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What affect does having visible LGBT role models in the univ

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Judith Hanley

on 11 April 2014

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Transcript of What affect does having visible LGBT role models in the univ

What affect does having visible LGBT role models in the university have on student attainment?
Student Quote A
'Before I had you as my lecturer I was the only out gay. In my previous year it was hard, I was standing on my own - I had to be willing to put myself out there to be ridiculed and not know if I was going to have anyone back me up in or out of the classroom. Once you started teaching me and there was someone who was publically out it certainly made me feel a lot more at ease'

'Having an out lecturer helped to create a space for me, within my university education, where I could explore and examine my own sexuality comfortably. It reduced my sense of 'otherness' in having a sexual identity that didn't exactly match my peers.'

Student Quote C
Don't be a bystander
Conclusion & Recommendations
What is a role model?
Workshop expected learning outcomes.
Participants will:
Become familiar with the barriers and struggles that LGBT students (and staff) face on a daily basis
Identify links between visible LGBT role models and student attainment
Recognise what they can do to help LGBT students feel safe and comfortable
Consider their own practice in light of discoveries made during the session.
'That transgender students' educational gains and perceptions of safety and belonging are significantly lower than their peers suggests the need for more direct attention.'

Journal of college student development
Transgender College Students: An Exploratory Study of Perceptions, Engagement and Educational Outcomes
“I had figured out that I was gay before started university. As what could probably be best described as baby butch, I was still finding my feet and how to be myself around people – especially in this new environment. The moment I realised one of my lecturers was gay came as somewhat of a revelation. Having been told by my parents, on one of the only times we have ever discussed my sexuality, that life ‘as a gay would be far harder, far more difficult’ than if I were nice and straight, to see a lesbian woman out and proud really did, in hindsight, have a profound impact on me.

My particularly favoured moment was what can only be dubbed ‘gay day’. The day where I walked into my lecture theatre and my most favourite of lecturers was stood proudly in her pride t-shirt – I think it featured the pink triangle symbol. I hadn’t noted any of my peers get particularly excited by this however, I remember beaming from ear to ear thinking ‘she’s going to come out…’ I whispered to my friend at the time ‘I knew it, I knew she was gay’ and remember sitting, broadly smiling at my lecturer outing herself. I don’t remember the content of the lecture. I do remember leaving the lecture theatre beaming, as was she.

I imagine for straight students it was a moment of insignificance but for me, it was a day where I realised that it is entirely OK to be who you are. On that day, I didn’t only feel proud that my lecturer had had the courage to come out but I felt proud to be me.”

Take a moment to consider who your role models are.
"I don't want to hold anything back. I want to bring my whole self to work and I find that being open helps me to develop more meaningful relationships with people."

Neil Cochrane, Barclays Capital
Before... "
I didn't forge any particular friendships and I really kept my private life separate. I wasn't officially out, there was lots of rumour and gossip and it was a very tense time."
After.... "
it was like I'd been living in a gloomy room with the curtains closed and suddenly someone threw them open."
Liz Bingham, Ernst & Young
"Finally, I got to a tipping point where the fear and uncertainty of moving forward was better than living with the pain of isolation. I made tentative steps towards coming out with friends at university and gained confidence from their positive reactions."
Paul Newby, GlaxoSmithKline
"Young people need to see there are people just like them in all walks of life"
Neil Bentley, CBI
"My first report said I was underachieving and I knew it was because I wanted to be openly gay."
James Wharton, British Army
"Having lesbian, gay and bisexual role models is very important. It shows others you can be who you are."
Sarah Weir OBE, The Legacy List
But why does it matter?
Student Quote B
"It was great having XXX as an out lecturer as she would joke about things and reference things that I would get and no-one else would, which I thought was hilarious. Plus it's a lot better for morale having an honest role model rather than someone that is closeted giving out advice."
'The percentage of LBG students who felt that tutors discriminated in ways that directly affected their attainment was low (only 1.7%). Nonetheless, some focus group participants described how more indirect/banal forms of negative treatment - particularly by their fellow students - led to stress or a loss of confidence, which affected their concentration or ability to study.'

Equality Challenge Unit
The experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans staff and students in higher education. Research report 2009
Students who had been to university reflected on impacts on their studies since leaving school. Of the 29% who had been negatively affected:
91% had felt left out or isolated at some point
69% struggled to concentrate, and 67% did not always feel motivated
62% chose not to participate in class questions or discussions at some point
57% thought they had achieved lower marks for their work
55% did not feel they acquired skills as well as they should have done
49% had missed classes more once.

The impact of homophobic and transphobic bullying on education and employment
A European survey 2013 by Eleanor Formby, IGLYO, Sheffield Hallam University
Ian McKellen supports Stonewall's Anti-Bullying campaign
Role Models ?
Role Models ?
Role Models ?
1. More research needs to be conducted into the affect of having LGBT role models in universities

2. Staff training needs to include LGBT awareness

3. This workshop is just the start, if anyone is interested in continuing this discussion / research please let me know

4. The existence of staff and student LGBT groups are vital as sources of support, meeting others and education.

According to the Equality Challenge Unit - The experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans staff and students in higher education. Research report 2009.

The study data supports the following key conclusions:
1. Experience or fear of bullying and/or discrimination can have specific impacts on young LGBTQ people’s education and employment opportunities

2. These impacts include loss of confidence, isolation, attendance and/or participation issues, and lack of motivation and/or concentration, resulting in potential academic attainment and/or achievement disadvantage

3. Not all experiences of prejudice or harassment were from peers; teachers and/or family members were also sometimes responsible. Broader societal discrimination/pressures were also experienced negatively by participants. These issues are often not understood or acknowledged within a focus on ‘bullying’

4. Identifying as LGBTQ can impact upon a person’s plans or aspirations for the future, regarding choice of studies and/or career, as well as migration concerns

"I will be holding an assembly on gay and lesbian marriage this week. It's vital to make students aware of the importance of equality for all and by mentioning my wedding, I am able to be a role model for gay people being happy in a committed relationship, just like anyone else."
Teacher who is getting married in the summer
Evidence suggests that negative experiences in adolescence can impact upon educational attainment, as well as on mental health and/or emotional wellbeing. (Takacs, 2006).

These factors, together with a lack of role models and/or appropriate support (Crowley et al, 2001; Formbyand Willis, 2011), and the potential for conflict with family and/or friends (Formby, 2012; Valentine et al, 2003), can influence educational achievement (in the form of skills acquisition and/or attainment levels), and therefore opportunities for labour market entry (Robinson and Espelage, 2011; Warwick et al, 2004).

Research also suggests that experiences may not be markedly more positive at university for some young people (Ellis, 2009; Valentine et al, 2009). Caution is needed, however, to not over-state these risks, or portray LGBTQ people as inherent ‘victims’ (Cover, 2012; Formby, 2013a; Russell, 2005).


without prejudice”
“ If it’s OK in society for teachers to be openly gay then it would be easier for students to feel that they can be who they are without prejudice."
"I talk about my civil partnership to pupils. I've been told that some colleagues don't approve, but I think it is important that pupils have good role models and learn about the benefits of stable relationships of all kinds"
School teacher
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