LGBT+ Awareness Week combats stigma and challenges damaging stereotypes

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Awareness week commenced on 15 February 2016 as various events organised by Newcastle University’s Student Union in conjunction with the LGBT Society took place throughout the week. There were a range of discussions that focused on the different aspects of the LGBT community, including talks on trans-health, bisexuality, mental health, queer women in the 21st Century, and LGBT people with faith. The Albert Kennedy Trust, which is a charity that provides support to young LGBT homeless people under the age of twenty-five, also featured in a separate discussion. A colour festival was organised for 19th February after the LGBT society recorded a promotional video for the event at Exhibition Park. During the course of the week, an LGBT Awareness tent was set up outside the student union for three consecutive days. An action day prompting the university to change ‘unnecessarily’ gendered toilets to a more gender-neutral sign occurred on 18th February, whereby a prize was awarded to an individual who documented the most gendered toilets along with their location.

Dan Robertson, PR and Communications Officer for the LGBT+ society said: “I think that the week was important because it helped to raise awareness of issues that weren’t commonly asociated with being LGBT+, such as mental health repurcussions.

Third-year Physiology student, Iqra Choudhry said: “During LGBT+ awareness week I read an article online that reaffirmed my belief in the importance of these events.

“The article perpetuated lots of negative stereotypes associated with bisexuality and went so far as to suggest that bisexuality isn’t real.

“Several of the events during the LGBT+ awareness week focused on challenging such stereotypes, such as Josh Hally-Milne’s talk about stereotypes of ‘camp’ gay men and internalised homophobia.

One of the events was  a QuestionTime panel which featured representatives from the sub-communities under the LGBT umbrella.

  

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