First of all, can you tell us who you are and your role within the University.
I’m Neal (he, him, his), one of the Team Leads working in the Wellbeing Service which provides support, guidance, and advice to students. I’m very excited about Pride month and being known as an LGBTQ+ ally.
What does it mean to you to be a LGBTQ+ ally?
For me allyship is about empowering our LGBTQ+ students and amplifying their voices. It is listening to what they raise and engage in conversations within the University, not only with our students but to echo these upwards through the University. It is also about continual learning, not only of LGBTQ+ experiences which vary for every person but it’s how I can use my position to cause effective change. One thing, that I have learnt is that it is not just about creating a safe space for students to come and talk to us, it is about visibly supporting our LGBTQ+ community in Bath. This is something that I would like us to work on more.
How did you become an ally?
For me, it was listening to the experiences of my LGBTQ+ friends and colleagues. Realising that ‘coming out’ isn’t a one-time thing and it is a continual process that some people do all their lives every time they start a new job, meet new people etc. It can feel exhausting, not knowing whether it is safe to ‘come out’ and be your authentic self. If I can be that person to help create a safe environment and speak up, be visible and work towards active inclusion, that’s my aim. I want my friends and colleagues to be safe and comfortable at work to be who they are. Just like I am able to do!
What does Pride mean to you?
Pride to me, is a chance to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, friends, and colleagues, but as an ally it creates the opportunity for me to reflect on my allyship, listen to experiences, and look to how I can build upon active inclusion, and empower the voices of others.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share?
My colleagues will be running the ‘Coming out with Confidence Workshop’, which is great. I want to reassure people that this course is not about discussing how you identify but providing some anxiety management, resilience and tips around maintaining identity. I think this is a wonderful resource and something we will continue to run throughout the academic year.
We also have our LGBTQ+ support pages where we have various coming out guides and a guide on being an active LGBTQ+ ally – I found this particularly helpful!
I just wanted to acknowledge that we know discrimination and harassment still happens. If you experience or witness this and feel able to report it, you can do so here. We are here to support you, if you would like a confidential safe space to talk or discuss support please do contact the wellbeing team.