Students call for consistent LGBT+ visibility and tangible change on campus

The University of Aberdeen students discuss the discrepancies between the perceived effectiveness of LGBT+ awareness on campus and the results received by LGBT+ students and allies.

Jeevan Bains | Thu, 25 Jun 2020

The Gaudie spoke to second-year Biologist, Bella Mcdowell, who shared her hopes that the university will see Pride month as an opportunity to drastically increase discussions to ‘promote LGBT+ resources’ as well as share the globally influential ‘works that have been written, created or directed by LGBT+ people’.

Mcdowell continued that she hopes there will be sustained efforts to inspire LGBT+ students as well as encourage awareness and understanding from heterosexual peers well beyond Pride Month and that these become intrinsic values at UOA.

The Aberdeen University LGBTQ+ Forum shared its recent successes and is proud that ‘the forum has grown rapidly in recent years which has been recognized throughout the university with the annual flying of the Pride flag’. This work is in addition to lockdown events such as virtual quizzes, film parties, and workshops being held by the Forum for students.

However, some students are critical of the University’s effort to encourage tangible LGBT+ awareness on campus and are calling them to play a larger role in promoting visibility, opportunities for awareness as well as encouraging the university to highlight the achievements of the community on campus and beyond.

This comes as Mcdowell admitted that as a student during her first year, she was unaware of any work or achievements of the university and its societies to celebrate the community and promote the awareness of LGBT+ issues on campus - perhaps highlighting a discrepancy between the perceived effectiveness of work done by the university and the results received by LGBT+ students and allies.

Music student Nahuel Chaui stressed that there is substantially more work to be done on campus and beyond, highlighting the importance of the university's role in challenging the narrative of a heteronormative world where LGBT+ people are ‘seen as lesser than.’ He continued to highlight that the ‘active creation and upkeep of diverse safe spaces for LGBT+ youth in Aberdeen’ is ‘currently nowhere at the scale of inclusivity that it should be’.

He explained the lack of ‘consistent get-togethers both inside and outside of the university campus’ while stressing the demand for ‘weekly LGBT+ club nights’ and ‘active discussions on news related issues faced by the LGBT+ community’ which is not currently being consistently met.

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