A month-long celebration of De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) dedication to diversity starts next week for LGBT History Month.
Now in its second year, the #DMUpride Festival features more than 20 events which will campaign for and celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Taking place across the university and city centre, events include the opening of the university’s Centre for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer (LGBTQ) Research which will be led by centre director and esteemed DMU academic Professor Julie Fish.
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.
To demonstrate DMU’s zero tolerance approach to homophobia and racism in sport, members of the university’s sports clubs and societies will unite and wear a #DMUpride kit to their training sessions and matches throughout February.
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.
#DMUpride will be officially launched in the Campus Centre at DMU on Tuesday 2 February at 1.30pm by Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard which is open to everyone to attend.
Sarah Thomson, DMU Director of Strategic Partnerships and co-chair of the LGBT staff network, said: “DMUpride makes me incredibly proud to be a member of staff at the university. We have pulled together events that really reflect the diversity of our staff and students and should also be great fun to attend.
“LGBTQ community members are still facing discrimination on a daily basis and events like #DMUpride use a really positive celebratory feel to challenge some of that discrimination and to champion the variety, creativity and influence of an LGBTQ identity.’
Second year Creative Writing and English Literature student and LGBTQ+ DSU representative, Daniel Murgatroyd, said: "With the DMU Campus being a safe space, it is important that LGBT History Month is acknowledged, both as a celebration of how far we have come, as well as a reminder of what still needs to change.
“The variety of #DMUpride events will highlight both of these, as well as provide an opportunity for different groups to come together and work towards a brighter future for all."
The launch on 2 February will unveil DMU’s Centre for LGBTQ Research, following last year’s ground-breaking research into the experiences of LGBT people and approaches to improve their health and wellbeing, showcased at a high-profile conference organised by Professor Julie Fish.
Professor Fish said: “We are thrilled to be opening our Centre for LGBTQ Research, which is just one of three such centres in the country. Uniquely, it will be dedicated to raising the profile of work to improve the health and social care needs of LGBTQ individuals.
“The centre will provide a high-profile platform for current DMU research in this field and act as a focal point for people to come together and develop the future LGBTQ research agenda. It will bring together academic and student researchers from different disciplines in the university, exploring new subject areas, as well as innovative approaches such as arts-based and visual methodologies in research.”
DMU’s commitment to equality and diversity has been recognised for the second year running in the prestigious Stonewall Top 100 Employers league table, an annual audit of workplace culture for LGBT staff. DMU climbed 17 spaces in the table released last month, placing it at 58th in the list of the UK’s top 100 employers.
Posted on Friday 29th January 2016