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Annual #DMUpride conference attracts LGBT experts from far and wide

The critical issue of mental health and wellbeing among LGBT communities is the primary focus of the third annual #DMUpride conference hosted by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

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Dr Ruth McNair, Baroness Liz Barker and DMU's Professor Julie Fish

Academic researchers, LGBT professionals and mental health service users are coming together on Tuesday 28 February, to round-off the series of topical #DMUpride events taking place during LGBT History Month.

The conference highlights current research and collaborations through talks, Q&A sessions and workshops, with a particular emphasis on homeless LGBT people and the mental health of non-binary, young and transgender people.

It comes just one month after DMU’s commitment to equality and diversity has been recognised again in the prestigious Stonewall Top 100 Employers league table. The annual audit of workplace culture for LGBT staff in the UK ranks DMU in 39th position and in the top three performing universities.

Professor Julie Fish, Director of DMU’s Centre for LGBTQ Research, said: “Our conference forms an important milestone in acknowledging LGBT people’s right to health. For too long, LGBT people have been considered by medicine to be unhealthy.

“It brings together students, staff, the local community and the voluntary sector to innovatively and collaboratively improve the mental health and well-being of LGBT communities from all walks of life.”

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DMU's Dr Zowie Davy

Baroness Liz Barker, founder of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT rights and chair of the Parliamentary Gender Identity Forum, is outlining why conversations about mental health in LGBTQ communities are necessary.

Travelling over 10,000 miles from Australia to talk at the conference, Dr Ruth McNair - an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne’s Department of General Practice – is addressing homelessness and mental health among LGBT communities.

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DMU’s Dr Zowie Davy, who is exploring social movements in transgender mental health, said: “I’ll be acknowledging that the prevalence of mental health issues are higher in trans communities than seen in wider society, but that these issues need not be related to their gender identification.”

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Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett

Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University Dr Liz McDermott is sharing findings of the recent national study she led, Queer Futures: Preventing LGBTQ youth suicide and self-harm.

Tackling the lack of appropriate education for schoolchildren and the complications this results in for LGBTQ people is campaigner and activist Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, the first openly HIV+ candidate to stand at a UK General Election in 2015.

The conference ends with engaging workshops led by PhD students at DMU Zaqia Rehman and Michelle Grimwood, as well as Sam Hope, a non-binary and queer transgender counsellor and trainer.

Sam said: “Non-binary identities present an enormous challenge to the current paradigm, and have yet to achieve the civil rights afforded to other trans people.

“However, if non-binary identities and the uncertainty they present us with are embraced, perhaps this could benefit not just the trans community, but our wider thinking about gender and gender oppression, as well as self and identity.”

Posted on Friday 24th February 2017

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