We at the University of Kent are committed to fostering a positive working environment where all staff are treated fairly, with dignity, courtesy, respect and consideration. All staff have a responsibility to create an environment that is free from harassment, bullying, unlawful discrimination and victimisation.
In recent years, the trans and non-binary community has become more visible in society and the public eye. We have been pleased to see increased awareness of the diversity of the trans community and increased understanding of the breadth of gender identities. Unfortunately, this increased visibility has come with increased hostility towards some members of the trans community.
Trans and non-binary people face discrimination and harassment:
- At work, including from colleagues, managers, customers and clients;
- In public, including verbal and physical abuse;
- Online, particularly on social media where targeted harassment, bullying and abusive comments and even attempts to find and share trans people’s previous names and current address are increasingly common;
- They also face barriers to accessing healthcare, such as long waiting lists for treatment, and transphobia.
We will not stand by while trans people are fighting discrimination every day on multiple fronts, and facing harassment and violence. We are committed to trans inclusion. Recent news events and discussions related to Stonewall have amplified the discussion, particularly online, and we have published our response to this confirming our continued membership of Stonewall. This response underlines our commitment to freedom of speech, academic freedom, and inclusion, which are all University values.
As an institution, we are committed to speaking out when we witness or hear transphobia, challenging decisions that exclude trans people, including ways of thinking that perpetuate a rigid gender binary, learning how best we can support our trans colleagues at all times and educating ourselves and those around us.
For members of our trans, nonbinary and intersex communities
Gender neutral toilets
We recognise that this is a particular concern for trans members of our community, and we have maps of both our Canterbury and Medway campuses highlighting the location of gender neutral toilets.
Join our communities – the Staff LGBT+ Network, Kent Union LGBTQ+ Network and Trans, non-binary, intersex and questioning peer support group are here to support you.
We fully support and encourage all our students and staff to report incidents of racism, harassment and discrimination.
This is though INK for Students or the Reporting Tool for Staff.
We recognise that it can be challenging to know how to support other members of our community facing discrimination and harassment or speaking out when we witness or hear transphobia. Below are some actions that you can take.
Update your email signatures
Add your pronouns to your email signature, (Pronouns means how you identify — he/him, she/her, they/them, for instance — and how you’d like other people to refer to you. This is a great, inclusive practice for everyone, even or especially if you’re cisgender – if you’re not sure what this means, Stonewall have put together a helpful glossary).
Active Bystander training
‘Active Bystander’ is an innovative and award-winning training session which gives staff and students the skills to challenge unacceptable behaviours, including those which may have become normalised over time.
We have three sessions planned which are 90 minutes long running in June/July and August all bookable via Staff Connect. Students have an online Bystander module that is part of the expect respect module within the student moodle.
The session includes:
- A video demonstrating bystander apathy
- References to high profile examples of inappropriate/unacceptable behaviour
- Decision-making techniques to help people overcome fear and self- doubt when faced with a challenging situation
- Assertiveness techniques to give them the confidence and tools to speak out, whether they are dealing with the challenge directly or calling for help from others.
Each session features four scenarios of negative behaviour, and there is group discussion and interactivity as part of this.
Learn more about the challenges members of our community face
Online training in Staff training Moodle on – Transgender Awareness and LGBTQI – these are easily accessible, available at any time and give an introduction to the challenges members of our community face. We recommend that all staff engage with these training opportunities.
Using the resources available removes the burden of questions, explanations and discussions from members of the trans community – the links below are an excellent starting point for people wanting to understand more.
Our LGBT+ network have a fantastic blog that covers ongoing news, events and challenges – stay up to date with the issues affecting the community.
Mermaids UK and Stonewall have easily accessible resources and Q&A that cover many of the relevant issues.