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Michael Keenan Nottingham Trent University.  Funded by SRHE Newer Researcher Award 2012  Exploring LGBTQ undergraduate student experiences – focused.

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Presentation on theme: "Michael Keenan Nottingham Trent University.  Funded by SRHE Newer Researcher Award 2012  Exploring LGBTQ undergraduate student experiences – focused."— Presentation transcript:

1 Michael Keenan Nottingham Trent University

2  Funded by SRHE Newer Researcher Award 2012  Exploring LGBTQ undergraduate student experiences – focused on campus climate, LGBTQ society, fellow students, staff and teaching.  Two Methods  Online Questionnaire (online – 1070 visits; 724 useable)  Focus/discussion groups (5 groups – total of 34 participants)

3  Overall – University is seen as a site of diversity, but also identified as a site of bullying, discrimination and side-lining – focussing on heterosexist and macho cultures  Ellis (2009) and Valentine, Wood and Plummer (Equality Challenge Unit) (2009) – National Surveys  Universities seen to be responding to legal requirements, but not fully including LGBTQ experience  Citizenship  Richardson (Seidman (2005) - Toleration to social equality – more than equal rights (respect, equal treatment, full integration)  Jewell et al (2012) – subtle homonegative behaviours (e.g. heteronormative expectations, social distancing)  Heteronormativity on campus  Taulke-Johnson (2010) – Peer Interactions/ student accommodation  Ripley et al (2012) – Heteronormativity in university classes

4

5  It's much better than it was at school. and people in general seem fairly accepting  University has helped me come to terms [with] and enjoy my sexuality  A lecturer spoke to me about her sexuality during a one to one session … growing up I had never met any LGBTQ adults, so it was nice to talk to her about being gay  I sent an explaining my new trans* status and requesting to be known by my new name and pronouns … I got very positive responses  Staff in my department were keen to attend voluntary LGBTQ related training put on by the LGBT society

6  Better than before  Appreciating positives  Wary of challenge/rocking the boat  Seeking space within community

7  Verbal  I hear gay used as an insult a lot, dyke and fag less often but not uncommon.  Threat  Everyone was talking about their latest "conquests" and I said that I kissed a girl and there was total silence for a while. Then one (self-proclaimed) 'lad‘ said "well you won't be kissing any more girls for a long time, I got off with a lesbian last weekend and she fucking loved me so you might do too"  Physical  Last year, I was beaten to the point where I had severe injuries, by female students in the student bar because they thought I was 'coming onto them'. I wasn't. … They were drunk and therefore justified their homophobic abuse as 'defending themselves‘ … Since seeing them at university they have spat in my direction, pushed things of mine to the floor, called me unfair names and continue to make my life as a student at university hellish.

8  Absent from discussion - exclusion  Constrained by views of others - rejection  Labelled and interrogated - categorising  Treated as different/ exotic/ erotic - othering

9  Classroom  I felt uncomfortable once because a teacher showed a clip of an actor and an actress. The teacher remarked that all the women in the room must have been drooling over the actor... and then said "oh and for the boys, the actress was hot too!" I guess it's not appropriate in the classroom to begin with, but I felt embarrassed. A few people knew I was bisexual, and I was terrified that someone would make a joke … It was uncomfortable, and actually I felt the teacher's comments seemed to completely dismiss that anyone in his class would be LGB.  Curriculum  There has been a severe lack of engagement with LGBTQ issues within my course. I am studying a healthcare profession and we have communication skills modules that entirely sidestep LGBTQ issues  Institution  I cant think of anytime the university has ever been involved in LGBTQ issues

10  By institution  We have been trying to get a rainbow flag held publicly on campus during LGBT history month for the last few years, every time we have been told it would be inappropriate for open days. Inappropriate how is never explained!  By friends and peers  It’s very welcoming … there is little discrimination that I have noticed, but the student body is very right wing and not always comfortable with overt things such as Pride or queer activism  Some individuals give off a bad vibe and I wouldn’t consider telling them

11  I'm bi-sexual, so the entire night was them asking me questions about how does it work? are you allowed to sleep with other girls, like asking me really personal questions  I have a friend who, I lived with in first year and ever since he’s known about my sexuality he’s just called me “lesbian”. My name doesn’t exist anymore. He will shout in the library “oh you alright lesbian?” and that’s it. I don’t care because I love him, but yeah it is like a defining factor.  Been asked questions which would never be asked of a cisgendered person. For example ‘what’s below your belt?’ And ‘how do you piss?’

12  One of the first people that came and signed up was someone that was just going “oh that’s so cute, do you just sit around being gay all the time, oh that’s so cute, can I come and sign up so I can see”  One (male) friend said "that is hot" not sure if that is positive or negative?  The university doesn’t really do very much. There is just the LGBT society

13  fit in  focus on the positive  not make people uncomfortable  not over-react

14  My straight friends occasionally said things that I was not OK with, but probably due to drunken silliness rather than actual homophobia and meaning to hurt me.  Some of my flatmates, when drunk, they called me and him the batty boys… someone could have taken serious offence at that, but I know them and there is absolutely no negativity behind it  Haven't had any negativity, some people ask questions, some people jokingly try to 'turn' me, but all stop if I ask them to  The people on my course aren't really that homophobic

15  Overall there is clear evidence of positive experiences amongst LGBTQ students  Continuing episodes of negativity and cultures of exclusion within university spaces  Efforts to ‘find’ positives underline the continued difficulties faced by many LGBTQ students  Need for further informal and everyday rejection of rejections.


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