[FROM THE PAPER] LGBT+ Housing Equality

By James Hofstetter - Reporter

Recently I attended LGBT+ conference as a UCLan delegate. At that conference a motion passed entitled ‘Housing for All’. This is a motion I got very excited about and wanted to bring this policy to UCLan. The motion focuses around the issue of homophobic and transphobic bullying in housing across universities. Overall 40% of homeless youth are LGBT people and these people are more likely to be estranged from family, under financial strain and face victimisation in halls of residences. Yes the LGBT community may have equal rights in the eyes of the law but that has not put an end to bullying, harassment and victimisation of this community at university and in fact the country. LGBT+ conference want to promote an option for LGBT only flats, I’m not advocating that, I’m advocating for LGBT Friendly flats.

I recently uploaded to the student voice an idea to lobby the university to include a check box when students apply for halls of residences to say that they are LGBT friendly, in halls of residences you can already segregate via gender specific flats and I’m not promoting the segregation of the community. What I’m proposing is that those students who identify as LGBT and want to feel safe in their own accommodation, to feel safe in the place they call home and to be able to access the university without fear of physical assault or victimisation then they should be able to. No one wants to segregate the community but is it fair that they should live in fear?

Last year NUS published a report around LGBT+ Bullying in universities with over 3800 respondents. 30% of LGBT people said they had been bullied for being who they are at university. This includes Name calling, harassment and physical assault. If 1 in 4 people are regarded as being part of the LGBT+ community then how can we justify letting the demographic at our university be bullied within their own homes.

Surely even if you stopped one person from dropping out that’s one person’s experience helped, one person made to feel safe.

Out of the respondents 45% of LGB+ Students considered dropping out last year because of the bullying and victimisation they faced. This increase to 55% for Transgender students. This is way over half and completely unacceptable. The main reason they wanted to drop out was because they felt they didn’t fit in and this was around the 60% Level.
When so many students in this day and age are LGBT+, why do we continue to oppress the community? If we are to challenge and fight for our rights then first we must take a stand, we must push the university into accepting that these statistics are true and that they need to enforce LGBT+ friendly flats so that a portion of their student body will feel safe, will not want to drop out or be bullied, victimised, ostracised and assaulted for who they are!

NUS Believe that LGBT+ students will feel safer in accommodation where students are LGBT+ friendly and that they can live with without threat or discrimination and I believe this too. This idea will not only help a large portion of our community but generally make UCLan a better place to work and study. Help me help the community and demand that UCLan should adopt LGBT+ friendly flats as a way of challenging obscene statistics and the unlawful acts of discrimination.

The universities own mission statement says that it values “Equality of opportunity for all, supporting the rights and freedoms of our diverse community” and “Supporting the health, wellbeing and safety of all”. Well they are breaking these values by letting these acts of discrimination happen. It’s time to take a stand and stop this discrimination in its tracks.

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