History Faculty establishes LGBTQ+ Working Group

The Faculty of History is establishing a new LGBTQ+ Working Group, chaired by Dr Sloan Mahone, which will meet once a term and report to the Faculty’s Equality & Diversity Committee. 

This is the latest measure the History faculty has undertaken in line with its public commitment to gender and LGBTQ+ equality. Currently, the Faculty holds a Gender Working Group every term to raise and consider any issues relating to sex equality, gender equality and LGBTQ+ equality pertinent to History at Oxford, which feeds back to the Equality and Diversity Committee. 

When approached for comment, the faculty told the Oxford Student, “The History Faculty is glad to be setting up a new working group on LGBTQ+ Equality. In September 2020, the Royal Historical Society Report on LGBT+ Histories and Historians, called on Historians to address the need for enhanced awareness, knowledge and understanding of LGBTQ+ experiences and our responsibility actively to challenge discriminatory behaviours affecting LGBTQ+ people. This is also an explicit objective of the Athena-SWAN programme, which the History Faculty is fully engaged with. The new LGBTQ+ working group responds to these initiatives, to concerns around LGBTQ+ issues raised by our students, and builds on the History Faculty’s statement of values, which emphasises our commitment to creating an environment in which everyone can fulfil their potential. The group will exist in parallel to and have the same standing as the Gender Equality Working Group, the Disability Equality Working Group and the Race Equality Working Group, all of which include undergraduate and graduate student members along with Faculty members, which meet once a term to reflect on issues of relevance and to advise and report to the Equality and Diversity Committee.”

“It is hoped that the new LGBTQ+ working group will provide a space in which LGBTQ+ students and staff can share concerns and ideas, actively pursue measures to support the wellbeing and inclusion of LGBTQ+ staff and students, and further promote engagement with the growing body of scholarship offering lesbian, gay, queer and trans perspectives on culture, politics and society, and extending our understanding of histories of gender, identity, and sexuality.”

Jade Calder, Co-president of the Undergraduate Historians Assembly, told the Oxford Student, “I am really glad to see that an LGBT+ working group has been established by the History Faculty. I would thoroughly encourage any student interested in improving experiences and engaging with the relevant research and scholarship to apply to get involved – I know from first hand experience that the Faculty truly values student input. I would also like to note the truly valuable work that the Race Equality Action Group has been doing this year, and I hope that both groups can be at the forefront of efforts to create an inclusive and innovative faculty for both students and staff.”

The History faculty is looking to recruit one or more undergraduate representatives to join the working group. This would involve a commitment to participate in termly meetings of the working group in the 2021-22 academic year, and to attend an afternoon workshop on the afternoon of 28th or 29th June. Interested students should email christina.debellaigue@history.ox.ac.uk by Friday 9am, 18th June, with up to 250 words on why you wish to be involved, and what, if any, previous experience or expertise you might have.

Image credit: Chen Chen