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LGBT+ Role Models and Allies
Explore the importance of role models within the LGBT+ community and why allies are also key advocates for LGBT+ rights and inclusion.
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June is known as Pride Month, a month dedicated to celebrating and showing support for LGBTQ+ communities with protests, parades, performances, and parleys. The month is about acceptance and equality whilst recognising and remembering the LGBTQ+ people who fought for the rights of their communities. People like Marsha P Johnson who was an important part of the LGBTQ+ movement, particularly the Stonewall protests

Pride Month is also a time for us to remember how damaging homophobia is. 

Below, Edinburgh Napier’s LGBT+ Staff Network explore the importance of role models within the community and why allies are also key advocates for LGBT+ rights and inclusion. 

Role Models
A role model is someone who shows the world who they are and forges a path for others to proudly be themselves. Being a role model is an act of bravery, to show aspects of yourself which harm no-one, but can attract aggression, oppression and discrimination from others. Many marginalised people mask who they are to try to fit into a society which expects people to perform one of a number of accepted roles. Role models show us another way to be, sharing as much of themselves as they feel safe to, but also showing us that it’s okay to choose where we wave our flag, or choose where we protect ourselves, saving some of our identity for those who will appreciate our truest selves. 

Within ENU, we have a number of role models. Our LGBT+ role models strive to make our workplace an inclusive environment for all. Our diverse range of role models provide support within the University community, enabling people to connect, as well as helping to create a culture which allows people of all sexualities and gender identities to thrive. In addition, our role models support challenges of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic behaviours.  

Our role models are active members of our network with LGBT+ lived experience and have committed to a personal development programme exploring what it means to be a role model. Our role models celebrate difference and encourage colleagues to join and celebrate our diverse University culture, creating a positive shared environment, which encourages both personal and professional development.

An ally is a person or organisation who may not be part of a marginalised group themselves, but use their privilege as an accepted part of society to promote the rights, needs and views of a marginalised group, amplifying the voices of those who might not be heard or who may be shouted over. An ally does not do this out of self-interest, or seeking credit for their actions, but to help others to have more opportunity to become part of a diverse society, should they wish to do so. They do not represent their own views or wishes in acts of allyship, they listen to the views and experiences of those they support, seek to learn more and help to show the world where it needs to do better. Allies can act as role models to others, showing them how to support the needs of marginalised people and change society for the better.

At Edinburgh Napier University we know that allies have a critical role to play in creating inclusive environments and are key to advancing fair treatment for their LGBT+ family, friends and colleagues. A large number of our Allies are also members of our LGBT+ Network, and some of whom are featured here.

Why not join us to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community at Edinburgh Pride on Saturday 25 June? You can find out more about the event and where to meet the Network here.

For more information about the LGBT+ Staff Network or Pride Month, please contact lgbt@napier.ac.uk.


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