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NUS, Stonewall & Warwick Reports

This section will introduce some of the key reports that reflect on the lived experiences of LGBTQUA+ students. It highlights some key information relating to trans and gender-diverse students to emphasise the need for inclusive teaching and practice. Whilst many improvements have been made, there is still much to do to ensure all students feel comfortable expressing their gender identities without fear of harassment and discrimination. 

If you would like to know how to contribute to this work, please read the Practice & Impact section of this guidance as well as the Case Studies and Introduction to Queer Pedagogy.

Being LGBTUA+ at Warwick

In June 2018 the ‘Being LGBTUA+ at Warwick’ survey ran for 5 days, seeking to gain a greater understanding of the identities, experiences, and unmet needs within Warwick’s LGBTQUA+ community. 142 members of Warwick’s LGBTQUA+ community responded.  

An overview of Warwick’s LGBTQUA+ community revealed:  

      • 18% identified as trans. 
      • 14% identified outside of the gender binary.  

Some of the key findings were: 

      • Different communities under the LGBTQUA+ umbrella have vastly differing experiences of inclusion, hate and discrimination.
      • 68% of trans LGBTQUA+ students had experienced LGBTQUAphobia at Warwick.  
      • Just 46% of trans students felt supported by the university.  
      • Just 64% of trans students felt supported by the Student Union.  

Students also shared factors which affected whether they felt supported within the university:  

Students felt supported by... Students did not feel supported by...
Campaigns Lack of staff training
Events Reliance on unpaid community labour
Awareness 'weeks' Lack of staff expertise
Societies/groups Experiences of LGBTQUAphobia
Community-led initiatives Words without actions
All-gender facilities Support services' waiting times
Policy protections Course content that erases/misrepresents their identity
Trans-inclusion workshops Silence on LGBTUA+ issues nationally
Third party hate crime reporting Lack of LGBTUA+ spaces on campus
Celebrations of LGBTUA+ identities/culture Lack of funding
Focus on lesser known identities  

Stonewall's 'LGBT in Britain - University Report'

Stonewall is a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans rights charity in the UK and the largest LGBT rights organisation in Europe.  

The report was published April 2018 after Stonewall commissioned YouGov to carry out a survey asking more than 5000 LGBT people across England, Scotland and Wales about their life in Britain today. This specific report investigates the experiences of the 522 respondents who were LGBT university student.  

Some of the key findings were:  

  • More than a third of trans students (36%) faced negative comments or conduct from university staff because they are LGBT. 
  • 3 in 5 trans students (60%) have been the target of negative comments or conduct from other students.  
  • 7% of trans students reported being physically attacked by another student or a member of university staff in the last year because of being trans. 
  • 1 in 5 trans students (20%) said they were encouraged by university staff to hide or disguise that they are trans.
  • 2 in 5 trans students (39%) wouldn’t feel confident reporting any homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying to university staff. 
  • More than 2 in 5 LGBT students (42%) indicated that they had hidden or disguised that they are LGBT at university in the last year because they were afraid of discrimination.  

NUS' 'Education Beyond the Straight and Narrow - LGBT Students' Experiences in Higher Education'

This report drew on a national survey of more than 4000 respondents from 80 higher education institutions in the UK and was conducted between February and March 2014.

Some of the key findings, broken down by theme, were:

Safety and well-being

  • 2 in 10 (20%) trans students felt completely safe on campus.
  • 1 in 3 trans respondents have experienced at least one form of bullying or harassment on their campus.
  • LGBT students who have experienced a form of homophobic or transphobic harassment are 2-3 times more likely to consider leaving their course.

Coming out as a trans student

  • 1 in 2 (51%) trans respondents have seriously considered dropping out of their course.
  • Of those who had considered dropping out, around two thirds mentioned the feeling of not fitting in and mentioned health problems (67% and 65% respectively).
  • 1 in 7 trans respondents has had to interrupt their studies because of their transition.
  • Trans students experience an intersection of issues, with 41% of them reported having a disability.
  • Trans respondents are twice as likely as LGB students to have experienced harassment (22% vs. 9%), threats or intimidations (13% vs. 6%), and physical assault on campus (5% vs. 2%).
  • The focus group with trans students revealed that the main difficulties faced on campus were the lack of gender-neutral toilets and facilities; the lack of policies to update their name and gender in the student register; issues with university security services; and the prevalence of transphobia.

Campus culture

  • On a scale of 1-10 trans students felt the least positive about student services and support at their institutions (7.0).
  • Only 16% of respondents who experienced physical assault based on their (perceived) sexuality or gender identity reported it to the police.
  • Victims of negative behaviour relating to their (perceived) sexuality or gender identity mostly reported these incidents to their tutors (45%), to a friend (40%) or to their students’ union (26%).

Teaching and learning

  • On a scale of 1-10 students’ average score of agreement with the statement, “I see trans experiences and history reflected in my curriculum” is only 2.8 for LGB+ students and 2.5 for trans students.
  • 70% of trans respondents feel confident to speak up in class.
  • 1 in 10 trans students never felt comfortable to speak up in class.
  • LGBT students that are out to their tutors tend to feel more confident to speak up in class (89%) than those who are only out to their friends (79%).

LGBT activism and representation

  • 23% of trans students considered running for elections in their student union.
  • 41.5% of trans students are members of their institution’s LGBT society.
  • 52% of trans respondents were aware that their university had an LGBT society before applying to study there.
  • LGBT students are more involved in political and campaigning societies than heterosexual students (10% vs. 5%), but less likely to be members of sports clubs (15% vs. 20%) and religious societies (2% vs. 5%).
  • The main reasons LGBT students cited for not being involved in any societies were a lack of time (35%), missed opportunity (22%), an absence of interest (16%) or the lack of inclusivity in societies (8%).