Illusory equality and the hidden traps of promoting diversity

I would like to round out this LGBTQ+ History Month blog post series examining equality and discrimination by reviewing some of the traps that lurk in the pursuit of equality and dignity for all people. Much deliberate discrimination is disguised as an action to increase or ‘rebalance’ equality, while the equality and diversity movement itself has caused as many problems as it has solved. Let us consider these in turn.

Does this remind you of your experiences in life? When we measure everyone by their climbing ability, the fish and others have to live with the fact that they deemed failures in what society calls a ‘meritocracy’.
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Posted in Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Tagged with: , ,

MysteryFest 2021

Fascinated by crime? Grab your ticket now for MysteryFest 2021: a crime-and mystery-themed BookFest over Zoom for 2021. Among others, join best selling author Leigh Russell being interviewed by a fellow crime author and resident criminologist Dr Nick Pamment who will talk about Wildlife Crime.

Click this link for full details and to buy your £5 ticket.

Posted in Thing of the Day Tagged with: ,

Undoing discrimination

If people are all good, where does discrimination come from?

Discrimination does not happen “because of a person’s sexuality”, it happens because people are homophobic. Discrimination does not happen “because of a person’s race”, it happens because people are racist.  Discrimination doesn’t happen “because gender exists”, it happens because people are sexist and transphobic.

Discrimination happens because everyone is prejudiced in all manner of ways. We have grown up being influenced and conditioned to see the world in certain ways from the moment we arrived into it. Inequality seems very normal to us because we know no different. We all therefore need to look inside and learn to accept the ways in which we naturally discriminate, to accept the uncomfortable parts of ourselves and through doing so enable ourselves to change.

We are all naturally alert to anything unfamiliar. This natural tendency leaves us susceptible to the social conditioning we receive from birth that leaves us prejudiced.
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Getting around the warnings when accessing Cite Them Right

If you try to use a bookmarked link to get into the library reference help platform Cite Them Right, you may be presented with a warning message advising your connection is “not secure”. This appears to affect all browsers.

All our services remain fully functional and entirely safe to use. We are investigating why some links into this resources but not others are producing this error.

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Posted in Uncategorised

Diversity and the myth of meritocracy

Following on from the white privilege and heterosexual privilege questionnaires in my last LGBTQ+ History Month blog post (find them here if you haven’t taken them yet – they are really quick and I promise you will find the results of one or both very interesting!), I want to recapitulate briefly how white, heterosexual (straight) men have enormous yet invisible advantages over others. Anyone who is white, able-bodied, free from developmental difficulties, heterosexual, identifies with their anatomical birth gender, and who is male inherit an unearned position of privilege as their birthright.

The all too typical face of a company director
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Grab your popcorn and settle in for a free film this weekend!

Stream new release film Monsoon (12A rated) for free this weekend as part of the ongoing online LGBTQ+ Film Festival. Streaming starts from 7 pm tomorrow night but you can watch the film at any time in the next 72 hours, so you have the whole weekend to enjoy it.

Click this link to buy your tickets. If you are one of the first 100 to buy your tickets on Saturday 13 February, be sure to enter promo code Monsoon50 at the checkout to stream the film for free!

Some people reported problems purchasing tickets on mobile devices. We apologise to anyone affected. If you have any difficulties buying tickets, please try using the desktop website instead.

Watch this space and don’t miss next week’s new release film, Cocoon.

Posted in Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Tagged with: , ,

LGBTQ history is more than just a history of middle-aged white gay men

Since 2015 there has arisen a united campaign against discrimination in the UK that began with the Black Lives Matter movement and has since expanded to include the prejudice and discrimination faced by all those who span different groups that face discrimination and so experience the intersectional discrimination as a result of being, for example, black and gay, a woman and trans, or black and disabled.  With the mission of ending “state-sanctioned racialised sexism, Islamophobia, classism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia”.  To this we should add the emerging problems of biphobia and ageism – the discrimination faced by bisexual, polysexual and pansexual people from within and without the LGBTQ+ community and the prejudicial assumptions and discrimination against both the old and the young, respectively.

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Getting your hands on printed library stock at home

In my last post, I explained what you can do if you visit the library building. Since you will probably never want to do that, I wanted to outline how you can get all the same printed resources from the comfort of your own home!

Postal loans

If you are self-isolating or cannot travel to the library, you can fill in an online form and ask us to post books to you for free.

Getting hold of chapters and articles only available in print

If you only need a single chapter from a book or a single article from an issue of a journal we only hold in print, you can complete a form and ask us to email a scan to you. These restrictions are imposed by our copyright licenses and so if you need to read more than these amounts, you will have to travel in.

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Getting started #1: Getting hold of printed books and other things from your library

A cheery hello to all those new students joining us! Welcome to the library blog – a smorgasbord of brief introductions, tips, tricks, news and advice designed to help make your time at university something you will look back fondly and less like a survival horror game.

In the first of a series of bite-sized posts about essential library services, I wanted to walk you through what you can do in the library building at the moment. This is perhaps the least interesting thing I am going to talk about, so I wanted to get it out of the way. I’ll be moving on next to introducing the many wondrous things we offer online, and that I promise you will find interesting!

Getting hold of printed books

You’ve joined the university at an ‘interesting’ time. Just at the moment, you need to book a Covid-19 test on campus and get it sent in before you can get into the library building, and then you still have to wear a mask all the time you are there. It’s all explained on our website. Just click the “How we’re keeping you safe” image on the library homepage and check for any updates if you are thinking of coming in because the situation, government guidance, and therefore our arrangements can change rapidly.

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Why have an LGBTQ+ History Month?

Throughout history, to one extent or another, there has been an ongoing fundamental misunderstanding of discrimination against those who are not exclusively attracted to the opposite sex, and against those who do not entirely identify with their anatomical birth gender, or in the case of intersex people who were born with undifferentiated or both male and female sets of genitals, cases the gender they were surgically assigned at birth.

Almost half of homosexuals in the UK still feel the need to conceal their sexual orientation at work, a figure that is much higher for bisexual people and other marginalised groups. Trans people are sadly under renewed attack, with the government currently attempting to coerce local councils and other publicly funded bodies into building communal gender-specific toilets rather than offering single-entry gender-neutral toilets. Based on debunked research and prejudicial assumptions, this political move needlessly threatens to remove the availability of gender-neutral toilets place trans people at serious risk of harm while benefiting no-one.

Much progress has been made since homosexuality was decriminalised in 1963 as described in this short article by the British Library but misunderstanding, fear and prejudice encouraged by prejudicial elements of the mass media cast a long shadow over the progress made. There is therefore a serious and ongoing need to set the record straight, highlight the hidden inequalities and impact of invisible privilege and to correct misunderstandings, particularly around trans issues, to help people to understand what small adjustments would make life so much better for LGBTQ+ people.

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