LESG statement in support of LGBTQ+ staff and students at UCL
LESG strongly believes that addressing the current epidemic of violence, bullying, harassment and discrimination based on gender identity has to be a top priority at UCL. We have prepared the statement below to contextualise and strongly affirm the need for support of LGBQ+ and Trans staff and students encountering challenges at work and in their studies due to their gender identity.
Over 40% of UCL LGBTQ+ staff respondents in UCL’s Staff Survey 2017 stated that they were not completely able to talk about themselves openly or to be out at work. It is vital that all staff and students can be themselves while working and studying at UCL.
Universities have a duty both to protect the dignity, wellbeing and safety of staff and students and to ensure freedom of academic expression.
Discharging these two duties can be challenging. In particular, the right to free academic expression should never be used to justify denying the right of an individual to determine and express their own gender identity, or for refusing to refer to an individual by this identity. Universities have an obligation to provide staff and students with a safe environment where their identities, and the way they express them (e.g., through use of particular pronouns), are acknowledged and respected without any limitation based on academic freedom.
Society in general, and universities in particular, are working out what approaches are best, and where the legal framework in the UK is in flux and only covers a sub-set of issues. We feel we have a responsibility to address these challenges in an environment free from abuse, threats or acts of violence.
This statement was agreed by LESG collectively and is not necessarily attributable to individual LESG members.