LGBT+ Staff Network Trans Support Statement, June 2020

We stand FIRMLY with our trans colleagues and students! 

Following consultation, it has been reported that the UK government is planning to scrap proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 which would have removed the current costly, lengthy and humiliating process required to change one’s legal gender. If such reports are true, we condemn this decision, which is a step backwards for trans rights in the UK.  

Assertions made by a vocal minority that trans women are a sexual threat to cis women in singlesex spaces and that trans men are victims of an overbearing patriarchy are offensive in their assumptions and biases and do not listen to or take account of trans voicesThe idea that single-sex spaces are under threat is a straw man argument, especially as most single-sex spaces already operate on a de facto self-ID basis and rarely require legal evidence of one’s gender. Further, the changes the government had proposed to the GRA would have no impact on the continuing existence of single-sex spaces as these are covered by the Equality Act 2010. 

The University of Kent and its LGBT+ Staff Network stand with our trans and non-binary colleagues in calling for trans equality, with better support and recognition for trans and non-binary people and the struggles they face. We know that we, as an institution, still have work to do, but we are unequivocal in our aim to make the University of Kent a safe and welcoming place for staff and students of all genders and identities. 

Our message to the world is that trans people are welcome here, without fear of discrimination. Trans people are our colleagues, our students, our friends, and we stand with them every step of the way on the march towards true equality. 

If you would like to learn how to be an ally, or wish to find out more about the rights of trans and non-binary people, visit or 

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Rainbows in Religion Symposium 2020

On Wednesday 26th February 2020 we will be hosting the Rainbows in Religion event in Sibson Lecture Theatre 3. Aimed at students and staff alike, this event brings together speakers exploring topics relevant to both religious and LGBT+ communities, and offers an opportunity for discussion and networking.

The programme is available on our dedicated Rainbows in Religion page.

The event is free to attend. You can register your intent to attend on Eventbrite at

This symposium forms part of the network’s response to the University of Kent’s decision to host the Lambeth Conference 2020, in spite of the Anglican Communion’s exclusion of bishops’ same-sex spouses from the Spouses’ Conference.

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Network Lunches and Meetings

The next informal network lunch in Cantebury will be on Thursday 6th February 2020 12noon-2pm in the Gulbenkian Cafe.

The next informal network lunch in Medway will be on Monday 17th Feburary 2020 12noon-2m in the No1 Bistro.

The next formal meeting will be on Monday 18th May 2020. The Canterbury venue is to be confirmed. There will be a video link to room M1-16 in Medway.

Dates for other upcoming lunches and meetings can be found here.

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Official statement from the University of Kent’s LGBT+ Staff Network

In response to the University’s decision to host the Lambeth Conference 2020

Network members are deeply disappointed and hurt by the University’s decision to host the Lambeth Bishop’s Conference 2020 despite the Church’s decision to exclude same-sex spouses (see statement from 25 April 2019). The University should have cancelled hosting the Conference, because specifically excluding same-sex spouses is homophobic from the side of the church, and hosting the event on University premises facilitates this act of institutional homophobia. The Staff Network calls on the University to reconsider its decision to host Lambeth 2020 and to prioritise its commitment to LGBT+ students and staff alike on issues of equality, diversity, and inclusivity.

Should the University of Kent maintain its decision to host, the Staff Network calls on the University to withdraw its facilities and support for the discriminatory “spouses programme”. Those events should take place off campus. The University cannot uphold its commitment to values of equality, diversity, and inclusivity while allowing the discriminatory stream of the Lambeth Conference to go ahead.

The University’s statement from 26 April acknowledges “the hurt experienced by many people because of the decision to exclude same-sex spouses”. Cancelling support for the exclusionary and homophobic spouses programme would not only recognise that hurt, but actively mitigate it. It would be one very important and material step that the University of Kent can take to support its LGBT+ staff and students and to uphold its commitment to the values of equality, diversity, and inclusivity that the University says it stands for.

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Statement from Christin Hoene, Chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network, to Council

The following statement was read by the VC to Council at their meeting in April:

Given that I don’t know the details of yours and David’s meeting with the Archbishop and the ensuing developments of the discussion within and between the CoE and UoK, it is difficult for me to raise any practical positions at this point in time or formulate concrete advice to Council, as per the Network’s Terms of Reference. I trust that our meeting tomorrow will help us to clarify that.

But something has been on my mind these past few weeks that I would like to share with Council. And it is around the issue of hospitality. In its official statement from 26 March 2019, the University extends an invitation to the spouses of gay bishops; an invitation that the Church, as far as I know, has so far officially and explicitly declined. As Network Chair, I appreciate that.

However, that same invitation and that same offer of hospitality and welcome has been issued to bishops who either tacitly condone or openly support the persecution and criminalisation of LGBT+ people. In recent years, the Anglican churches in Uganda and Nigeria, for example, have actively supported the introduction of new, fiercer anti-homosexual legislation. As Dr Adriaan van Klinken from the University of Leeds outlines, they could do so without facing any ‘consequences’ for their role in the Anglican Communion.

Lambeth 2020 will take place over 11 days, from 23 July to 2 August 2020, and many of the events will be on campus. I ask Council to imagine what it must feel like for LGBT+ staff to go to work during the time of the conference; to share our place of work with people who passively or actively support anti-homosexuality laws, and who have been invited to our place of work. And I ask Council to consider the following: how will the University ensure that LGBT+ staff, and in particular LGBT+ staff involved in the hosting and catering of the Conference, will feel safe from discrimination at their place of work? What actions will the University undertake to commit to the values of diversity, equality, and inclusivity towards its LGBT+ staff?

In its official statement from 26 March, the University also states that we “place great value on diversity of opinion, open, respectful debate, recognition of difference, and the central role of constructive engagement and dialogue”. Personally, I believe that a debate about the validity of my identity as a gay woman is neither open, nor respectful. It is demeaning and dehumanising.

Thank you for your time.

Dr Christin Hoene
Chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network

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Official statement from the University of Kent’s LGBT+ Staff Network

The University of Kent’s LGBT+ Staff Network is deeply concerned about the University’s hosting of the 2020 Lambeth Bishop’s Conference. The Archbishop of Canterbury has explicitly chosen to single out bishops’ same sex spouses for exclusion. In a recent statement, the University has defended its decision to host the event despite this clear instance of institutional homophobia ( The University’s stance, as quoted in the article, is unacceptable and needs to be challenged. As a Staff Network we believe that the University should prioritise its commitment to students and staff alike on issues of equality, diversity, and inclusivity. Specifically targeting same-sex spouses and excluding them from the Lambeth Conference is homophobic from the side of the church, and hosting the event on University premises facilitates this act of homophobia.

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Gay as in Happy

We’re here, we’re queer, and we want to hear your stories!

The University of Kent’s LGBT+ Staff Network is looking to publish Gay as in Happy, a collection of interviews and personal stories that focus on LGBTQ+ members of staff, students, and the wider community.  Gay as in Happy will be published as a book and excerpts will be featured on social media platforms.

We want to provide a positive outlook on coming out and on being queer in a predominantly straight world.  Why?  Because it is crucial to live in hope and to know that a fulfilled life as a queer person is possible (and, dare we say it, desirable).  Sharing positive stories gives us hope and allows us to imagine happy endings for ourselves and for our loved ones.  Thus, hope becomes a radical act.  Because to imagine a better life is an important step towards creating a better life.

In order to make this happen, come and speak to us!  We are looking for contributors who want to share their positive experiences about coming out and being out.  If you would like to get involved, or to simply find out more, please email

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