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Promoting LGBT+ diversity and inclusion

The Bedford College Group Public Services Students

Promoting and supporting LGBT+ inclusion is not a one-off event.

We have a long-term commitment to LGBT+ inclusion and have carried out purposeful work to promote the visibility of LGBT+ people and to ensure that everyone at the Group feels safe, welcomed and respected, without fear of judgement or hate.

We recognise that sexual orientation and gender identity are only one part of people’s identity and do not define one’s interests or lifestyle. LGBT+ people may have a disability and come from diverse, cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Business students 2019 Bedford College

What our students say

“I’m writing to show my appreciation for our session today. This is probably the first class I’ve had led by someone that clearly cared about LGBT issues and the subject as a whole in my entire life. At first seeing LGBT on the board I immediately got anxious….I was worried I was going to have to listen to homophobic comments. But I was relieved to know you really cared about the subject….”

We have had many highlights from our journey so far that we’d like to share!

  • LGBTQIA+ student groups and a Transform group (for transgender students) offer a social space for student interaction and peer support.
  • LGBT+ themes are included in our study programmes to challenge stereotypes and promote positive attitudes towards LGBT+ diversity.
  • In February, we mark LGBT+ History Month and celebrate the lives and achievements of the LGBT+ community.
  • We collaborate with local youth groups such as QSpace in Northamptonshire for staff and student training and for external student support to LGBT+ students.
  • We take a proactive approach to prevent bullying (including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying) through different mediums such as sessions in tutorials, a student voice conference, a series of social media, video and poster campaigns, monitoring of prejudice-based bullying and using the information to plan further proactive work.
  • We have reviewed our student application form to include a self-describe option for gender.
  • We have trained LGBT+ support officers who can discuss students’ questions in relation to LGBT+ identity.
  • The LGBT+ Staff Forum is an inclusive group that provides support to LGBT+ people and advice and guidance on LGBT+ issues.
  • We have rolled out LGBT+ awareness training for all staff across the Group.
  • We have provided guidance for staff on gender inclusive language.
  • We have created an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion information hub for staff where they can find materials and updates.
  • A Stonewall role model was a keynote speaker at our annual Staff Conference.
  • Staff can wear a badge that was designed to show support for LGBT+ inclusion and also include personal pronouns in their email signature.
  • We have a Trans Inclusion College policy and guidance for staff for supporting a transgender student.
  • Our new buildings include gender neutral self-contained toilets, while existing buildings have self-contained accessible toilets that are available for use by everybody.
  • We achieved the Stonewall School Champion Bronze award in 2018 and then went on to achieve the Silver award in 2019
Stonewall School Champion Silver Logo
Feedback from Stonewall

"Your college is doing some fantastic work, keep it up!"

“Your policy base is clear and consistent – rather than just outlining the protected characteristics, you make it really clear how staff are expected to behave. Your guidance for supporting trans students is thorough, sensitive and consistent. It’s wonderful to see that you regularly survey students and their responses structure your planned next steps in your inclusion work. Your staff training is consistently excellent and it’s good to see that you pay attention to catching staff who haven’t had a chance to complete it yet.

Your pastoral staff’s list of resources for students to access based on particular experiences they’ve had is a particular highlight! What an excellent way for students to identify the support they need. Your work on trans inclusion is great and you’ve got some really interesting resources that help students understand a range of topics with the guidance of a trusted teacher.”