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New students reminded to look at gay-friendly university guide

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  1. Simon Murphy 18 Aug 2010, 6:09pm

    Stonewall wrote this guide.

    Stonewall do not support marriage equality for same sex couples.

    This guide by Stonewall should therefore be regarded with deep suspicion.

    In light of their refusal to support LGBT equality, then all their activities should be distrusted.

    Thanks to their utter lack of transparency in how they determine their agenda, then who knows whether or not they have accepted backhanders in writing this guide.

  2. Yes, and to be honest it’s not clear to me how useful compiling this ‘guide’ is anyway. University prospectuses contain info on contact numbers etc. for LGBT societies. All universities I know are ‘welcoming’ to gays and lesbians. For many young people, going to university is the first real taste of genuine freedom and independence they’ve had. The guide includes info on “whether staff are trained in diversity issues.” What on Earth could this mean? It sounds idiotically PC, whatever it is. (I’m an academic and a gay man and I’m pleased to say that I’ve been spared “training in diversity issues”. I can assure the creators of this guide that this makes me no less ‘welcoming’ to any of my students, and no less able as a tutor.)

  3. Paul Brownsey 18 Aug 2010, 8:22pm

    Well, Simon Murphy, I didn’t get any backhanders from Stonewall when I wrote to draw their attention to the fact that Glasgow University gave an honorary degree to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, who had gone out of his way to condemn moves towards gay equality.

    From the fact that Stonewall has one stance that you and I disagree with, namely, on marriage equality, it does not follow that *everything* they do is tainted by the devil.

  4. Paul Brownsey 18 Aug 2010, 8:28pm

    Well, Simon Murphy, I didn’t get any backhanders from Stonewall when I wrote to draw their attention to the fact that Glasgow University gave an honorary degree to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, who had gone out of his way to condemn moves towards gay equality.

    From the fact that Stonewall has one stance that you and I disagree with, namely, on marriage equality, it does not follow that *everything* they do is tainted by the devil. Demonic wickedness is not so readily established.

    JohnnyH, I am a retired academic and I was horrified to to be told, about six years ago, of a student who, having asked his tutor for an extension of time for an essay because he had just come out to his parents and been thrown out, was told, “I am not anti-gay but, you know, there are places you can go to get cured.” A bit of ‘training in diversity issues’, ugly though the phrase is, might have prevented that.

  5. Simon Murphy 19 Aug 2010, 12:45am

    Paul – Stonewall blatantly refuse to support marriage equality for LGBT people.

    Why not?

    I simply refuse to trust the motives of an organisation which thinks I do not deserve equality.

    Stonewall is a homophobic organisation.

    Trust them at your peril.

  6. Paul Brownsey, that’s a truly horrifying story if it’s true. (I’m not sure if “training” would change that person’s attitude if he were that stupid, but never mind.) It’s unbelievably crass, if said seriously. Of course, there are tales like this that go around in academia, and one is never sure if they are based on anything…

  7. Avoid all Birmingham universities, young people. It’s full of VERY straight students terrified about upsetting their parents’ expectations. Hate to have to say it but if you’re gay or lesbian it’s best to head for certain universities in London or a university anywhere in the country where there’s lots of students from well-to-do arty families as they’re already pretty liberated and open-minded when they arrive and they don’t spend the whole three years hiding their homosexuality!

  8. Galadriel1010 19 Aug 2010, 11:29am

    It’s a bit late anyway, as this years application process closed in February, and anyone applying now is going through clearing, to the university that will take them.
    Sounds like good timing, unless you’re familiar with the university application process.
    Besides, having looked at what it said about my university (and in general), it’s possibly not that useful anyway.

    @Damian: But a Birmingham university has the advantage of being in Birmingham. Big city universities are good, because you’ve got the big city to fall back on.

    Lol, my recaptcha is ‘Policymaking pastors’. Relevant, if not for this article

  9. Paul Brownsey 19 Aug 2010, 11:38am

    JohnnyH, here are some details.

    I was organizer of a philosophy class of about 500 students. The student came to me asking for an extension of time for his essay. He did not mention to me the coming-out and his parents’ reaction, but referred to personal problems that had led him to flee to London for a few days to get his head together.

    He had a tutor in philosophy over whom I had supervision. The student got on well with his tutor and told her that in a different subject, when he had asked for an extension on account of his parents’ reaction to his coming out, his tutor in the other subject had said, “Well, I am not anti-gay but there are places where you can get cured.”

    That’s a bit more than one of the “tales that go around in academia”.

    Further, last February I gave a talk to the student LGBTsoc at Glasgow Uni about the founding of the first gaysoc back in 1975. Some students told me that even today they would be scared if their tutors knew they were gay. I used to urge the student LGBTsoc to campaign in the University to get it formally recognised that, for instance, a male student who had broken up with his boyfriend would be treated no differently from a male student who had broken up with his girlfriend (students being apt to plead broken hearts to excuse poor marks). The LGBTsoc president told me they couldn’t do that because their constituion restricted them to social functions.

  10. Paul Brownsey 19 Aug 2010, 11:50am

    Simon Murphy, quote a lot of people on this board seem to think that because Stonewall won’t support marriage equality then everything it does is tainted – the organization should be shunned, avoided, shut down, the ground ploughed over its ruins and Ben Summerskill burned as the devil’s accomplice. I can sometimes feel the temptation of such demonising but on the whole try to resist it. Most human beings and most human organizations are a mixture of good and bad.

    In fact, Stonewall probably isn’t riddled with evil from top to bottom and does some good things for which it should be encouraged. Why not do as I did this year? – sent a contribution but told them it was less than in previous years because of their attitude to marriage equality. The response was a note inviting me to ‘phone Ben Summerskill about that.

  11. @Paul Brownsey
    It’s a fascinating (and slightly horrifying) story. I can only hope (and I do in fact believe) that that sort of response is uncommon. At Cardiff university, students are told – and I too tell them – about who to go to if they have any doubts or complaints or just questions concerning their tutors. This, hopefully, should mean that such attitudes can come to light (the fact that the student did report this tutor’s attitude shows that he realised that it was weird, shocking and unacceptable). I agree that that particular tutor should be re-educated at the “Death Camp of Tolerance” (from South Park!) – though even he would probably reject what he was told – silly man!

    Of course, I’m a gay man and occasionally (when the matter has arisen in the course of conversation) I’ve referred to this when speaking to my students. Personally, I don’t feel I need to be re-educated in anything. I truly think this goes for the vast majority of academics – certainly in the department where I work at Cardiff. The solution is: everyone should come to Cardiff, which is, in any case, a wonderful city.

  12. the reason this guide is tainted is not because it’s to do with Stonewall but rather because there are many instances where stonewall did not actually contact Universities and Unions to clarify things. As the recently departed LGBT Officer for Staffordshire University SU I was not consulted or even contacted by Stonewall about this… as a result they have incorrect contact info for our society (even though it’s on our union website clear as day) they have also said we don’t do things that we most definitely do. I know we do because I spent the last 2 years campaigning and building links precisely so we would be doing them.

    Take the guide with a pinch of salt and if you really want the real story on whats going on at your prospective Uni find their union website and contact their society or student activities department.

  13. Hi, in my opinion, it is a good idea to have a kindergarten, school, and university, that, is based on the gender neutral philosophy, Good Luck

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