LGBT+ Related Information for Staff

Rainbow Flag 2015

LGBT+ Network

LGBT+ Network – The University of Glasgow Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender + Network was one of the first in Higher Education in Scotland. The network welcomes all academic and non-academic staff, PhD students. The network aims to provide a welcoming environment in which LGBT staff can:

  • meet regularly for social events; 
  • discuss LGBT issues in a safe space; 
  • receive information about relevant LGBT events within and outwith the University.
  • inform University policy with respect to LGBT equality and diversity; representatives attend the Gender and Sexual Diversity Equality Group.

University of Glasgow's Gender and Sexual Diversity Group

The Gender and Sexual Diversity Equality Group is chaired by the University’s Gender and Sexual Diversity Equality Champion and has staff and student representatives. The group acts as a channel of communication where issues affecting LGBT people can be raised and addressed or referred to appropriate bodies for action.

Staff LGBT+ Role Models

The University believes individuals can inspire and empower others to change the world. Our staff Role Models share their experiences of being LGBT+ in their workplaces at the University and aim to show that being yourself should never be a barrier to success.

Photograph of Professor Dee Heddon

Name: Professor Dee Heddon

Role: James Arnott Chair in Drama; Director of the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities; Deputy Head of College of Arts
Length of time at the University of Glasgow:   13 years
Identity: Cis lesbian

What drew you to working at University of Glasgow?
I completed my undergraduate degree and PhD here. I worked at the University of Exeter for seven years but was keen to return to Scotland, the city of Glasgow and my alma mater, so I jumped when the opportunity became available. I think the University is a great place to work and in large part that’s because it is firmly embedded in meaningful partnerships with diverse organisations across the city. It’s a privilege to be part of a university committed to its civic role. 

How can employers support their LGBT+ staff?
Well, this is a great initiative for starters! It is important that LGBT+ students and staff are visible on campus, have a voice and a presence and can be themselves with pride and without fear. We are, after all, everywhere! I love it when the rainbow flag is flown on campus, signalling for all the university’s pride in its LGBT+ community. That the University has appointed Equality Champions from across the most senior management team is also excellent practice. The LGBT+ Equality Champion is my colleague Professor Roibeard O Maolalaigh, VP and Head of the College of Arts. Robby demonstrates through his very active commitment the important role played by allies in the ongoing struggles for greater equality. Everyone has a part to play.

Why is it important to have role models?
While great progress has been made in both cultural and legislative terms in relation to LGBT+ equality, homophobia and unconscious biases against LGBT+ people remain a fact of life. Young people - and not so young people! - are still scared to name and claim their LGBT+ identities and live authentic lives (lives that in turn are more liveable and fulfilling). I am a lesbian. Here I am, occupying a number of senior roles in our University and hopefully making a positive contribution. I have been with my partner for nearly 25 years. I’m proud of that too! 

How do you represent LGBT+ experiences in your teaching?
None of the courses I teach at the moment is singularly focused on LGBT+ experiences. However, in all of my courses and lectures I include examples or case studies of LGBT+ work, whether that is radical queer performance that challenges notions of binary gender or activist theatre which uses the words of real people to make visible ongoing oppression and inequalities and the very real - lived - impacts of those. Theatre is an immensely powerful tool through which to engage both hearts and minds and it is important that the students I work with are alert to that.

What do you think has been the most significant step toward LGBT+ Equality so far?
Well, we have yet to see it in practice but I think the Scottish Government’s commitment to LGBTI inclusive education marks a significant milestone in the journey from the hate signalled by Section 28

The Equality Act of 2010, which made discrimination on the basis of sexuality unlawful, is an important historical marker too. It offers not only a cultural indicator of what is now socially unacceptable but a framework for redress in the face of discrimination.

Is there any advice you would give a member of staff thinking of coming out?
You won’t be alone! There are lots of us here. If you are worried about negative impacts, know that the University has in place robust policies and processes which are there to protect you and colleagues from across the LGBT+ community are also there to support you. You could be a role model for our students and other colleagues. Together, we can be the difference we want to see.

Photograph of Aidan Robson

Name: Professor Aidan Robson

Role:  Professor of Particle Physics
Length of time at University of Glasgow:  
15 years
Identity:   Gay man
What drew you to working at University of Glasgow?
Towards the end of my DPhil, the perfect Post-Doc position was advertised at Glasgow.  I got it!  Next with a personal Research Fellowship; and later as an academic member of staff, my research work has been focused on different facilities around the world, including the discovery of the Higgs boson and designing the next generation of particle collider. University of Glasgow has been an excellent and extremely supportive base throughout.

How can employers support their LGBT+ staff?
They can embed their support at all levels starting from inclusive institutional policies to perhaps most importantly, trying to ensure a good culture locally in the Schools and Institutes.  People need to feel able to be their whole selves when they do research, teach, work, or study; and an inclusive environment is imperative to that.  While this may be led by Heads of School and line managers, it's shaped by everyone in the University, in our everyday attitudes towards our colleagues.

Why is it important to have role models?
I'm not sure how comfortable anyone is with the idea of being a role model!  But I hope that by being a visible, senior, LGBT+ member of the University and scientific communities, I can encourage people joining that they can succeed here, whoever they are, without feeling the need to conceal aspects of their identity for fear of somehow not fitting in.

How do you represent LGBT+ experiences in your work/teaching?
By giving talks, recording videos, doing interviews, and participating in events and social media campaigns related to being LGBT+ in STEM.  Also, for example, by adding the LGBT+ group oSTEM to physics course guides.  Perhaps there isn't much opportunity in an undergraduate physics curriculum for discussing personal perspectives, feelings, and values directly, as I imagine there could be in other disciplines.  But ultimately, science is done by people!  I hope that being visible and willing to talk about it helps encourage others who are LGBT+, and widen the perspectives of everyone else.
What do you think has been the most significant step toward LGBT+ Equality so far?
In my adult life: probably the repeal of Section 28 in Scotland in 2000, which had prevented any mention of LGBT+ issues in schools.  It was awful for teenagers.  It has taken a while to feed through, but I'm happy and amazed at the wonderful initiatives, both in individual schools around Scotland, and more widely like the TIE (Time for Inclusive Education) campaign, which has improved education for young people now.

Is there any advice you would give a member of staff thinking of coming out?
Great! For me, I wouldn't have it any other way. But quite a few of my LGBT+ friends are not really out at work, and I can understand that. And unfortunately, coming out isn't a one-time thing, it keeps recurring.  However, Scotland now is a good place and time to be LGBT+.  I hope we can all help to reinforce that. If you're thinking about coming out you should do whatever you feel comfortable doing, but know that there's plenty of support here.

Photograph of Nicole Kipar

Name: Mx Nicole Kipar

Role: Deputy Director Academic & Digital Development in the Learning Enhancement & Academic Development Service (LEADS)
Length of time at University of Glasgow:   2 years
Identity: Asexual Agender

What drew you to working at University of Glasgow?
My role sounded very interesting, which was the first and foremost motivator. The University also has an excellent reputation, which I have found to be true.

How can employers support their LGBT+ staff?
Through representation, visibility, and policies that ensure that the environment is safe and welcoming for its staff. It’s also about trust, and part of that trust is that if someone experiences negativity in relation to their identity, staff can feel assured that measures are in place to combat that.

Why is it important to have role models?
It’s all about representation once more and all about visibility. When I was growing up, and even when I was a student, I had no one “like me” that I knew of. Thus I figured that I wasn’t real, that I must be doing something wrong or misunderstanding something that made me feel the way I did. Had I known that people exist who have no interest in sexual relations, and who don’t feel like either or any gender, my life would have been very different. I wish I had had role models and representation; I wish I had known that I was not “broken” but perfectly fine; I wish I had not desperately tried to fit both societal expectations and the expectations of those around me. At least what I thought was all around me. Representation supports the normalisation and the realisation that we humans exists in a fantastic kaleidoscope of variety: not binary, and not all sexual either.

I would have chosen they/them instead of she/her if this had been an option (that I’d been aware of) back when I was young. As it is, I have been she/her for 50 years and the pronouns have become a comfortably worn slipper. I don’t like the design of the slipper, but it’s been worn so long, it has become mine. Thus I use she/her but only because I am so used to it.

How do you represent LGBT+ experiences in your work?
I am open about who I am, and vocal about the fact that I don’t give a doodah about anyone’s gender identity, sexuality, or whatever else. All I care about is that someone is kind, what more would one need? I am thus hoping to encourage everyone I come in contact with to be their authentic selves, because I will respect and embrace that self – with the caveat that they should be kind.

What do you think has been the most significant step toward LGBT+ Equality so far?
Where do I even start? From watching Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Relax’ video for the first time in 1984 as a teenager, and feeling as if my mind exploded with all the possibilities of being, to cheering on the folks carrying the huge trans flag at a Scottish Pride march. So much has happened in between. Most importantly was decriminalisation, followed by legal protection, including discrimination becoming illegal. Then, of course, mainstream media: I remember the first same sex kiss in a German soap opera in 1990, which heralded a slow but steady increase in inclusion and representation. It’s all about visibility.

Is there any advice you would give a member of staff thinking of coming out?
I am working with so many wonderfully varied people, with all kinds of identities, which I hope is true for every area in the University. I feel that the University of Glasgow is a warm and welcoming place, so if you are wondering about coming out, why don’t you join the LGBT+ Facebook group and dip your toes in the water and see how you might feel.


If you work at the University and would like to nominate a staff member as a Role Model, please contact the LGBT+ Staff Network  

Supporting our LGBT+ colleagues in their careers

Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people bring value to organisations by providing a different set of experiences and perspectives. The University recognises the benefits of these perspectives and may support suitable candidates for the following programmes, as part of our Diversity Champion programme participation. 

If you think these programmes are for you, please review Stonewall's programme information to find out more then speak to your line manager. 

LGBT Leadership programme

This two-day residential programme brings together senior leaders who identify as LGBT from across a range of sectors and industries. You will reflect on what it means to be an authentic leader and explore how to create a more inclusive culture within your organisation.

Stonewall Scotland LGBT Role Models Programme

Stonewall Scotland believes in the power of stories to inspire individuals and empower people to create change. Read their Scottish Role Models guide which aims to highlight the diversity of Scotland’s LGBT community and show that being yourself should never be a barrier to career success.

Supporting a colleague or student to Transition gender?

Find out what you need to know if you are supporting a staff member or student who is transitioning gender. 

There is a lot of information out there, some of it specific to Higher and Further Eduction too.

The EDU can assist you but please take the time to review the following resources.

LGBT+ and going abroad to work?

Make sure you know what to expect before you go.  You can do some research by using these external websites.  Although these external sources are reputable, please use this information with caution.

If you have concerns speak to your line manager.  


FCO's LGBT Foreign Travel Advice (with additional external resource links)

FCO's Foreign Travel Advice  - For the latest travel advice by country including safety and security, entry requirements, travel warnings and health.  Find the country you are considering visiting, and click on the 'Local Laws and Customs' link.

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association - Every year, ILGA produces maps on Gay and Lesbian rights in the world as well as its State Sponsored Homophobia report. You can download them from their site.

Transgender Support Groups have contact details for many global support groups.

AIG have developed a page for LGBTQ Travel Safety Tips.

Check out the latest University's Pre-Departure Guide for students going abroad as part of their studies.

Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champion

The University of Glasgow is proud to be a Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champion displaying our commitment to equality for LGBT staff, students and potential staff and students.

As a Diversity Champion we have access to best practice in policy and procedure development, networking opportunities with other organisations, and an opportunity to bench mark ourselves against competitors.

Stonewall DC Black on White

Pronouns and LGBT+ Terminology


What is a pronoun?
A pronoun is a word that refers to either the people talking (I or you) or someone or something that is being talked about (like she, it, them, and this).

Gender pronouns (he/she/they/ze etc.) specifically refer to people that you are talking about or is the pronoun that a person uses for themself.

OK, so what's a Gender Neutral Pronoun?
A gender neutral or gender inclusive pronoun is a pronoun which does not associate a gender with the individual who is being discussed.

Gender-neutral pronouns are helpful because they allow you to speak to and about individuals without making what might be incorrect assumptions about their gender identity. Using gender-neutral pronouns allows you to include all people when you speak, and encourages others to do the same.

What are some commonly used pronouns?
She/her/hers and he/him/his are a few commonly used pronouns. Some people may chose to use they/them/their.  People will be familiar using these words to refer to groups, but they can also be used to refer to a singular person instead of he/him/his or she/her/hers.  

For example: "They (meaning just Ashley) emailed over all the information you need" or "Ashley sent their notes around before the class" and "Ashley needs that report, can you print it off for them?"

Find other examples of pronouns at

How do I ask someone what pronouns they use?
Asking and correctly using someone’s pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity. If you are unsure of a colleague's or student's preferred pronoun, first and foremost you should listen, both to them and any others close to the individual who may use the correct pronouns.  If in doubt, respectively ask which pronoun the person uses.

Try asking: “What pronouns do you use?” or “Can you remind me what pronouns you use?” It can feel awkward at first, but it is not half as awkward as making an assumption.

If you are asking as part of an introduction exercise and you want to quickly explain what gender pronouns are, you can try something like this: “Tell us your name, where you come from, and your pronouns. That means the pronouns that you use in reference to yourself."

What if I make a mistake?
It’s okay! Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. The best thing to do, if you use the wrong pronoun for someone, is to say something right away, like “Sorry, I meant (insert pronoun)”

If you realise your mistake after the fact, apologise in private and move on.  It can be tempting to go on and on about how bad you feel that you made the mistake or how hard it is for you to get it right. Please don’t! It is inappropriate and makes the person who was misgendered feel awkward and responsible for comforting you.

Why is it important to respect people’s pronouns?
When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, and alienated.  Repeated and purposefully using an incorrect pronoun however, constitutes bullying and harassment.

What can I do to make it easier for others, even if I use the more commonly used pronouns?
1. Indicating your preferred pronouns in your email signature helps to normalise an action that makes it easier for transgender and non-binary members of our community to express themselves. It also helps other people feel confident that they are addressing you, as you wish them to. 

2. You may hear one of your students or colleagues using the wrong pronoun for someone. In most cases, it is appropriate to gently correct them without further embarrassing the individual who has been misgendered. This means saying something like “Alex uses the pronoun she,” and then moving on.

3.  If others are consistently using the wrong pronouns for someone, do not ignore it. It is important to let those who have been misgendered know that you are their ally.  It may be appropriate to approach the individual who has been misgendered and say something like “I noticed that you were being referred to with the wrong pronoun earlier, and I know that can be really hurtful. Would you be okay with me taking them aside and reminding them about your pronouns?” Follow up if necessary, but take your cues from the comfort level of the individual. Your actions will be greatly appreciated. 



There are a wide range of words and terms that people may use to describe themselves, their identity, and their experience. It is important to note that the language and terminology used is constantly evolving and shifting, as communities and individuals develop new ways to articulate their identities and experiences. 

Gay: Refers to a man who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards men. Also a generic term for lesbian and gay sexuality - some women define themselves as gay rather than lesbian.

Lesbian: Refers to a woman who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards women.

Bi: Bi is an umbrella term used to describe a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards more than one gender. Bi people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including, but not limited to, bisexual, pan, queer, and other non-monosexual identities.

Homosexual: This might be considered a more medical term used to describe someone who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards someone of the same gender. The term ‘gay’ is now more generally used.

Cis or Cisgender: Someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth. Non-trans is also used by some people.

Gender Identity: A person’s innate sense of their own gender, whether male, female or something else (see non-binary below), which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned at birth.

Gender Expression: How a person chooses to outwardly express their gender, within the context of societal expectations of gender. A person who does not confirm to societal expectations of gender may not, however, identify as trans.

Trans: This was the term most commonly used by participants to describe their status, identity or experience. 'Trans' quite literally means to go beyond or across, and its use in this context originates from the words 'transgender' and 'transsexual' - to traverse gender and / or sex. 'Trans' generally functions as an umbrella term to describe the experience / status of being a different gender from the gender assigned at birth.

  • Trans woman is an identity term used by some women who were assigned male at birth. Some people also use MtF (male-to-female) to describe their experience / identity. Likewise, some people use the term trans feminine to describe their experience / identity of being a trans person who was assigned male at birth, but does not solely identify as a woman.
  • Trans man is an identity term used by some men who were assigned female at birth. Some people also use FtM (female-to-male) to describe their experience. Likewise, some people use the term trans masculine to describe their experience / identity of being a trans person who was assigned female at birth, but does not solely identify as a man.

Non-Binary: Describes identities that do not fit into the man/woman binary. Other terms include genderqueer and genderfluid.

Transgender: Similarly to 'trans', transgender also describes the experience / status of being a different gender from the gender assigned at birth. Increasingly, the short-form term - 'trans' - seems to be preferred and used most widely.

Transsexual: This term is sometimes used by people who change, or intend to change, aspects of their bodily sex. Whilst 'transsexual' has somewhat fallen out of popular usage in the UK, this term is still an important means for many people to articulate their experience. 'Transsexual' is not a derogatory term when used as self-identification, yet the term is not necessarily favoured or used by everyone.

Person of trans experience is sometimes used by people to denote that they have or have had a trans/transgender/transsexual experience, but this is not central to their identity. Similarly, person with a trans history is sometimes used by people who have had a trans/transgender/transsexual experience, and regard this as just another factor of their history, life and experience.

Agender and no gender are terms used by some people to describe feeling outside of or without gender. 

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