LGBTIQA+ and students- what works well and what can be improved?

Gotland Pride was Zoom based this year, and I participated in a hearing with students together with Campus Gotland’s student union organized as a part of their Rindi Rainbow Week. The illustration used in this blog post is from their official Facebook site.

Together with my excellent equal opportunities colleagues, we had set up a workshop with an informal hearing of students on the topic: LGBTIQA+ and students – what works well and what can be improved. We started off the presentation with a few facts about Uppsala University and the work with equal opportunities. I must say that have a very ambitious goal to work towards, and many people in the organisation are interested in equal opportunities. This is our mission in the goals and strategies: 

”Equal opportunities are a matter of rights for the individual and quality for the University. An equal opportunities perspective must be mainstreamed in all parts of the organisation and the University’s study and work environments must be characterised by openness and respect.”

Our Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson had also sent us a message for the workshop. She is indeed a strong proponent and excellent champion of equal opportunities! Her message was that Uppsala university is working hard with equal opportunities, but that we need to be even better and that the student’s input is extremely valuable in that work. 

We used an online tool at the workshop and the students were able to write anonymous input for us about LGBTIQA+. Some of the things that we need to be better at, according to the students are: 

  • It needs to be possible to use preferred names, and not only the name reregistered in the official government databases. Some transgender people find this very disturbing. This is also important for international students. 
  • It should be possible to have pronouns available in the student registries so that teachers and other students are made aware of what pronoun to use. 
  • LGBTIQA+ and the intersection with mental health problems need more attention, and we need to be better at informing students about the available support.