Margo Lindsay and myself attended the equality and diversity forum for the workshop for sexual orientation and gender identity on the 12th November on behalf of Havering College. I found the day to be insightful and motivating. It was especially helpful hearing about the projects that are happening at other colleges and this gave us the opportunity to learn from others and their own unique projects, additionally it was fantastic to learn about all the resources that are available to us and we will be using them within our own project and it was a good networking opportunity. It was an amazing chance for myself to see the full potential of our project and to see for myself the support and resources we have available from the Forum. It was great being able to share Havering College's plans for the year and to discuss our project with others and have taken on board all the advice we received. It was also fantastic to personally meet Seth Atkin as he is our 'critical friend' on our project and we hope to work closely with him over the coming year.
We have started the workshops for both students and staff, the staff workshops have had an overwhelmingly positive response and staff members already feel more confident combating and dealing with discrimatory language and behaviors. The student workshops are taking place in tutorials and staff members can elect their groups for additional workshops if a problem has been identified. Genderdefinition specific curriculum areas are being targeted in particular as it has been noted that homophobic language has and can be prolific within these classes, an example of this is within the colleges hair and beauty department where students are going to have workshops focusing on LGBT awareness including a focus on trans people and the difficulties faced in a hair and beauty environment. We are also looking at involving the LGBT group in writing surveys to measure the impact of these tutorials, as well as surveys to compare the views of students at the start and end of the academic year. We will be working closely with the PARIS LGBT youth group in Newham for our multimedia project in January and are eagerly anticipating welcoming external speakers and charities to the college for both the project and for LGBT history month.
Grace Lloyd - LGBT Officer for the Student's Union for Havering College