Celebrating the LGBTUA+ community at the University of Warwick
In 2016, I asked to meet with the Registrar and Chief Operating Officer of the University of Warwick, Ken Sloan. At the time, I had recently attended the Stonewall Young Leaders Programme, a course exploring the importance of sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, and how positive role models can have a big impact.
We spoke at length about what it truly meant to be yourself at work; of the many questions raised, one that stuck in my mind was “is it a conscious decision that everyone makes?”. Can the University, as an employer and education provider, assume that every person that works, lives and socialises on this campus feels comfortable enough to be open with those around them? This wasn’t confined to sexuality or gender identity - this question applied equally, to everyone.
For some, there was a decision to make. Do I tell my colleagues that I’m gay? Is this a safe space for me to be myself? Will others respect my intersecting religious identity and sexual orientation?
It was at this point that I pitched an idea to Ken. I wanted Warwick to proudly, and loudly, declare that the freedom to be yourself mattered. By sharing the stories of some of the inspirational LGBTUA+ individuals of Warwick, we would show that diversity makes us stronger. From senior management, to professors, to students, you can find examples of strong role models here. They show that having the confidence to be yourself and being the very best at what you do matters.
I’m grateful that the University supported my initiative to share the stories of such a wonderful group, and I only regret not having had the chance to speak to a more diverse pool of people. With any luck, staff and students will see that inclusion and diversity matters to Warwick, and together we can support everyone in our community.
Read the guide at warwick.ac.uk/rolemodelsguide2016