Improving LGBT+ inclusion
I’m Zyra Evangelista from the Philippines and I’m a second year PhD student in Psychology, focused on understanding anti-LGBT+ prejudice.
My ambition is to have LGBT+ equality and inclusion worldwide.
There are still a lot of places where LGBT+ inclusion is non-existent or where being LGBT+ is criminalised. I would like to help create a world that accepts and embraces diversity - a world where everyone, especially minority groups, can feel safe and can flourish wherever they are.
My first step towards achieving my ambition is to improve LGBT+ inclusion in higher education, which is what I’m focusing on in my PhD. My ambition is for universities to continue to push for progress through research and discourse and, at the same time, to exist as a safe space for individuals who are typically seen as minorities or different.
Visibility is important so as a Future World Changer, I’d like to provide a platform for marginalised groups such as LGBT+ people to be seen and be heard so that we can encourage more people to get involved, to stand up and speak out to support LGBT+ equality worldwide.
I want the general public to understand the importance of LGBT+ inclusion and to get them involved in the advocacy to effect concrete policy changes not only in the UK but in other parts of the world like the Philippines.
I also want members of the LGBT+ community to feel confident in knowing that they can ask and demand for what everyone else has access to, because that’s what equality and inclusion is.
Universities are like a microcosm of society so if we can make universities a safer and better place for LGBT+ students, then we can potentially translate that into wider society.
I chose to do my PhD at the University of Glasgow because I did my Masters’ here in 2012 and I had a great experience. Being in a progressive city like Glasgow and in a supportive and multicultural university such as UofG was instrumental in helping me embrace my identity.
Being a student here was a very formative experience in shaping my advocacy. After graduating from UofG in 2013, I returned to the Philippines and started being active in promoting LGBT+ equality and inclusion there.
I decided to come back to UofG for my PhD because it seems fitting to launch my world-changing ambition at the place that catalysed it.
My primary research interest is LGBT+ psychology because I like how it focuses on challenging prejudice and discrimination against LGBT+ people and the privileging of cis-heteronormativity in society.
I decided to focus on higher education in my PhD project because I think universities are a good place to start in for improving LGBT+ inclusion, because they are a hotspot for new ideas and discourse in various fields where different individuals from diverse backgrounds learn from each other.
Zy is one of the University of Glasgow’s Future World Changers: students with ambitions to improve lives across the globe. Follow their journeys using #UofGFWC.