LGBTQ+ allyship

Published: 2 May 2018

To mark Pride month, IHW's Athena SWAN LGBTQ+ group highlights the important role of allyship in challenging homophobia, biophobia and transphobia

June is PRIDE Month. Unfortunately, many activities have been moved online or are planned for later in the year. Challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia doesn’t go away, however.

Photo of trans and lgbt flags

Here, IHW's Athena Swan LGBTQ+ group has been working for a year, now with Co-Chairs Fi Caryl and Caroline Haig. We would like to do more but need more members, so please consider joining us as we work for an inclusive and welcoming IHW community. We are a diverse group, with colleagues from LGBTQ+ communities and cis-het allies.

Those of us who are allies also have an important role, to challenge and address negative views and attitudes when we come across them and to support LGBTQ+ colleagues, if needed.

Kate O’Donnell is IHW’s first safe-ally. She says:

"I’m an ally, both professionally and personally. My first child is a non-binary lesbian, my younger daughter is bisexual. I had always considered myself an ally, but the personal experience of talking to them about life as part of the LGBTQ+ community has taught me much – about attitudes, about acceptance, about our daily language. For example, I have learned to think much more carefully about pronoun use. I don’t always get things right, but I’m very happy to be corrected. I believe that the IHW LGBTQ+ group has important work to do and that we can make the Institute a positive environment for everyone."

If anyone wants to discuss incidents or personal experience in confidence with Kate, please email her at Kate.O’

Our LGBTQ+ Athena Swan safe allies exist to ensure the SHW is a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for everyone. They champion LGBTQ+ issues and are available as a safe and confidential point of contact for anyone wishing to discuss any concerns. For more serious matters, we encourage contact with the university-appointed respect advisers.

For more information about our group or to volunteer to join us, email Useful resources can be found at Empowering You as an LGBT+ Scientist and Practising Active LGBT+ Allyship.

First published: 2 May 2018