Foreword from Gerard Jones, LGBTQ+ Equality Implementation Group (LEIG) Manager in UCL’s EDI teamPride is a time of reflection, celebration and conscious action. Looking back at the long history of LGBTQ+ rights, it’s worth noting that progress has never been easy, nor has it been won without hardship. It’s thanks to the hard work and campaigning of activists that so many LGBTQ+ people including myself can enjoy certain privileges today.
With that in mind, it’s crucial that all members of the LGBTQ+ community support and uplift one another. Recognising and celebrating our differences is vital to ensure that the most vulnerable members of our community feel safe and able to thrive as their authentic selves.
Since starting my role as the LGBTQ+ Equality Implementation Group (LEIG) Manager in November 2022, I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many fantastic people both within and outside of UCL who are passionate and professional in their approaches to effecting positive change. As a result of these meetings and much research, LEIG and I have developed a comprehensive set of actions to take the institution forward in terms of LGBTQ+ equality and we are very excited to share more details about this over the coming months.
As well as institutionally, so much fantastic equality work is happening locally. The Gender Expression Fund has been a vital lifeline for trans, nonbinary and gender nonconforming students, offering them financial assistance to buy gender-affirming products. The Students’ Union, namely Danielle Swanson, Seyi Osi, and Jayne Flowers have done amazing work managing this fund and deserve thorough commendation for this.
In addition, the LEIG Fund has been a great success, with so many brilliant LGBTQ+ initiatives being proposed by staff and students in the first round of applications this January. LEIG and I are currently reviewing our second round of applications and look forward to sharing details of further successful projects this June. In the meantime, please do visit one of the many events being run as part of the Blueprints of Hope exhibition. The exhibition itself is centred on LGBTQ+ spaces and history in London and will remain open in the Octagon until August for all of UCL and the public to enjoy.
I’d also like to thank everyone who has organised the events and activities listed below. To see so many creative and uplifting initiatives led by LGBTQ+ staff, students and their allies is testament to the strong queer community we have at UCL.
All LGBTQ+ staff and students have a place and a community to support them at UCL. To stay up-to-date with news, events, and to meet members of the LGBTQ+ community, feel free to join our staff network, Out@UCL , which is also open to allies. You can also view UCL’s other resources for LGBTQ+ staff, students and allies on the EDI webpage.
EventsWe’ll be updating this page with additional events as they are announced so please do check back to see what’s new! If you are hosting a UCL event for Pride Month that you’d like included in this article, please get in touch with the UCL Communications team.
Until 18 August 2023 [In person/open to all] Blueprints of Hope: Celebrating LGBTQ+ LondonLondon-based collective Gedney Common have curated this exhibition in response to research by UCL Urban Laboratory (Urban Lab) evidencing a drop of 58% in London’s LGBTQ+ venues between 2006 and 2017. Bringing together the work of libraries, archives, community centres and activist groups, alongside pieces by contemporary artists, Gedney Common present a snapshot of London’s vital queer cityscape, past and present, and illuminate its role in providing a social and cultural lifeline for queer communities. Find out more
Until 20 April 2024 [In person/open to all]: The Zizi Show (at the V&A, South Kensington)UCL Slade School of Art alumnus Jake Elwes presents a deepfake drag cabaret, exploring the ethical problems which exist in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Book now
31 May [In person/open to all] Film screening: M(OTHER)HOODA transmasculine parent begins hormone treatment at 43 in this short film that deftly explores the shifting perceptions of their four children. The screening will be followed by a discussion around the barriers to healthcare and sexual health in marginalised groups - focus on trans parenting. Book now
31 May [In person/open to all] Above this new tunnel the Market Tavern once stood. Grey concrete outside. Cherry red, dark, sexy, cruisy, insideA live performance by Blueprints of Hope exhibiting artist Nina Wakeford as she excavates and embodies LGBTQ+ history and proposes it as part of the new transport infrastructure of London. Book now
2 June [In person/open to all]: Blueprints of Hope: Badge Café HangoutJoin us reusing old pics, books and mags to make badges in a session responding to the Octagon Gallery exhibition ’Blueprints of Hope: Celebrating LGBTQ+ London’. Free, friendly, easy, fun. Book now
7 June [Online/open to all]: Inclusive Spaces: LGBTQIA+ Places and StoriesThe editors of ’Queer Spaces’ will join us to explore historic, contemporary and speculative LGBTQIA+ spaces from around the world. Book now
13 June [In person/open to all] Sam Albatros in conversation with Daniel Orrells, on being a faulty boyUCL alumnus and author, queer artist and poetry translator Dr Sam Albatros will talk about their experience of being a queer artist, novelist and scientist. They will then be joined for a discussion by Professor Daniel Orrells, professor of classics at KCL and centre director of Queer@Kings, to talk about Sam’s novel faulty boy, which focuses on a gender nonconforming/queer child. Book now
13-15 June [Hybrid event/open to all]: Challenging the Binary: Non-Binary, Genderqueer, and Gender-Neutral LanguageA three-day conference to explore non-binary, gender-inclusive, and gender-non-conforming language cross-linguistically. Book now (cost £50)
16 June [In person/open to all]: Gedney Common Curatorial SurgeryHear how the collective Gedney Common used academic research as a catalyst, from exhibition concept to realisation, of the Blueprints of Hope exhibition. Book now
6 July [Hybrid/open to all]: Vulnerability and control: Smartphones and queer men’s cultures of intimacyJamie Hakim will reflect on the major findings of the ESRC funded project, ’Digital Intimacies: how queer men use their smartphones to negotiate their cultures of intimacy’. This event will be particularly useful for researchers, educators, policy makers and health care professionals. Book now
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