Going for Stonewall

Going for Stonewall

In 2019 Birmingham City University launched the ‘Going for Stonewall’ Project with the aim of developing and embedding best practice in LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) inclusion for staff and students.

Working closely with the Staff LGBT+ Network and stakeholders across BCU and the Students’ Union, achievements of the project so far include:

  • Making BCU’s second submission to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index in 2022
  • Producing a best practice toolkit to support an LGBT+ inclusive curriculum
  • Developing LGBT+ training resources for BCU staff
  • Supporting annual LGBT+ recognition and celebration events across campuses

The Stonewall workplace equality index

Since 2006, the UK’s leading LGBT charity Stonewall have compiled an annual list of the best British employers for LGBT inclusion. The framework allows employers to benchmark themselves nationally against a range of criteria, taking into consideration the policies, practices and culture of an organisation.

BCU is a registered Stonewall Diversity Champion and proud to be a Stonewall Gold LGBTQ+ Inclusive Employer, ranking 84th in the top 100. We have an active staff LGBT+ Network and student LGBTQ+ Society. Using the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index as a starting framework, we are bringing together existing good practices across the University, identifying areas of improvement, and working collaboratively with both local and national partners to ensure a sector-leading approach to LGBT+ inclusion for our staff and students.

Our work so far

LGBT History Month 2023

Working collaboratively our students and staff developed a packed calendar of events for LGBT History Month in February 2023 providing a presence on all campuses and hosting events such as Show Your Pride Day, an LGBTQ+ Timeline Exhibition, a Transgender/Non-binary Awareness Webinar and LGBT+ cake stalls offering  LGBT themed and decorated biscuits, cakes and bakes.

Gold Standard for LGBT+ Inclusion

In February 2023, BCU’s progress was again recognised in achieving a Gold award in the 2023 Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, rising to 84th among the Top 100 Employers 2023 for LGBT+ inclusion.

LGBT+ Allies Online Module

In December 2022, a new online training module was launched incorporating feedback from previous workshops, videos from existing allies and individual lived experiences. Over 300 staff have now completed some form of LGBT+ Allies training.

Unified At Pride 2022

On 24 September 2022, BCU again joined local universities to march together at Birmingham Pride, led by our LGBT+ Staff Network. The Network also held a stall at the Pride festival with staff and student volunteers engaging the local community.

University clinches gold

On 23 February 2022 Stonewall announced the results of its 2022 Workplace Equality Index, with Birmingham City University receiving a Gold Employer award for demonstrating its continued commitment to ensuring LGBT+ staff and students feel welcome, supported, and valued as a part of our community

Read the press release

LGBT History Month 2022

In February 2022, the project supported a close collaboration of staff and students to coordinate LGBT History Month at BCU, with activities including: an LGBTQ and Faith panel event featuring a screening of ‘My God, I’m Queer’, pronoun badge-making stalls on every campus, a trans hate crime research talk, Faculty-led events and more.

Staff system updates

Working closely with HR colleagues over the duration of the Project, staff systems were successfully amended in early 2022 to acknowledge non-binary staff. This included updated gender and title options, with staff henceforth able to amend these fields themselves along with other monitoring data such as sexual orientation and trans identity.

Policy reviews

The project supported the review of HR policies to ensure inclusion of same-sex couples, trans and non-binary colleagues, and inclusive language more generally. This included the development of a trans policy and guidance for transitioning staff.

UNIfied at Pride

On 25 September 2021 the first joint-universities collaboration for Birmingham Pride saw over 200 students and staff from six local universities march together in the annual parade, under the banner ‘UNIfied at Pride’. This included a joint float which BCU students and staff led the design and decoration of. This was in addition to the Staff LGBT+ Network’s annual stall in the Pride festival zone.

Read the press release

Student Welcome 2021

In September 2021 the Project supported the LGBTQ+ Society and LGBT+ Staff Network with distributing rainbow lanyards and support information to students at Welcome Fair. We also held our second online LGBTQ+ Student Welcome event in partnership with the LGBTQ+ Society, BCU’s Enablement and Wellbeing team, and Birmingham LGBT.

LGBT+ Allies

In February 2021, the LGBT+ Allies scheme launched providing staff with learning opportunities through training and resources, in order to develop a more inclusive university community for LGBT+ colleagues and students. The LGBT+ Allies Hub offers a calendar of training opportunities, including facilitated workshops and self-guided online modules, as well as a growing bank of resources developed in partnership with LGBT+ staff. Staff who complete the ‘Becoming an LGBT+ Ally’ workshop are encouraged to signify their commitment to inclusion visibly, such as in their email signature, so that students and colleagues know that they are approachable and should be able to signpost to relevant support where needed.

LGBT History Month 2021

In February 2021, the project supported the LGBT+ Staff Network, BCU Students’ Union and other colleagues to coordinate LGBT History Month at BCU, including: a talk from Dr Justin Varney, Birmingham’s Director of Public Health, A Queer Reflection on Inequalities and Leadership an expert panel event titled “Humanity-free zones”? Facts and Myths about the Struggle for LGBTI Rights in Poland a talk from Birmingham LGBT to mark National HIV Testing Week staff Network screening/social events LGBTQ student mentoring taster event launch of the staff LGBT+ Allies scheme Trans Speech and Language Therapy workshop from Carol Glaister

Being LGBTQ in the Workplace

YouGov research commissioned by Stonewall in 2017 found that more than a third of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans staff (35%) have hidden that they are LGBT at work for fear of discrimination. In December 2020, we brought together a panel of LGBTQ professionals from a range of disciplines to discuss their experiences of being 'out' in the workplace followed by a Q&A. Attendees heard personal stories of some of the challenges facing LGBTQ people in different areas of work, as well as the potential positives of bringing your whole self to work. In February 2021, a mentoring taster event was held, offering LGBTQ students the chance to discuss any concerns with LGBTQ people currently in work. The event demonstrated the very real concerns of some students and the value of mentoring conversations in considering how to navigate these challenges.

LGBTQ+ Student Welcome 2020

With some of the usual student welcome activities unable to take place in 2020, on 18 September we held an online welcome and Q&A for LGBTQ+ students with talks from: BCUSU LGBTQ+ Society, BCU Mental Health and Wellbeing Team, Stonewall Project Manager and Birmingham LGBT

LGBT History Month 2020

In February 2020, the project supported the LGBT+ Staff Network in coordinating LGBT History Month at BCU, with events including: information stalls on every campus, staff training pilot sessions: Sexuality & Gender 101 and Being LGBT+ in 2020, LGBT+ Issues in Schools speaker event in collaboration with the School of Education and Social Work, with guest speaker Andrew Moffat, a talk from lecturer Carol Glaister about her work on trans speech and language therapy and a formal launch of the eight-colour rainbow lanyard for staff and students      

Eight-Colour Rainbow Lanyards

The lanyard launch in February 2020 included stalls and pick-up points across all campuses, with postcards explaining: “The addition of black and brown stripes to the traditional 6-colour Pride flag is a statement of inclusion, acknowledging the unique challenges that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people of colour face from both outside and inside the LGBT+ community. As Birmingham City University continues to develop our LGBT+ inclusion agenda, we want our work to reflect and celebrate our diverse community. Please wear one of our lanyards with pride!” For more information please contact Ross Strong, Stonewell Project Manager.