University of Hertfordshire makes its debut at Pride in London
Staff and students from the University of Hertfordshire marched in the Pride in London parade for the first time on Saturday 1 July. Starting at Hyde Park Corner before making its way through central London to Whitehall Place, the parade involved over 30,000 participants in the UK’s biggest celebration of the LGBT+ community.
The theme of Pride in London this year is ‘Never March Alone’, which places particular emphasis on providing a powerful message of support to the trans community, at a time of increased attack and negative portrayals around the world. It is an important year for the University to be making our debut at Pride in London, making a visible and celebratory statement of support for our LGBTQ+ community.
50 people from the University marched in the parade, with representation from across the staff and student body – including members of the University’s staff LGBTQ+ network, LGBT+ student society, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Office, Herts SU, and UNO bus.
During the parade, group members marched alongside the UNO Pride Bus, which was unveiled at the University in Pride Month 2022. The bus is wrapped in the Progress Pride Flag colours, and is now a permanent fixture in the UNO fleet.
Mohammed Ilyas, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion said: “We have done some great work to advance LGBTQ+ equality at Herts over the last 2-3 years. Attending and representing our community at Pride in London was not only important to demonstrate our commitment to LGBTQ+ equality, but to stand in solidarity with the community as a whole. There are still 64 countries that have laws that criminalise homosexuality, and although we have made great progress in the UK, we still have a long way to go. In fact, this year we have slipped down from 14th to 17th in the rankings of the Annual Rainbow Map and Index1”.
The University is committed to advancing equality of opportunity, celebrating the diversity of our community, and fostering an inclusive culture. We do a wide variety of work to support LGBTQ+ inclusion at Herts, including a programme of events throughout LGBT+ History Month, Trans Day of Visibility, Pride Month, and Trans Awareness Week. We provide opportunities to raise awareness, educate our staff and student community, and amplify the voices and stories of individuals across our community, to develop an inclusive culture where staff and students can bring their whole self to work and study.
Christopher Lloyd, Co-Chair of the Staff LGBTQ+ Network said: “We are so thrilled to have attended Pride this year as a university. It means a lot for both staff and students to see their institution standing behind LGBTQ+ people. While Pride can sometimes seem corporate, we are hoping that this gathering of staff and students in the parade shows how connected and supportive we are. The UNO Pride bus is a great visual representation of that.”
Chloe McKendrick, Co-Chair of the Staff LGBTQ+ Network said: “I am beyond thrilled to have proudly walked alongside my fellow colleagues and students at Pride in London for the first time this year. The incredible moment symbolised our collective celebration of equality, diversity and inclusion at Herts. As we marched together, we demonstrated our unwavering support for every individual’s right to love, express themselves and be embraced for who they are.
“The University and Herts SU’s participation in this event fills my heart with immense pride. It showcases our joint commitment to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment, where all students and staff are valued and respected. This momentous occasion serves as a reminder that we are part of a larger movement, dedicated to creating a world where everyone is celebrated for their unique identities and experiences”.
Attending Pride in London is Herts flagship event this year, but is just one of a number of events taking place, including the University's attendance at Herts Pride in Watford in August.
Read more about Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Hertfordshire.
1 Released by ILGA-Europe, this index ranks all 49 European nations on their legal and policy situation with regards to LGBTQ+ rights since 2009.
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