The Royal Veterinary College has been celebrating LGBT History Month throughout February by flying the rainbow flag on both our campuses, with the Chaplaincy arranging a Netflix streaming party of the film ‘Boy Erased’ followed by a discussion about conversion therapy, and the Students’ Union hosting an online talk on LGBTQ+ History with Ben Paites from Colchester and Ipswich museums..
In addition, given that we are all still separated by the current UK lockdown restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic we marked the end of LGBT History Month by asking our staff and students to submit photos of themselves from home wearing different colours of the rainbow.
This collection of photos was then used to form the LGBTQ+ flag. Organised by our Chaplain, the Revd. Andy Marshall, this involved nearly 100 staff and students coming together to make a visible statement of inclusion and support for the LGBT+ community.
Andy Marshall, our Chaplain and Interfaith Advisor, said, “We know that visibility and representation matters, and we know that the projects that we've done in previous years have meant something positive to people when they've joined the RVC. Visibility and representation are only part of the journey. We continue to aspire to be a safe space for all, and these projects are a part of that process.
I am delighted with the number of people that have participated in this year’s photo … it’s a tremendously affirming display, but I am also delighted at some of the personal actions that people have said they will commit to as a result of this project.
These actions will truly help make the RVC a safer and more inclusive space for all.”
We also asked our community what small action they could commit to this LGBTQ+ History Month that they will take forward with them, to build a safer and more inclusive community for our LGBTQ+ staff, students and friends. These we then used to create an inspiring video which was shared across social media.
Some of the commitments made were as follows:
"Educate myself and others on LGBT+ history."
"Being more proactive in supporting people, even when it makes me feel uncomfortable."
"Learning and using the correct pronouns (and not making assumptions about someone's pronouns)."
Quentin Wedmore, the Students’ Union President, added that, “RVCSU is glad to be celebrating LGBTQ+ history month this February at a time when raising awareness of equality and diversity issues has never been more important to us.”
And so, we continue to learn, to celebrate the diversity of our community and to commit to greater inclusion.