By Alex Langridge
Brunel University celebrates LGBT+ History Month this February with pride nights, rainbow shoelaces and a rainbow run
Active@Brunel, the University’s social sports programme, ran a LGBT+ inclusion week from the 10 to the 16 February. LGBT+ History Month observes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, and the gay and Civil Rights movements.
Niamh Coyle, Active@Brunel Co-ordinator, said: “Our aim is to get the idea out there that these sessions are for everyone and not just your stereotypical athletes.”
Each day of the week was appointed a colour from the LGBT+ flag and highlighted a different LGBT+ athlete, running a session in relation to them.
On the Monday, Gareth Thomas, an openly gay former Welsh rugby player who was diagnosed with HIV, was celebrated. To honour him, a touch rugby session was run, and HIV ribbons and condoms were available at the Union reception.
The Wednesday was allocated the colour yellow, and recognised the University’s own athletes who wore yellow instead of their home blue to sporting events.
Coyle said: “It is important as it reflects our student body. To miss them out would be unfair but also there are clear issues with [the number of] LGBT+ students taking part in sports in comparison with other students. It makes sense for us to do something about it.”
Rainbow shoelaces were worn during these sporting events and were available for students.
Coyle continued: “These are small, [they] might even seem insignificant, but they help to make sport a bit more inclusive.”
George Wardle, Vice President of Student Activities, added: “By wearing rainbow laces, it is a way to encourage our sports teams to show solidarity and that they are welcoming.”
He continued: “The LGBT+ community are an underrepresented group who still do not have parity in society and there are still stigmatisms. I think it is important for people to educate themselves but this should also be all year round.”
Other events that took place included a rainbow run around campus, cake sales to raise money for LGBT+ charities, panels which discussed sexual heath and relationships, a karaoke night, talks about the working environment, and a trans remembrance service.
The remembrance service ran for the first-time last year where students remembered those that died during the year.
For more information for the Union activities visit https://brunelstudents.com/social/whatson/