University takes #DMUpride in our students with month-long festival

DMU is taking great Pride in its diversity by celebrating LGBT History Month.

#DMUpride-MAIN-PIC

The #DMUpride Festival was launched this week in the campus centre and more than 20 events are being staged throughout February to campaign for and celebrate the LGBT community at DMU and across the city.

The event comes as DMU’s commitment to equality was recognised by LGBT campaigning and lobbying group Stonewall which placed our university in its annual Top 100 Employers table for the first time.

DMU was placed 75th overall in the table, which was published last month, and is the 4th highest-placed university in the UK.

#DMUpride features a huge range of events which aims to involve as many people as possible from across the campus in the celebrations.

The month-long event includes free drop-in lunch sessions every day this week in The Lobby, Campus Centre, where there will also be screenings of films and TV programmes, a film festival with screenings in Curve and Phoenix Arts showing essential movies such as the critically acclaimed Pride and the documentary Game Changer which focuses on the life of Gareth Thomas, the first openly gay professional rugby player.

There are also comedy sessions, literary discussions and towards the end of the month there will be a showcase of some of the vital research being conducted by DMU academics into LGBT health.

The launch on Monday involved representatives from health organisations, Leicestershire Police, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, The Leicester LGBT Centre, of which DMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard is honorary president, DMU and DSU.

Rebecca Robson, Vice-President Welfare and Community at DSU, said: “We deliberately included far more cultural events and we are also focussing on celebrating our LGBT history.

“We also want to use this month to discuss how there are still inequalities in the community and there is still a need for change. When you see on the one hand that one of Angelina Jolie’s daughter’s wants to be a boy and it is news that is widely embraced and yet on the other you have the distressing story of a schoolgirl who hanged herself because of the anguish of coming out  it is indicative of why we need Pride. There is still work to be done.”

Paul Fitzgerald of Leicester LGBT Centre added: “Pride is important because we have to keep moving things forward. Things have improved but we cannot afford to take our eye of the ball.

“If that happens we could just as easily move backwards as we can forwards.”

Sarah Thomson, chair of DMU LGBT staff network, said: “The thing that people often say about DMU is that they are proud of our diversity. That is one of our great strengths. Events such as this increase the awareness that everyone is welcome here and we have space for people to talk about their own personal journeys.

“This month is very much about our LGBT students. They are not LGBT in isolation. They are also women, they are from the BME community, they are students together. What we are doing is recognising that this month is a celebration of the LGBT aspects of what makes them the people they are.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard said: “One of the things I am most proud of at DMU is our diverse university community.

“It is important that we celebrate and champion that diversity and that we continue to have conversations about LGBT rights and the history of the movement.

“DMU’s first OUT-Takes week offers an opportunity to do that with films, plays and comedy nights, alongside one of the first academic conferences to showcase current LGBT research.

“I would encourage students, staff and anyone interested to come along to these events.” 

Posted on Tuesday 3rd February 2015

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