy'). We have circulated a copy of the current policy on the Network mailing list. If you would like to contribute some feedback to help the team amend the policy then please send your comments direct to Kamaljit Kerridge-Poonia (Diversity Manager) at k.kerridge-poonia@soton.ac.uk.

April update

Proposing new chairs

Madeline, the founding chair of the Network since it began in July 2010, is due to leave the University in July. To make the Network even more sustainable and keep continuity with the current team, we would like to propose two co-chairs to replace Madeline - Laurence (currently the Network's events officer) and Edgar. This will give the Network leadership a mix of genders and academic/non-academic roles. The Network is now inviting feedback on this proposal (please email SotonLGBT@gmail.com).

More ways to get involved

Now that the end of our first year as a Network is in sight, there are several things that need doing in order for us to keep moving forward. One of our meetings in May or June will address how we organise for the future - as a volunteer Network, we rely on our members to make things happen, and we know some things did not happen this year as fast as we might have liked. We need help throughout the year, so if you would like to get more involved (perhaps by taking on a single activity) we would be delighted to hear what you like doing and how you could help - just send us an email at SotonLGBT@gmail.com. If we're honest, it's actually quite good fun.

LGBT History Month

The University's first celebration of LGBT History Month would not have come about if not for the Network. Speakers from inside and outside the University visited us and we screened and discussed Fit, Stonewall's anti-homophobia resource for schools. We have archived a full list of events at the University and Southampton Solent.

IDAHo (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia), 6 May

We are thinking about IDAHo Day and what to do. Maybe getting a big speaker in to encourage people across the University to come along and listen to what they have to say. Your ideas? Let us know.

Diversity Team and Diversity Champions

During our first year, we have had a lot of contact with the Diversity team and much personal support from Alex in particular in his discretionary time. Thanks to both Alex and Kamaljit for doing what they can to support the Network. Although we are an independent staff Network (and there may be times when we decide to place some pressure upon the University) we have effective working relationships with the Diversity team; with Janice Rippon who chairs the University's Sexual Orientation Working Group; with Debra Humphris, who sponsors the Network at the most senior level; and more recently with Jeremy Howells (University Diversity Champion and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law). We met Jeremy recently when Stonewall came to present the results of the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index (WEI) and would like to welcome him to his role has as University Diversity Champion. With the new organisational structure bringing a new group of Deans and other individuals to the University Executive Group (UEG), we hope that Jeremy - working with his colleagues, with Diversity and with our Network - can really make a difference to the everyday lives of LGBT people at the University. Please note that Diversity Officers and Diversity Champions, and anyone else who cares to come, are always welcome to come to our meetings and events.

Stonewall Workplace Equality Index (WEI)

The Network was invited to Stonewall's meeting with the University to present the results of the Workplace Equality Index survey (the results will be published in a few weeks). Stonewall were surprised and pleased with some aspects of the survey, particularly the number of individual responses (65), a higher proportion than in some equivalent institutions (and private organisations of comparable size). This year's confidential Survey, asking what it is like for LGB people at the University of Southampton, will be available online again this May/June and we will send you the link so that you can respond. Let's aim for 100 responses in 2011!

Next meeting

We continue to have lunches at The Crown and to hold business meetings. Our next meeting is Tuesday 25 April, 5.30pm, Nuffield Theatre (Studio 2). Hope to see you there.

Stonewall Workplace Conference 2011

Madeline and Edgar recently attended the Stonewall Workplace Conference in London and reported back on what they heard from a wide range of leading public and private sector organisations. Many of the presentations can be downloaded from the Stonewall website.

23 September Business Meeting report

Membership

The Network now has more than 30 members and 18 have joined the private discussion group on Facebook. The meeting agreed to open Network membership to SUSU staff and to invite the President of the student LGBT society to join the Network's email list in order to improve co-ordination between the two groups.

Communications

LGBT Network posters have been visible on the Highfield campus since May, including a prime location near the SUSU shop, providing extra visibility for the Network. Some smaller posters are still on display in particular buildings but others have been removed because the date on the poster has passed, so we should consider producing new posters for longer-term display, particularly in the Staff Club and Schools' receptions.

Our new website went live in early September and its presence on Google has put at least one new member in touch with the Network. We have also promoted the network on SUSSED and the most recent announcement (covering the next monthly lunch and the Nuffield Theatre offer) was published on 28 Spetember.

Events

Monthly lunches and regular business meetings and discussions have been planned until the end of 2010. We are hoping to arrange a Christmas lunch on 7 December at 1 pm but will need to collect a £10 deposit per head in order to confirm the booking. If you would like to come to the Christmas lunch, please bring the deposit to the next business meeting on 21 October or make other arrangements with Madeline (Highfield) or Laurence (Avenue) by emailing SotonLGBT@gmail.com.

We also discussed further activities such as joining the student LGBT society's Thursday film screening or organising a Christmas disco for network members and their friends or partners, and we talked about how the Network could be involved in an LGBT History Month conference in February 2011. Dave Small from Stonewall is available to attend a Network event later in the year and Catherine will investigate the possibility of inviting a speaker from the Gender Identity Research and Education Society.

University liaison

The Network has contributed to the University's submission to the Stonewall Diversity Index and has passed on the results of our postcard priorities survey to the Head of Student Services, Janice Rippon, to assist in an Equality Impact Assessment. We are investigating the possibility of obtaining funding from the University's Student Centredness Fund for student-cented LGBT-related work, focusing on opportunities for improvement identified in the National Student Survey and Stonewall Index.

Discussion

How can we improve support for colleagues who are not out?

29 July Business Meeting report

We held a good second meeting of the LGBT Network with decisions taken and a wide-ranging discussion.

Action Group

We now have an Action Group! Laurence will take responsibility for co-ordinating and helping members to organise Events. Catherine will take responsibility for preparing and co-ordinating Communications. Madeline will be Chair. We will work together on the group's priorities and do our best, with your support, to grow and develop the LGBT Network.

Stonewall Staff Survey

We decided to use the very brief and anonymous Stonewall survey as a first step in consulting LGBT staff about their experiences at the University. Responses go direct to Stonewall, which produces the results, and the questions are straightforward – just what we believe the University needs at this stage. The survey is only until 10 September though, so we agreed to act fast and promote it as soon as possible (noting that many colleagues would be away until September. The message promoting the Survey was sent to the SUSSED team on 5 August.

Induction

We agreed that we want LGBT Network materials to be included in staff induction packs. Madeline to take up with Diversity and HR.

Discussion

We discussed a wide range of issues, accompanied by a couple of glasses of wine.

Postcard priorities questionnaire

During our business meeting on 29 July, we reviewed 22 completed postcard priorities questionnaires which had been distributed before and at our first network meeting on 9 July. Members who returned postcards perceived activities that promote participation and increase awareness and understanding as the most important focus for the Network. To download a breakdown of the results in PDF format, please click here.

Stonewall staff survey

Since joining the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme, the University has started to work directly with Stonewall on sexual orientation equality. Stonewall is keen to hear from the University’s lesbian, gay and bisexual staff on their experiences at the University and has invited us to participate in an online staff survey. The information that you provide will be anonymous and will go to Stonewall's Workplace Team, not to the University. Once the data is collected and analysed, only the University’s average scores will be shared with the University - individual responses will not be identifiable. The questionnaire contains an optional section asking about gender, gender identity, age, disability, ethnicity and religion/belief.

To take part in the survey, simply visit the questionnaire and enter the University of Southampton's unique ID code (712).

The LGBT Network has played a significant part in getting this going and in promoting the survey to University colleagues. We urge you to participate – it only takes a minute or so. Collecting sufficient responses will let us find out how our own workplace compares to other Diversity Champion organisations, including other universities.

University liaison

Since our first meeting on 9 July, the LGBT Network has been in touch with the University on a number of matters.

9 July Business Meeting report

We were delighted to welcome twenty-five people to the first meeting of the University's LGBT Network on Friday 9 July in the Nuffield cafe-bar. Some people were unable to attend the meeting - we welcome you too and hope to see you another time.

Debra Humphris welcomed everyone and said how pleased she was to see the Network start to take shape. Madeline Paterson facilitated the meeting and we held a broad-ranging discussion over lunch. Our discussion covered the background to the Network; the University's Sexual Orientation Working Group; University participation in the Stonewall Diversity Champion programme; some experiences of being LGBT and of LGBT matters at the University; LGBT Network priorities for Year 1; and how best to organise the LGBT Network so that it grows and sustains momentum. We briefly considered other types of activities the Network could engage with too, e.g. supporting other University staff, and career development (e.g. mentoring).

The rest of this email focuses on the decisions we made at our first meeting - and what we do next!

Initial priorities

We agreed three top priorities for our first year: Get organised; Raise visibility and awareness; and Hold events. We want to raise visibility and increase awareness of LGBT staff and issues, hold a wide range of events of appeal to LGBT colleagues, and encourage LGBT people and 'straight allies' to get involved.

Get organised

Raise visibility and awareness

Hold events

We intend to arrange events for LGBT staff - and to invite straight allies and students to participate in certain events if they choose to do so. Recognising that the LGBT Network is primarily for University staff, we need to make sure that all LGBT staff feel they can participate - by joining the confidential email list in the first instance and by participating in meetings and events if they choose to do so.

Please email SotonLGBT@gmail.com with any ideas that you have for events. Ideas suggested by people so far include the following.

Fill in the Network Priorities Postcard!

We distributed some postcards at our first meeting. They asked what we wanted to focus on in this, our first year. We have received 23 postcards to date. If you want to tell us what you want the LGBT Network to be doing, look at the back of the Network Priorities Postcard, then either: email the Priorities you choose to SotonLGBT@gmail.com or print it, tick your priorities on the second page and post it to the Diversity Team, HR, Building 86, University Road, Highfield, Southampton S017 1BJ. We’ll report back at the next meeting and in a future newsletter.

Win a T-Shirt!

And to have a chance of winning a Stonewall 'Some people are gay - get over it' T-shirt, join our email list by mailing SotonLGBT@gmail.com We will email the winner privately in August.

Organise our LGBT Network

We decided to invite people to take responsibility for certain activities on behalf of the LGBT Network. We intend to operate collectively, but this approach will share the load, should result in more events being organised and will help us to operate effectively (with some enjoyment along the way). We invite you to express your interest in taking on one or more of the roles below.

'Roles' will be a key item at our next meeting on 29 July. If you wish to put your name forward for a role, please email SotonLGBT@gmail.com, indicating the role/s in which you may be interested. If more than one member of staff is interested in a role, we will ask the group to make a decision at the next meeting after a brief discussion (and perhaps giving each person the opportunity to say a few words about their suitability for the role they wish to take on). We may find that a number of people are interested in one role, in which case it may be sensible for one person to take the lead, with others participating in decision-making and the work involved (sub-group). That could be a great result, especially for activities like 'Events' and 'Communications' that require a bit more time. So, how would you like to get involved? Go ahead and put your name forward - it can only be a bit of work and a lot of fun.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who attended our first meeting; to those who have been in touch separately; to Debra Humphris for funding membership of Stonewall (and our first meeting); to Patrick for providing a delightful venue; and to those who helped to set up the meeting/clear away at the end. We all look forward to seeing you on the 29 July or very soon.

You will be made very welcome at our meetings and events.