We won!

The Staff LGBT+ Network won the ‘Business Award for LGBT+’ at the Bristol Diversity Awards on Saturday 18th May.

LGBT+ Staff Committee member Amelia Pereira attended the awards with members of the LGBT+ Staff Network for an evening of food, entertainment and over 30 awards. Upon receiving our award, the hosts had this to say about the Network:

‘The University of Bristol LGBT+ Staff Network lead by Suzanne Doyle and Nick Skelton have turned the Network into a visible, social, engaging and active network, having created a committee of ten. The University now sponsor Pride, support LGBT+ History Month, have made policies more inclusive, ran all aspects of EDI training, and the Staff Network on the Registrars award for Diversity, Best Employer and Best Stall at the Bristol Pride Awards. Congratulations, University of Bristol LGBT+ Staff Network!’

It was a lovely evening and obviously incredibly diverse, there were over 250 attendees, most of whom were wearing traditional dress from a massive array of cultures and backgrounds. The food was excellent, the event ran really well and the entertainment (RSVP, a live Bhangra band) was fantastic.

It was great to see so many businesses and city folk at the event from all corners of Bristol and this was championed by the Lord Mayors speech at the end of the night about our diverse, inclusive, proactive, vibrant and beautiful city.

LGBT+ History Month: The First Same Sex Marriage in Bristol

By Dr Mike McBeth

Senior Teaching Fellow and Criminology Programme Director
and acting Director of Undergraduate Studies
School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol

I was a boy growing up attracted to other boys in NE England in the 1970s – a dreadful ordeal of bullying, introversion and fear. I always expected to get married though – to a woman of course. I thought that my feelings of attraction about other boys were feelings that all boys had. But I knew that they should be ignored. It seemed inevitable that I’d marry a nice girl and become a father. I also wondered if there was actually something deeply wrong with me – that my feelings were feelings that no-one else had – therefore marrying a girl might be a good way of hiding my true self. I believed and accepted that my life would largely be an unhappy one, with some rare moments of pleasure (and inevitable guilt). Throughout my teenage years, I’d no idea that it was possible to be a man and have physical and emotional attachments with other men and any suggestion that I would one day marry another man would have seemed ridiculous to me.


In the Britain I was born into, homosexual relations between men were illegal. I was six years old when the Sexual Offences Act partially decriminalised consenting sex between two men in ‘private’, but persecution and prosecutions of men for consenting sexual activity actually increased. Not that I noticed – the law succeeded in keeping me completely ignorant that there might be other people like me. Ultimately it proved impossible to ignore my sexuality though and I fell out of the closet at 18 – my mam found out, therefore my dad found out, therefore I left home.


By the early 1980s I was a radical young student – a ‘Commie puff rent-a-gob’, as some Federation of Conservative Students described me (fairly accurately, I suppose). By then it was still possible that I might get married – to some loved-up lesbian from overseas. My marriage would be protest against the ‘heteronormative oppressive institution’ of matrimony! But the opportunity for that never arose, so I didn’t have to get divorced in time for the real thing.


My 20s were lived against a background of hysteria of HIV/Aids. I remember the chief constable of Manchester saying that gays and lesbians were swirling around in a cesspit of their own making. Then the prime minister told her party conference that ‘children … need to be taught to respect traditional moral values … [but] are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay’. I really wished that had been true. The government’s principal response to the HIV/Aids tragedy was to tell us not to die of ignorance – odd, given that the same government was refusing to provide any kind of proper sexual and drugs-related public health advice. When the shortcomings of the government’s response to HIV/Aids was highlighted, they enacted legislation to outlaw the ‘promotion’ or teaching the ‘acceptibilty’ of homosexuality as a ‘pretended family relationship’. This was Section 28 – the first legislative assault on gay men since 1885 when the law determined sex between men amounted to ‘gross indecency’ punishable by two years’ imprisonment with hard labour.


I threw myself into activism and my socialism was anchored in campaigns for equality. In 1985 I was at the Labour conference that first committed a future Labour government to equal rights for gays and lesbians. Losing the 1987 and 1992 general elections were terrible blows. But then 1997 really did feel like ‘a new dawn’ – at least for us. Progress was rapid: in 2000 the ban on LGBT people serving in the military was lifted. In 2001 the age of consent in England, Scotland and Wales was equalised (still not in N Ireland). From 2002 same sex couples could legally adopt. In 2003 the offence of gross indecency was removed and Section 28 was repealed. In 2005 same sex couples could enter civil partnerships.


I met my future husband in 1994. By 2005 when civil partnerships were possible we were more-or-less regarded as ‘married’ by everyone who knew us. Matthew asked me if I would become his civil partner. I refused. Undeterred, a little while later he asked me again. I said no again! It wasn’t that I didn’t love him or couldn’t see us committing to each other. I felt that civil partnerships were not equality – heterosexuals couldn’t be civil partners and we couldn’t marry. I knew that I was never going to be anyone’s civil partner. I also knew that after declining civil partnership proposals twice, if same sex marriage was ever introduced, I was going to have to be the one to ask!


Same-sex marriage was made possible in July 2013 and I’d lived with Matthew for 19 years by then. My attitude to getting married was that it was important to make a political point about gay men having have long-term, loving relationships. Although I didn’t ever expect to be a blushing groom, it was quite romantic. I proposed to Matthew on the Eiffel Tower. I know what you’re thinking – but he said yes! Once the law changed it was another eight months before the government announced that the first same-sex marriages could take place on Saturday 29 March 2014. We didn’t set out to be first, but it was important to me that we were married on the first possible day. We booked the Bristol register office at 11:00 to give our friends and family enough time to get there but no-one else choose an earlier time, so we were the first same-sex couple to marry in Bristol.


The biggest threat to our wedding turned out to be the city council. It hadn’t occurred to me that our dog wouldn’t be allowed – and he’d been tasked to play an important best-dog role of ring carrier. The staff in the register office assured us that they were all dog-lovers, but that council rules forbade dogs. I was distraught – Zoly had to be there. The registrar hinted a change of policy would be welcome, so we immediately wrote to the mayor to ask if he’d like to come and if it would be ok to have our dog there too. The mayor declined our invitation, but said that he saw no reason not to allow dogs in wedding ceremonies at the register office! So the wedding was back on. Not only were we the first men to marry each other in Bristol, but we were the first to have a non-assistance dog there too!


Matthew took himself off to the Bristol Grand Hotel for the night before our wedding, which I thought was rather extravagant, but since I’d been the one who’d gone all traditional and insisted that we slept apart that night, I could hardly complain. On the day, I went to have my haircut and as I left the salon, a woman was just arriving – she was getting married later that day too! To her girlfriend!! It was fantastic – we congratulated each other and just about everyone in the salon was in tears! I went for my daily run and when I arrived back home I noticed that most of the local children were taking turns to be ridden around the street on a bicycle rickshaw. I knew that this was odd – but I live in Southville, so we learn not to react to odd things in the street. It didn’t cross my mind that Matthew had booked the rickshaw to take us to the register office!


I loved getting married. One of our American friends read Armistead Maupin’s ‘Letter to momma’ in our ceremony – and said “momma” like no British person ever could! Zoly chewed the box with our rings in it – and it still has little indentations. In the exchange of vows I’m pretty sure Matthew said “From this gay forward” instead of “From this day forward” – but he denies it. Afterwards, we stood on the register office steps and our friends held up a ‘Just Married’ rainbow banner – that’s now in the M-Shed museum of Bristol, which I suppose makes me something of a museum piece. Friends from my running club timed a run-past all in club colours. Complete strangers came up to us and shook our hands and offered congratulations – including an ordained Church of England vicar who said they’d have broken church rules to marry us. Stall holders in Corn Street started giving us presents – what do you do with a huge bag of Pie Minister pies when you’re heading off to a wedding reception?! All the vegan food at the reception was amazing and even the less progressive members of our families said it was delicious and wondered if it was the sort of food that we ate all time! We also made it on to the front page of the next issue of the Bristol Post.


I’ve been married for over four years now and in June I’ll have been with Matthew for 25 years. Despite my pronouncement that same-sex marriage was a political statement, I love being married.  It’s wonderful to be able to refer to my husband – previously: boyfriend or partner or life-partner – as my husband. I still enjoy it when some people take a moment to process that. But I think that it’s a sign of how far things have changed that people doing a double-take when they find out that I’m married to another man happens less and less often. LGBT progress in my lifetime has been astonishing to me – I’m immensely proud of what’s been achieved and of the people that helped make it happen.

LGBT+ History Month: Not All Transgender People Need to Transition

By Lauren

I identify as a non-transitioning, male to female Transgender person.

This means that I was born male and spend part of my life as a man (it’s my legal status & name, at work and in some of my social life).

However, there is a strong need in me to present, experience the world and for the world to experience me as a woman.

If I can do this frequently enough, I can control my need and not slip into poor mental wellbeing. With the help and support of my wife we have reached a balance of my need to be female vs her need for a man. I am very lucky.

Of course not every TG person can find that balance. For some the need is so overwhelming that transition (social or medical) is the only way to remain mentally well.

Personally I am reasonably ‘out’ to some family, to friends and neighbours and I am happy out in public areas such as pubs, restaurants, shops or even hill walking/mountaineering. I try to ‘pass’ as best I can but I’m aware that I am often ‘read’ as being TG. That’s fine because I am just trying to be like any other woman in those situations and dress appropriately for the type of activity I am doing and most people treat me like any other female customer or woman they meet in the street or on the hillside.

Many like me are not out although more and more are going out in public spaces as acceptance levels rise but we don’t necessarily have the same protections as transitioning/transitioned TG people, except by ‘perception’.

Recently media coverage of TG people and issues has been generally more positive. I am also involved in a few working groups on LGBT or TG issues. However, it seems that the vast majority of the articles/programmes or discussions are concerned with those undergoing transition or who have transitioned. The Equality Act is also really set up for transitioning/transitioned TG people.

This is all good but I have met many TG people over the years and as far as I can tell, those who are not planning to transition (even though we’ve all considered or fantasised about it) probably outnumber those who are transitioning/transitioned by a good 5 to 1 (or even 10 to 1).

I want to raise awareness that not all TG people need to transition, but all TG people should have equal protection and respect.


Thanks for reading,


LGBT+ History Month: Bookshop saves young life

By Professor David Abbott
Social Policy, School for Policy Studies.

Looking back some thirty-odd years later, it’s the fear that saddens me most. I am afraid to go to the phone box in case I’m spotted. But I keep trying to ring and it keeps being engaged. It’s 1986 and there are, as yet, no mobile phones, no internet, no on-line alternative realities.

On a rainy, dark evening, with the dog as alibi for being out (I am ever helpful, dog walking, teenage son) I get through to Gay Switchboard. It has taken three months. I have five 10 pence pieces worth of time. A man says, ‘Hello’ and I immediately blurt out my confession. He starts to tell me things I could do – a pen pal, a counselling service. I can’t do any of these: post to home will intercepted and I can’t go to a counsellor because I am 15 years old and I don’t know what counselling is, though it sounds like something my parents would not like or approve of. Next the man then says there is a bookshop I could go to and I perk up. There is a book, ‘How to be a happy homosexual’ and a bookshop, ‘Gay’s the Word’. He says I could read the book and this appeals. I can do books. I’m bookish. I am good and well behaved and I am bookish.

Apparently the bookshop is ‘close’, but he obviously hasn’t grown up in a town where 30 miles might as well be 300. Or perhaps he did but doesn’t now. The next night I go back to the phone box to find out train times. I will have to go on a school day. I will have to ‘bunk off’. The idea alone makes me feel ill, as I am a model student. I am a perfect child with a secret, rotten inside that lies and deceives. But it’s that honed deception which means I also know that I will do it.

When the day I’ve picked comes I feign illness. I am never ill so I am believed. With the house empty I have about six hours to get to London, to get to the bookshop, to be in the bookshop and to get home again. Shot through with panic, I give no thought to what I’m going to wear. I am unworried by fashion. I enjoy going to Mass each week, my voice hasn’t broken and I read a lot so I have already opted out of most norms in my school and community, so I’m ‘devil-may-care’ about what I look like.

The bookshop opens at ten but I am early because I always am, because I am programmed to be, the same way I am programmed to be Catholic and straight and good and chatty with adults. I reach Marchmont Street easily after a short walk from Kings Cross station. Approaching the bookshop I want to be sick. A slightly built Asian man is coming out of the shop and taking down the shutters over the shop front windows. (I’m worried now that these are to protect it from attack. Will it be stoned or petrol bombed while I’m in there?) The man is grappling with the shutters which seem heavy and awkward. Instead of offering to help or pausing until he’s done I have to speak to him now or I will walk on and go home. There is no small talk at my disposal and I tell him that a man on the phone said that I could get a book here.

Looking back I realise that this is the first gay men I’ve ever met. Well, looking back properly I realise he isn’t. When, many years later I bump into him in a gay bar in Cork, I realise that the priest I knew in childhood is also gay. But this bookseller is the first man I have met who is able to be who he is and I wonder where he is now and if he knows that he was a part of my salvation.

Despite being interrupted by a teenager with no social grace, he is utterly patient and unphased and suggests I go inside and look around while he carries on opening up. I walk in and walk around but don’t want to look at anything. This is definitely not WH Smith or Luton Town Library, which to me reek of ordinariness (though I later discover that in the social science section there are books which attract people like me and we circle each other: literary cottaging in the ‘ologies’).

The man finds the book for me but says there is a better book, a nicer read, a fiction called, ‘The Boys on the Rock’. Thrown but compliant (because that’s how I think I am) I say, ‘Great’ and take it and buy ‘Gay Times’ in a fit of bravery at the till. This is all my Christmas cash saved up – the train, the tube, the book, the magazine. I hand it all over and my goods are given to me in a brown paper bag.

Another man, a customer who I have studiously ignored whilst also checking at every available moment, approaches. He says why not have a cup of tea. There is nothing I want less – or more. We move to the back of the shop and I divert my eyes from anything and everything that I most want to look at. He asks if my parents know and I say, ‘No because they’re Catholic’ a short-hand which I assume is self explanatory. He says the Pope is a ‘monster’ and I’m both thoroughly confused and deeply affronted as only the year before I spent a whole day and night in a field waiting for him to visit and singing hymns all the way to Coventry and back. Once again, ordinary talk evades me. I grip the sides of my chair and he talks and I have no recollection of what he says. What I really want is for the man to abduct me. Abduct or rescue me.  But the man in the bookshop doesn’t abduct me. He just directs me back to Kings Cross because I pretend I don’t know the way. For a moment, on the pavement in front of the shop, as he points in the direction of the station, he stands close to me and his shoulder touches my shoulder and I wish the route was longer, more complex and that I needed it all to be repeated.

Book and magazine are now mine, but I live in a house where the children cannot keep secrets or hide possessions, even if the grownups can (or think they can). Can I really take my prizes home? If I put the magazine in a bin it will be traced to me. Someone will call the police, fingerprint it and trace me. So I resolve to keep it in my drawer along with ‘Boys on the Rock’ which I read in one go that night when everyone is asleep. Sometime later both are ‘discovered’ and for a while the fault line in our family is cracked wide open. It doesn’t last and soon a story emerges which closes everything up, but I am not closed up and everything has changed.

All these years on I read my own words about the fifteen-year-old me and I think he sounds crazy and desperate. “Bookshop Saves Young Life” – the unusual but compellingly true headline. There are many days in which I am still crazy and desperate, but I am escaped. I am free.

LGBT+ History Month: The books that made me

By Alice Phillips
Research and Evaluation Coordinator, Bristol SU
Bi Rep on the LGBT+ Staff Network and LGBT+ Rep for University of Bristol Unison Branch

For many of us, fiction gives a unique opportunity to explore one’s queer identity before anyone else knows it, before having to face the world and be “out”. The shelves of a local library or bookshop (perhaps now the pages of the Kindle store) give us a chance to delve into the LGBT+ world in private. In reading the stories of our most beloved characters we can see the possibility of a queer life for ourselves. There is great comfort to be found between such pages.

For LGBT+ History Month, I wanted to share some of the novels that have had a profound impact upon me. Some of them are historical in theme, some of them are modern, but all of them form part of my LGBT+ history.

And don’t worry – no spoilers ahead.

Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin
Not one book but a series of nine novels that are simply a joy to read. I found lovely, worn out copies of the original six novels on my mother’s book shelf. Funny, moving, occasionally shocking, and full of twists and turns, it is easy to tear through one of these in just one sitting. Originally published as a serial in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1978, the books feature characters from the whole spectrum of LGBT+ experience. Tales of the City follows the tenants of eccentric landlady Anna Madrigal at 28 Barbary Lane, as well as their lovers, friends and acquaintances in San Francisco. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Anna, Mary Ann, Mona and Michael (Mouse) – based on Maupin himself. Maupin actually came out to his own family through the character of a Mouse, in a very moving letter to his fictional mother. There’s a good TV adaptation, and I’d recommend Maupin’s memoir Logical Family as well.

Fingersmith/Tipping the Velvet – Sarah Waters
Sarah Waters is one of my favourite authors, and this is largely down to these two novels. They are very different, though both set in Victorian England. While Tipping the Velvet is a fairly light romp, Fingersmith is darker and more of a thriller. Tipping the Velvet follows Nan Astley, who falls in love with male impersonator Kitty Butler and joins her show. The novel then follows her fall from grace and numerous love affairs. Fingersmith meanwhile centers on a dastardly plot by protagonist Sue and con artist Richard Rivers to steal a heiress’s fortune. Fingersmith is my favourite of the two, but they are both superb, and I have read them many times. Both had very good BBC adaptations, which can be viewed on Box of Broadcasts. Fingersmith was also transplanted to 1930s South Korea for 2016’s The Handmaiden, which is also very good.

The Line of Beauty – Alan Hollinghurst
I’m not sure at what age I started devouring Alan Hollinghurst’s books, but I was almost certainly a bit young. I came upon Hollinghurst’s early novels during my exhaustive searches for gay literature in Bath Central Library, and found them to be gripping, seedy and a little shocking. But the Line of Beauty takes Hollinghurst’s writing to a whole other level. A beautifully written novel that utterly envelops you into its world, it is a story of love, sex and class in Thatcher’s Britain, set under the spectre of AIDs. It really is an astonishing work, reflected in its Man Booker win. The BBC made a good adaptation too.

My Summer of Love – Helen Cross
My Summer of Love is a strange, dark and clever book that leaves the reader deeply unsettled. Its small town/rural backdrop is notable given how many queer stories are set in the big city. The heatwave setting of the summer of 1984 creates an almost other-worldly atmosphere. It is a romance of sorts, but a rather twisted one. It has interesting themes of class difference, with working class teenager Mona, who is a heavy drinker and addicted to the fruit machines at her family’s pub, falling for upper class Tamsin. I didn’t immediately warm to the book, but as I read, I got sucked in. There’s a good film adaptation starring Natalie Press and Emily Blunt as well.

Sugar Rush – Julie Burchill
Oh Sugar Rush, what can I say about you. This was probably the defining novel and TV series for teenage me. Now, to be blunt, the book really isn’t very good. It is trashy and fairly entertaining, and follows teenage Kim falling for bad girl Sugar at school. It’s relatable, but a great work of literature it is not. The TV series however is fantastic. Olivia Hallinan are Lenora Crichlow give wonderful, heartfelt performances, and it really was a groundbreaking show. I can’t think of another programme on British TV since that has had two young lesbian/bisexual women as the leads. Basically, what I’m saying is don’t bother with the book and watch the show (all on All4), but I couldn’t really omit it from this list.

LGBT+ History Month: Call Me By Your Name

By Kate Ashley
Communications Manager
School of Mathematics

The last couple of years have been exciting for LGBT+ cinema both serious (The Miseducation of Cameron Post) and comedic (The Favourite). My personal favourite has to be the beautiful Call Me By Your Name.

It was wonderful to see main characters who have relationships with both men and women. Despite often being cited as a ‘gay’ film, neither Elio and Oliver apologise for or are made to explain their sexuality. There is no punishment-as-plot for their romance. This kind of representation matters, particularly in a culture where bi erasure is so commonplace.

However refreshing it is to see relatable stories featuring non-straight characters, the true power of this love story is how completely it captures that feeling of youthful obsession. Elio is awkward and lost when it comes to dealing with his crush – in other words, like every teenager ever.

The languid setting draws you into that hazy Italian summer with him and Oliver; enhanced by pacing that perfectly emphasizes the torture of waiting, longing and doubting.

There’s something about remembering that time of life, whether or not you were lucky enough to have such a place to spend your holidays, or such supportive parents. I don’t think English can do it justice, but perhaps Portuguese does with their term ‘saudade’; a deep nostalgia for something or someone missing.

Teenage love and heartbreak aren’t taken seriously – just think of ‘puppy love’. Our society dismisses these emotions, or at least insists they are confined to those teenage years. And yet the moving speech which ends this film calls for adults everywhere to remember and honour that time of young adulthood when they too felt things so deeply. Here the film almost directly follows the book:

“We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of 30 and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything—what a waste!”

What words to live by, particularly if your first taste of romance was harder or more complicated than that experienced by straight teens.

PS: for all those wondering, in this rare case the film really is better than the book! Sorry André.

LGBT+ History Month: Lobbying parliament for an equal age of consent

By Simon Gamble
Pride/Communications Representative, LGBT+ Staff Network
Head of Study Skills, Library Services

I was a teenager in the eighties. The eighties were not what they tell you on TV and in cool retro movies. OK the music was good (Keith Harris and Orville, Renee and Renato), but the soul of the nation was darker than even today. As a young gay man, I was made to feel inhuman by a vitriolic press, panic around HIV and AIDS, years of Conservative power and in particular, knowing that my sexuality would still be criminal if I expressed it physically, until I was 21. In fairness I looked like a punk Adrian Mole, so the odds of any underage Y-front excitement were slim anyway, but that wasn’t the point. The disparity in the age of consent for sexual activity between two males was a legal embodiment of the hate we absorbed daily. It said ‘you are not human, you are less’. Often that burden felt physical, like a weight upon us.

Fast forward to 1997 and New Labour, Cool Britannia, Spice Girls and pressure from the EU which meant that the UK had to look again at equalising the age of consent. My partner and I joined Stonewall to help push for true equality.

This is why I found myself standing in the lobby in Parliament, lobbying Parliament.

Amid the echoey hubbub of excited LGBT+ people and their MPs, I was called to a desk.

“Errrr, we have a problem with your request.”

By law, if you go to the lobby and summon your MP (by filling out a form), they must come and speak with you if they are in the building. They have to come. It’s the law.

A few months ago we’d had a by-election where I lived, because the ancient old Tory who’d ruled our town for decades had suddenly dropped down dead.

Hence the problem.

In all the excitement I’d asked for the dead guy.

The people behind the desk looked genuinely flustered. Given that the dead guy was a tory I considered asking them to try drawing a pentagram on the floor in goats blood, but I held my tongue. After some hasty scratching out and rewriting I summoned a living Tory.  With only slightly more conviction than the dead MP could have managed he attempted to placate me with some Thick of it style flummery about how he had gay friends but still wouldn’t vote for an equal age of consent. He clearly had no spine. He also had no argument, whereas we had many. We had a majority in the commons, but they had one in the Lords.

The Lords, rallied by Baroness Janet Young, repeatedly defeated the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act until the commons pulled a statutory stunt by invoking the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949. The age of consent was equalised in 2000. I wrote to Baroness Young twice and had replies each time, but saw no shift ever in her hard-line approach and belief that homosexuality “took young men away from procreating”. Yup, that’s how she said it.

So did I make a difference? Well I certainly made a couple of Westminster desk clerks laugh, and I hope at the very least I made my MP squirm a little bit harder when he bowed to the pressure of voting against the act. These days I wonder about how easily we might slip back into those dark days when we are seen as unworthy. Every battle is worth remembering, lest we forget.

LGBT+ History Month: In search of my words

By Anna Coates
Student Administrator, School of Mathematics

In search of my words

I used to hate using labels, which meant I always struggled to find the right words to describe my identity, to myself and anyone around me. Unfortunately, this worsened during my time of depression, where my identity fell apart and I had no idea how to find it again.

As I started to pick up the pieces, I questioned what identity really meant to me. In that searching, I wondered about my sexuality – but I didn’t want to be grouped as LGBT. I went to church and discovered a faith in God – but I didn’t refer to myself as a Christian. The labels felt too restrictive and I definitely didn’t want to face the prospect of being both as I naively assumed they would clash. What I came to realise was that the lack of labels caused me to feel like an outsider; I was curious but didn’t want to be fully immersed.

When I made some new life choices and moved to Bristol by myself, I embraced the new start. I arrived in a quirky, diverse, and community-driven place. I could be myself in a new environment and so I gained a confidence I didn’t have before. That confidence gave me courage to join the LGBT+ staff network to continue the discovery of my sexuality. I found a church that I felt welcomed in as soon as I walked through the door for the first time. I made new friendships, each one completely different, and I have been able to share more about myself to them that I could before.

Through this journey, I have found some words that describe me and have adopted them whole-heartedly. Embracing these has opened new opportunities for me. I know now that they don’t define me, but they help to work out how I truly feel and uncover the next step on the continual path of discovering who I am. As for the intersectionality, I have learnt that God is love, no matter what sexuality I am.

Today I write proudly that I am a Christian and I am Bisexual, and I look forward to learning new words.

Your network needs you: vacancies on the staff LGBT+ network committee

Would you like to help improve the experiences of LGBT+ staff at the University? We currently have vacancies on the LGBT+ staff network committee for the following positions:

  • Network co-chair
  • BME representative

I am stepping down from the role of co-chair after three years and can thoroughly recommend it. Helping to run the network is an enjoyable and rewarding way to improve things for LGBT+ staff at the University. We have a strong group of volunteers on the committee but have two vacancies to join them.

All committee members are volunteers from across the University. In many ways a committee role is what you make of it – everyone brings something different to it.

If you’re curious and would like to learn more before you decide, please contact one of the two current co-chairs, Nick Skelton or Suzanne Doyle and either of us would be happy to have a chat.

If you’d like to nominate yourself for one of the roles, please just email Nick or Suzanne by the end of Wednesday 30th January.

Nick Skelton, co-chair of the staff LGBT+ network January 2016 – January 2019

University of Bristol at the Bristol Pride Awards

The University has a regular attendance at Bristol Pride, and each year we’ve made it bigger and better than ever. This was recognised on Saturday at the Pride Gala Ball, when we won an Award for the best Expo Stall at Pride!

Congratulations to Ellen, Simon, Basu and the huge group of students and staff who helped and supported the Pride stall and procession this year.

Roll on Pride 2019!