Bi Visibility Day: 23rd September

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23 September is Bi Visibility Day, an international event to raise awareness of and celebrate bisexuality.  Swansea University’s LGBT+ Staff Network will fly the bisexual pride flag from Singleton Abbey on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September to celebrate the diversity of sexuality in all its forms.  Bisexual people may be misunderstood, or may feel challenged to be open about their sexual identity at home or in work. Bisexuality can often be invisible.   You can help make the world, and your workplace, better, by improving your knowledge and raising awareness of bisexuality. 

The LGBT+ Staff Network exists to support all those who may have questions about sexuality, gender identity, sexual identity and other issues.  Contact us for further information. 

What is bisexuality?

Bisexuality means sexual or romantic attraction towards more than one gender - this can include men, women, and non-binary people (i.e. people who do not define as a man or a woman).

What is "a bisexual"?

A bisexual is someone who has romantic and/or sexual feelings towards other people of more than one gender.  A bisexual may be more attracted to one gender than the other, attracted equally to all, or find people's gender unimportant. The strength of their attractions to people of different genders may vary over time.

Aren't bisexuals just going through a phase/confused about their sexuality?

No - many of us know that we are attracted to multiple genders; there is no confusion. For most people bisexuality is a lifelong, committed sexual orientation.  And even for those who ultimately do not stay bisexual for life, that does not make it any the less valid as a sexual orientation. Sexual orientation can shift over time; sexuality is dynamic, not fixed. It may be a small shift, or a major change of lifestyle; but this does not make the points in between in any sense "wrong". Life is a continuous process, and few of us remain exactly the same over long periods of time.

Does bisexuality mean you are attracted to everyone?

Just because people who are bisexual have the potential to be attracted to people of all genders does not mean that they are attracted to everyone they meet, no more than heterosexuals are attracted to every person of the opposite gender or lesbians and gay men are attracted to every person of the same gender.

Are bisexuals equally attracted to both genders?

Most bisexuals are attracted to people of all genders, not only men and women. Some bisexuals feel they have a "preference" for one gender over the other, but other bisexuals have no preference, and instead focus their attractions on qualities they see in an individual regardless of that person's gender.

Do bisexuals have to have lovers of both genders to be bisexual?

No. People who call themselves bisexual are saying that they are attracted to men, women, and non-binary people. They don't necessarily have to act on that attraction, any more than straight or gay people have to act on their attraction to people of the same gender as their partner.

Are bisexuals capable of being faithful?

Yes!  A bisexual deciding to be faithful is not deciding to be "gay" or "straight." He/she is still bisexual; they have chosen a person to live their life with, not an orientation, preference or ideology. It is important to recognize that they still feel bisexual.  Being bisexual means that a person has the potential to be romantically or sexually involved with people of any gender, not that a person requires involvement with people of all genders at the same time to feel fulfilled.

LGBT+ Staff Network

The University has an established LGBT+ Staff Network, which holds regular social events, networking opportunities, workshops and training, as well as providing information and guidance on matters relating to LGBT+.  The network offers confidential support and advice to all staff (not only those who identify as LGBT+). Staff are able to report bullying and harassment incidents on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity to the Network co-chairs.

The Network is co-chaired by Dr Alys Einion and Ms Cath Elms (read more about the co-chairs below). 

The Network is a private group which is only open to Swansea University staff who identify as LGBT+.  The members list can only be viewed by the co-chairs, and is open to all LGBT+ staff, regardless of whether they're out at work or not.  We hold both private events for members only (which are only advertised within the Network), and public events that are open to all staff and students.  We always explicitly state whether events are public or private.

We work with the University to represent the interests of LGBT+ staff in our work environment and Equal Opportunities policies. The network has provided advice and support to the Senior Management team with regard to policies, and instigated and influenced initatives at the University.

If you'd like to join the network, or would like to learn more about LGBT+ issues, email us at lgbtplus@swansea.ac.uk.

LGBT+ Allies Programme

Do you support LGBT+ equality at the university?  Want to keep up to date with LGBT+ campaigns, events, and activities at the university?  Join our LGBT+ Allies Programme! It's a simple mailing list that anyone can join - staff, students, alumni, or visitors/supporters - regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Programme members receive monthly email updates about LGBT+ equality work at Swansea University.  

Full information including FAQs can be found on the LGBT+ Allies Programme page.

 

Stonewall Top 100 Employers

Swansea University takes part in Stonewall's Workplace Equality Index, a charter which measures employer's efforts to tackle discrimination and create an inclusive workplace for LGB employees, in areas including policy, staff training, management development and community engagement. In 2016, Swansea University was ranked at number 36 out of 100 – placing Swansea second of all employers in the Higher Education sector.

Click to read more.

Alys Einion: LGBT+ Staff Network co-chair

Alys Einion LGBT+ Staff Network

I have been working at Swansea since 2009, and have always been involved in teaching and raising awareness about diversity within health and social care.  There are plenty of opportunities for people who are LGBT+ or their supporters to get involved in raising awareness, offering support or developing a better understanding of LGBT+ and diversity. I've been an activist for women's, gender and LGBT+ rights and equality since my early days as a student. I am a proud lesbian parent, and I have written chapters and articles about lesbian parenting and lesbian families. I am very keen to continue the drive to ensuring an open and supportive work and study environment for all. The staff network enables us to engage with different groups and individuals and take the lead on ensuring we have positive and appropriate policies and practices. 

Cath Elms: LGBT+ Staff Network co-chair

Cath Elms LGBT+ Staff Network chair

I started work at Swansea University in 2014, and became co-chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network shortly afterwards. I now lead on the university's Stonewall Workplace Equality Index application, and was proud to have led our rise in the Stonewall rankings from 131 to 31st place in 2017. I deliver LGBT+ training to university staff and students throughout the academic year, consult on HR policies and practices, and contribute articles on gender and sexuality in LGBT+ press including Bi Community News. As a bisexual woman, I'm passionate about bi visibility, intersectionality, and inclusivity in Higher Education. 

Professor Martin Stringer: Senior LGBT+ Equality Champion

Professor Martin Stringer, Senior LGBT+ Equality Champion

Professor Martin Stringer is PVC Academic with responsibility for learning and teaching across the University and for developing research in Arts and Social Sciences. As a gay man working in the area of religious studies I have written on theology and sexuality and have long been an advocate for inclusive teaching within theology and religion. As a manager I am passionate about equality and diversity and bring both my own academic background, and my personal commitment to the task of promoting and challenging the place of LGBT+ concerns within the academy.

Community

Tawe Butterflies Swansea Sparkle

The LGBT+ Staff Network, in conjunction with the Students' Union and Equal Opportunities team, engage with the wider community through various initatives and events including LGBT History Month, Swansea Pride and Swansea Sparkle.

The Network co-chairs are also members of the Swansea Bay LGBT Forum, which is a group of representatives from public sector organisations and charities in South Wales including; South Wales Police, Swansea Council, Spectrum South West Wales (SSWW), Tawe Butterflies, and many more. The Forum aims to ensure cross-sector working to promote equality and ensure inclusivity for the LGBT community in South Wales.

If you would like to get involved with LGBT equality work at Swansea University, regardless of your sexual orientation and gender identity, please contact lgbtplus@swansea.ac.uk.

Students' Union

Swansea Students Union LGBT Plus

LGBT+ Society

The Students’ Union has 2 elected part-time LGBT Officers -  1 women's place and 1 open place.  They have an established LGBT+ Society for students that runs campaigns, events and offers general support for LGBT students at the University.  The LGBT+ Society is also a welfare association, and the committee members are also always there to deal with any wellbeing issues that you may have. We want every member of the LGBT+ community at Swansea University to feel safe and able to express themselves. For more information please contact them at LGBTopen@swansea-union.co.uk or LGBTwomens@swanseaunion.co.uk

Advice and Support Centre

The SU Advice Service Centre offers free, independent, and confidential advice and representation to all Swansea University students, covering a wide range of issues, including money worries, academic, housing, legal, and personal problems. It’s a confidential service run by experienced, friendly advisors who will be able to help you with any problems you may encounter. For more information please contact them at Advice@Swansea-union.co.uk.