Students and staff came together in a huge show of #DMUpride as De Montfort University Leicester launched its annual month-long festival campaigning for and celebrating the LGBT community.
More than 200 people assembled in the Campus Centre atrium to see the official launch of the festival as esteemed academic Professor Julie Fish also announced the launch of the DMU Centre for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer (LGBTQ) Research.
The crowd then collected official #DMUpride t-shirts to demonstrate the university’s zero tolerance approach to homophobia and racism in sport. Members of the university’s sports clubs and societies will unite and wear the t-shirts to their training sessions and matches throughout February.
Now in its second year, the #DMUpride Festival features more than 20 events taking place across the campus and around the city centre.
Paris Lees - writer, broadcaster and passionate campaigner for better media representation of transgender people – will deliver a talk about her own experiences and her campaign to address the attitudes that transgender people face from society today.
Special screenings of the award-winning Tangerine and Oscar-nominated The Danish Girl will be screened at The Phoenix cinema. While true-life stories collated in the documentary Outings will receive its Leicester premiere at Curve.
A series of open lectures will address LGBT and human rights issues, showcasing the work of academic staff and research students, and a conference will highlight current research and collaborations at DMU. Students and staff are also invited to attend an LGBT comedy night as part of Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival
Jodie Fortuin, a second year Forensic Science student, said: “I think #DMUpride is important as it promotes understanding. I know lots of people come to DMU who may not have previously experienced gay culture and this is a great way to raise awareness.”
Lewis Thompson, third year Arts and Festivals Management student, booked trans rights campaigner Paris Lees as part of the annual Cultural Exchanges festival at DMU. She will be appearing at DMU in conjunction with #DMUpride.
Lewis said: “Our festival is about culture and culture should reflect people’s lives. It shows people how DMU positions itself in the world and celebrates everybody.”
Chrissy Spalding, a third year Nursing student and chairwoman of DMU Women’s Rugby Club (DMUWRFC) said teammates held a social event every month called Big Gay Friday.
She added: “#DMUpride is great because like our team it is inclusive of everyone. It is good for raising awareness in subjects like nursing too. #DMUpride makes you more aware of the diverse community you are treating and the importance of equality for everyone.”
Sam Galeckyj, a second year BA Business and Management student, is also a member of the DMU Lacrosse team and was sporting one of the #DMUpride t-shirts.
Sam said: “#DMUpride to me is about raising awareness so no people are discriminated against. It is quite simple to me really – all people should be treated the same. We get involved every year because it is important.”
DMU Lacrosse teammate Jack Hawkins, who is a third year studying BA (Hons) English and Journalism, said: “I think #DMUpride is all about people not being afraid to just be themselves. Having this launch is good as it shows we are doing something. We’re not just talking about it, we’re taking action!”
Professor Fish said: “There was an amazing atmosphere and I am delighted so many people were here to get the message out there about the festival.
“I am really excited about the new Centre for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer (LGBTQ) Research. We have a number of projects which will hopefully get underway this year about Europe, human rights, hospitals and asylum seekers.”
Posted on Tuesday 2nd February 2016