As you may know, LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. The 'plus' is used to signify all of the gender identities and sexual orientations that are not specifically covered by the other initials.
The main aim of LGBT+ History Month is to 'increase visibility, raise awareness and advance education' and this year's theme is Medicine – #UnderTheScope
At Edinburgh Napier University, we're committed to creating an environment where everyone involved feels proud, confident, challenged and supported. Our staff networks are key in building inclusion into our everyday policies procedures and most importantly our behaviours. The LGBT+ staff network enables LGBT+ colleagues to come together to share information, learn together, socialise and support each other. The network is also open to all staff who are supporters of LGBT+ and equality issues, as inclusion relies on society as a whole.
If you'd like to show your support to the community, you can get your own rainbow lanyard from the LGBT+ Network, who you can contact for support if you need it, and to join their email list to stay up to date with network events. You can also grab a snazzy network mug! By signalling an LGBT+ presence and support on campus, we can ensure we maintain a comfortable and fully inclusive environment in which everyone can each reach their full potential without fear of discrimination.
Thursday 1 February is also Time to Talk Day, a day for friends, families, communities, and workplaces to come together to talk, listen and change lives. LGBT Youth Scotland's 'Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People: Health Report' reports that 88% of participants experience one or more mental health conditions or related behaviour, with this figure rising to 94% for trans participants. However, only 56% of participants think they have enough information about mental health.
So, please check in with your loved ones to see how they are doing. You can also share some LGBT+ mental health support links with them.
Remember, MCL Medics is the University's Employee Assistance Programme provider and they provide a free, confidential and independent resource to help employees balance their work, family and personal lives. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year by phone, e-mail, online or through their APP and provides information, resources and counselling on any of the challenges that life may bring.
Edinburgh is also fortunate to be served by wonderful supports for the LGBT+ community such as:
- the Chalmers Sexual Health Centre,
- Roam Outreach who offer sexual health testing services across the city,
- Waverley Care which is Scotland's HIV and Hepatitis C charity
- LGBT Health and Wellbeing who operate a number of social activities, groups and supports for LGBT+ people in Edinburgh, Glasgow and online (including specific groups and activities for intersectional identities such as disability, ethnicity, neurodiversity, age, family status) and
- LGBT Youth Scotland who offer youth work, resources and advocacy.
LGBT Youth Scotland are running a fundraising campaign for Purple Friday but any of the charities mentioned above would be very grateful for any donations you can make to support the LGBT+ Community.