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LGBTQI FAQ

Gay? Lesbian? Bisexual or Trans? How can we support you?

Whether you thinking about coming to Salford or you are already a student here, we want to ensure that we provide the very best support possible for all our students. The university understands that LGBT students can face different barriers to success at university and for that reason we have a number of measures to support you. Salford has been rated one of the best universities in terms of supporting LGBT staff and students by Stonewall and the Pink Paper. We are proud of these accolades and want to continue to improve the Student Life of our LGBT Students. If you have any suggestions on how we can continue to improve or have any problems or issues please email Arron Pile, Student & Graduate Diversity Officer, askUS: a.pile@salford.ac.uk.

LGBT

The University prides itself on being a welcoming place for all students and if this is not the case we take it very seriously. We would hope that no one is bullied, harassed or victimised because of their sexual orientation but we have to be realistic and admit very rarely it may happen. If it does happen to you it is important that you do not suffer in silence and report it. The University has a Dignity at Work and Study Policy that applies to all staff and students which specifically protects against harassment, bullying and victimisation on the basis of sexual orientation. It also gives definitions of what these terms mean and includes examples on what LGBT bullying and harassment may look like.

In addition the University has a network of Bullying and Harassment Advisers who you can contact directly and in confidence if you feel you are being bullied or harassed. It also has a network of trained mediators whose job is to deal with personal conflict situations in an unbiased and safe way. Both these networks are open to staff and students for help.

The Dignity at Work & Student Policy and procedure and information on the Bullying and Harassment and Mediation Network is available here.

In addition, more specific information on bullying and harassment as it relates to LGBT staff and students can be found at the LGBT Staff Network's welfare pages. Arron Pile, the LGBT Staff Network's Co-Chair and Welfare Officer also works in askUS and acts as the contact for LGBT students as well. His welfare pages contain more specific information on bullying and harassment and homophobia as it relates to LGBT people. Please go to the LGBT welfare page if you would like further information or contact Arron.

In many cases bullying, harassment and victimisation because of your sexual orientation is also against the law and will be classified as a Hate Crime. The University takes Hate Crime seriously and is an official Hate Crime Reporting Centre in Salford. You may also want to record any incident as a hate crime here.

The Student Union also has an Advice Centre where you can go to get confidential advice as well.

The University expects our staff to be aware of the issues LGBT students and staff may face. In continuing its commitment to Equality and Diversity the University has launched its own e-learning training programme, available through the Human Resources Development team. For many years the university had invested in an externally sourced learning resource which, whilst adequate to meet our immediate needs, failed to deliver a programme that was specific to us here at the University of Salford. The new toolkit, and the e-learning component, can be accessed via this link. The toolkit has specific examples of the sort of issues LGBT people may face and information about terms like homophobia and transphobia. Staff are encouraged to take advantage of this new and easily accessible on-line course. It is compulsory that all new staff complete this programme within 3 months of commencing employment at the university. Completion of this training is also a requirement for any member of staff involved in the line management and recruitment of staff as well as anyone participating in administering the Research Excellence Framework. askUS staff and Student Union staff have also had specific training in LGBT Awareness and Trans Awareness over the last couple of years and all frontline staff in the Student Union have had NUS delivered diversity training.

Yes! The LGBT Staff Network at the University of Salford is one of the longest established and active staff networks on campus. It has about 60 members of staff and organises events throughout the year for LGBT History Month, IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia), Manchester Pride and World AIDS Day. In recognition of the work it does it has this year been awarded a Star Performer Network Group by Stonewall. You can also contact the network by email (lgbt@salford.ac.uk).

Yes! The LGBT Student Society is very active and arranges social events throughout the year. They meet every week. They have their own web page with all the contact details, including how to join their Facebook and Twitter accounts. We encourage you to make contact with the Society if you are already a student at the university or even thinking of coming to Salford.

Information is available online that covers most aspects of the support available including:

  • Coming Out
  • Homophobia - The University also supports the Lesbian and Gay Foundation's "Enough is Enough: Action Against Homophobia" campaign and has sponsored a "Enough is Enough" safer Schools Toolkit in every secondary school in Salford.
  • Specific Sexual Health Information – The LGBT Foundation publishes a variety of sexual health brochures for LGBT people and these are available to take away from the Student Life Advice Desk in University House. Please help yourself! Further information about sexual health can be found on our website.
  • Reporting Hate Crime There is also a guide, in printed form, of all services available to LGBT students at the askUS Information Desks in University House and Media City buildings.

There are also requirements around which repositories should be used to archive the research output, and around the release of primary data.

If you have a problem and need some help there are lots of places you can get it from. The first point of call would be the askUS Counselling and Wellbeing Team which includes counselling and wellbeing advisors trained in dealing with issues around sexual orientation. In fact some of our counsellors and advisors are gay themselves, so if you would like to see an LGBT counsellor just let the team know! All the information about the Counselling and Wellbeing Team can be found at their web pages.

askUS also has a specific staff member that has responsibility for looking after the needs of LGBT students. Arron is gay himself and understands the needs of LGBT students. He is also the Co-Chair and Welfare Officer of the LGBT Staff Network. Arron can be contacted at a.pile@salford.ac.uk. Salford also has a close relationship with Manchester's LGBT Foundation. We work in partnership with the LGBT Foundation, in many of the events we organise. The LGBT Foundation can offer specific counselling for LGBT students that have issues with coming out and mental health needs. The LGBT Student Society also has a dedicated Welfare Officer and the whole committee is dedicated to the welfare of LGBT students. Contact by emailing USSULGBT@Gmail.com

Once again, Yes! We are proud of the variety of events we put on around the theme of sexual orientation at the university that are open to ALL staff and students. Every year we put on events for IDAHO - International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Manchester Pride, World AIDS Day and LGBT History Month. We welcome input from students in developing and organising these events, so if you are interested please contact Arron Pile (a.pile@salford.ac.uk), Student & Graduate Diversity Officer. In addition the LGBT Student Society organise a whole year of social events just for LGBT students. For more information contact the society at USSULGBT@Gmail.com

The Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme is a good practice network of organisations that work together to ensure that they create a working environment where everyone is able to be themselves. The University of Salford has not only been a Stonewall Diversity Champion for a number of years but we have also previously, been ranked as the 21st best employer in the U.K in Stonewall’s annual Workplace Equality Index.

It is important that you have influence over the decisions that affect you and your education and the University encourages students to tell us what we can improve on. The Vice Chancellor’s Engagement and Consultation Forum is set up to give staff and student a voice in what we do by way of a formal consultative body. Additionally the University’s Equality and Diversity Strategy, Listen! was developed in consultation with staff and students, including the Student Union and the LGBT Staff Network.

Careers and Employability at the University of Salford is committed to the ideals and practice of Equality and Diversity in all aspects of its work. They have gathered useful resources around Equality and Diversity with specific reference to communities of students and graduates that may face barriers in the job market. There are a number of specific issues around discrimination commonly faced by students/graduates when considering career choices and investigating the job market so they have gathered information aimed at specific groups to help locate groups/organisations offering support in the field of employment and equality and diversity. The pages for LGBT students can be found here. These pages lists organisations that are helpful in finding graduate employment, part time work and volunteering opportunities. We also advertise upcoming Diversity and LGBT Careers Fairs to all our students by Facebook, Twitter and the website including The National Diversity Careers Fair Stonewall's Starting Out Guide, the first national guide for students and job-switchers wanting to find a gay-friendly employer features Salford as an employer. The guide is available in the University's Career and Employability Library in University House or you can download it from the website.

Trans Support

Transgender is an umbrella term that is used to describe someone who identifies with a gender that is different from their biological sex or gender assigned at birth. In the case of someone who is intersex, a medical condition that is determined by someone who is born with a sex that is indeterminate, or is a combination of both male and female genetic factors, they may choose not to identify as transgender. Though someone who is intersex, may be diagnosed with "gender dysphoria" and may seek to transition physically, socially and/or legally to match their gender identity.

People who identify as transgender or trans often feel a mismatch between the person they are and the gender they're identified as, due to their biological sex. A transgender person may decide to transition, from their socially perceived gender identity, to the gender they identify as. There are several ways that a transgender person may achieve this, though the manner they choose to address this issue varies from person-to-person, with some people identifying as "gender-fluid" and may fluctuate between the two binary genders of male and female. Some transgender people feel the need to socially transition, whereby they inform only close friends and family of their gender identity, whilst others may feel it necessary to transition medically and legally. The process of transitioning is about allowing a person to feel comfortable in their own identity, and not everyone seek or be able to transition in the same manner, though this does not invalidate a person's gender identity. Those who transition in regards to the gender binary (male and female) are regarded by some as "trans women" or "trans men", with the "trans" part of the phrase denotes someone who does not identify with their assigned gender at birth.

How someone identifies is often expressed via clothing that is typically worn by the opposite sex, whilst they may also have traits, behaviours or interests that are in-keeping with their gender identity. Often times someone who identifies as transgender will ask that the appropriate pronouns are used i.e. for a trans-woman, she may refer to herself as: "she/her/herself," whereas a trans-man will often prefer "he/his/himself," though this is dependent upon what he or she is comfortable with, as sometimes they may prefer non-gender specific pronouns such as "their/theirs/them/they". If you are unsure as to what pronouns to use, then it is often best to ask politely and not assume a person's gender.

For some people the discomfort of being seen as the opposite gender can cause feelings of confusion and misalignment, which is referred to as "gender dysphoria". In extreme cases dysphoria can also cause depression, anxiety and thoughts of self-harm. This is why some transgender people may choose to transition physically, to affirm their gender identity.

Many people who are Trans view gender as a spectrum between "Male" and "Female" whereas if someone identifies as "Non-Binary" this means that they identify as a gender outside of this spectrum. Someone who identifies as non-binary, may still express themselves in a way that is masculine or feminine, as "gender expression" is separate from "gender identity". The term "genderqueer" may also be used in reference to someone who is non-binary. Other ways to describe a person's gender may also include: "agender" or "neutrois". Due to the many labels that can be applied, the term "trans" can be used to define someone's personal interpretation of their gender identity.

Gender identity is the term used to refer to a person's inner sense of self, as to whether they identify as male, female, both or neither. For some people their gender identity is innate and connected to their biological sex, for others this may differ, though this difference may not become apparent until later life. There is no one determinate factor, as to why someone identifies with a specific gender identity, though there has been some research into biological and environmental factors.

Gender expression however refers to the manner in which, a person chooses to express his, her or their gender. It is often in reference to how a person is seen physically. This can be reflected in clothing, hairstyle, mannerisms and behaviour, amongst other things. Gender identity is not considered a choice, however the manner in which, someone chooses to express their gender is. This means that although someone may identify as male, or female, they may choose to dress more masculine, feminine or androgynous.

The key difference between being transgender and being gay, is that a person who identifies as transgender, does so in regards to their sense of self, as to whether they identify as male, female, both or neither. Whilst being gay is in reference to who a person is attracted to. It is possible to be both gay and transgender, though being gay in this case is in reference to a person's affirmed gender. So a person who identifies as a trans woman, who is attracted to women is considered a lesbian and vice-versa if a person identifies as trans man and is attracted to men, they're considered gay, although sometimes a trans person may identify as queer.

There is no predetermined way to know whether you are trans or not. For some people who identify as trans their feelings of gender mismatch occur in early childhood, for others their discomfort is not felt until adolescence or into early adulthood. Although there are often similarities between people who are trans, every individual is different and experiences vary. Though for the most part being trans means that you identify or want to be perceived as a gender that is different from your gender assigned at birth. For some people being trans may involve dressing as their affirmed gender, hormones and/or surgery, whilst for others this might not be appropriate. It's important to know there is not one way to be trans, neither is there one way to be cisgender, what is important is to find a way to be comfortable in yourself.

Being transgender is not a mental disorder, though like anyone else a transgender person is prone to mental illness. The association between being transgender and mental health, is that distress may arise for a transgender person from having a gender identity that doesn't match their biological sex. This distress is known medically as "gender dysphoria", whilst originally termed "Gender Identity Disorder" the actual diagnosis of the medical condition is based upon the feelings of depression and anxiety that can result from being perceived, or expected to fulfil the role of the opposite gender. These feelings can intensified by keeping them suppressed, which is why it's important to seek assistance from a gender counselor or therapist, who can be accessed either privately or through your GP.

Gender Dysphoria is the official medical diagnosis, given to someone who has intense feelings of disconnect between their gender identity and the gender they were assigned at birth. This can be in relation to their social role and/or physical body. For some people their social role may be defined by their relationships, activities, how they are addressed, or something as small as, what bathroom they use; whilst physical symptoms include being uncomfortable with primary and secondary sexual characteristics, and/or the desire for the features of the opposite or neither gender. For some people they may be aware of these feelings from an early age, whilst others may develop these symptoms later in life.

In extreme cases of gender dysphoria these symptoms can cause thoughts of self-harm or suicide, which is why the medical diagnosis seeks to align patients with their affirmed gender, through the use of counselling and therapy that may affect physical changes through the use of hormones or surgery. For information about Gender Dysphoria from the NHS, please click here.

The university is committed to helping trans and non-binary students reach their full potential during their studies, by providing peer support and professional services that can offer you guidance and assist you in making changes, that will allow you to feel more comfortable, in your affirmed gender identity. The university policy for gender recognition and reassignment can be found here.

Not everyone seeks the same type of support, which is why services are tailored to meet your individual need. You may wish to access our counselling and wellbeing service before contacting the university's diversity officer Arron Pile, to discuss your individual support needs. A plan can be drawn up to allow these changes to be implemented by the university during the course of your transition. This can include changes to your student ID, student records, email address, attendance and registration, bathroom facilities, awareness training for staff and students, as well as a peer buddy system, to allow you to connect to people who've accessed this service previously. You can apply for assistance via the gender identity support form.

For those accessing this service, there are no requirements for legal documentation, such as a Deed Poll certificate or Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). Nor do you have to be registered with an NHS Gender Identity Clinic (GIC), though the service can provide you with further details about these options.

Although the university policy does not require documentary evidence to change your student details, if you wish to make changes to your legal identity, you can do so via Deed Poll. This will provide you with the evidence you need to update bank account details, health records and social security. Any records pertaining to your previous identity are updated, with your previous name/identity being kept confidential under the Data Protection Act (1998). This is also true when applying for benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA),(soon to be replaced by Universal Credit), as your name is stored on a separate password protected system, that is designed to safeguard your identity.

To register for a deed poll certificate, it is recommended that you contact a solicitor, who offers this service as the document has to be worded a certain way to ensure that the change of identity is in-keeping with current legislation. A copy of this document can be provided to your bank manager, your GP practice, local Job Centre, UCAS and Student Finance, to update your details. You can also request exam boards to update their details and reissue certificates of qualifications, under your current name/title.

A Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) can also be procured via an application process to the Gender Recognition Panel, who can provide you with legal confirmation of your gender identity. This certificate offers greater protection of your identity, as it becomes a criminal offense for anyone to disclose your previous identity, without your consent. This certificate is often necessary in regards to attaining a birth certificate under your affirmed identity, though it is most commonly used in the registration for marriage and civil partnerships. The Gender Recognition Panel has three requirements, to apply for a GRC:

  • You have, or have had, gender dysphoria
  • You have lived fully for the last two years in your acquired gender
  • You intend to live permanently in your acquired gender

The easiest way to fulfil these requirements is via the NHS Pathway, as you will be given the appropriate support throughout the transitional process, though the certificate can be gained independently.

There are several resources available online that describe the process for applying for a British Passport, under your acquired gender. The official Passport Office website, can guide you through the online process, though you may, depending on your circumstances be asked to provide additional evidence to support your application.

A full guide on how to apply for a British Passport can be found by clicking here.

If you are applying for your first UK Passport, you will need to provide evidence of your right to British nationality. If you have a full birth or adoption certificate (i.e one including details of your parents/adopted parents) in your acquired gender, you need to include this in line with advice in the guidance booklet, along with any other documents specified. There is no need to provide a birth or adoption certificate in your birth gender.

If you do not have, or cannot obtain, a full birth or adoption certificate in your acquired gender, you will need to include the following with your application:

  • Your full birth or adoption certificate in your birth gender, so the passport office can determine your right to British Nationality.
  • Any other documents outlined in the guidance booklet

And one of he following:

  • A Gender Recognition Certificate
  • A letter from your doctor or medical consultant confirming that your change of gender is likely to be permanent, and evidence of your change of name such as a deed poll.

For additional information from the British Passport Office, on how to apply for a passport as a transgender/transsexual person, click here.

The UK Government has been responsible for enacting several laws that protect transgender and non-binary citizens from harassment and discrimination. It is important that you are familiar with your legal rights, as there may be occasions that these are tested, during and post-transition. You can find links to the appropriate resources here:

Though this legislation exists, there may be times where as a transgender person you may face discrimination or harassment. If you are victimised for your gender identity, this is categorised as a hate crime and should be reported to the police. If you are subjected to hate crime, whilst at the university, you can report it here

There are several LGBT services nearby, whilst there are others that specialise in transgender support. The services themselves have no affiliation with the university, though can provide further or alternative support. These services include:

  • Transforum - A peer support group for transgender people and those questioning their identity.
  • LGBT Foundation - (Originally The LGF) is a charitable service offering support in Manchester for the LGBT community.
  • Sparkle - Annual Transgender festival that celebrates gender diversity and expression.
  • Peel Park Pink Picnic - Annual LGBT family event, held right next door to UoS Peel Park campus.
  • Manchester Pride - Manchester's annual headline LGBT event that celebrates diversity across the community.