Looking beyond the rainbow… showing year-round support for the LGBTQ+ community
By Annie Allen, Chief People Officer at Milton Keynes College Group
While June is recognised nationally (and internationally) as Pride month, September is very much seen as Milton Keynes’ own month of celebration for the LGBTQ+ community.
Staff and students from the College went along to Milton Keynes Pride Festival a couple of weeks ago and it was a fantastic celebration that we were delighted to be part of. We’re also looking forward to working even more closely with the MKPF team in the coming months and years, so watch this space…
However, one month (or even two!) out of the year isn’t enough to tackle the issues faced by those in the LGBTQ+ community, nor will it be enough to make the significant and lasting changes needed for us to move towards real equality. As part of the College Group’s efforts to build Fairer Futures for all, we’re always looking for ways we can support LGBTQ+ communities all year round.
In the last 12 months, just some of these initiatives have included:
- Hosting arts activities throughout Pride month in June and Pride history month in February, to tie in with art as the overall theme
- Supporting students from the LGBTQ+ student network with making Valentine’s cards with messages of self-care that were then handed out to their peers on Valentine’s Day
- Encouraging students to get involved with art competitions to design a t-shirt for the LGBTQ+ student network and also for the signs for the College’s gender neutral toilets
- Hosting a stand from the LGBTQ+ student network at the College’s Fresher’s Fair
- Giving staff the option to specify their preferred pronouns in their email signature, and giving them resources to learn about the significance of this
And in the near future, the College will also be offering allyship training to staff who want to learn more about supporting LGBTQ+ colleagues and students.
We know that there’s so much more work to be done and we’re committed to doing what we can to help create an inclusive, welcoming and accepting environment for staff and learners in the LGBTQ+ community. And we couldn’t have made the progress we have already without our fantastic LGBTQ+ Employee and Student Networks, expertly chaired by Aly Luxon.
We’re looking forward to this time next year, when we’re hoping to have made even bigger steps forward with the support of our employees, students and the wider Milton Keynes communities.