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Stirling receives Charter Mark in recognition of its LGBT inclusivity

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The University of Stirling’s Student Development and Support Services has been awarded the LGBT Charter Mark from LGBT Youth Scotland, in recognition of its high standard of support for young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

The Charter Mark demonstrates the team is aware of the issues LGBT individuals can face and is committed to providing a service that is inclusive, where LGBT people feel involved, valued and supported.

The award was presented to University staff at a special awards ceremony hosted by Scottish comedian Rhona Cameron.  This ceremony marked the highlight of the LGBT Youth Scotland National Gathering, an annual three-day residential event, held this year at the University.   The gathering brought together over 100 young people from across Scotland, providing them with opportunities to build friendships, enjoy workshops and activities, and discover how they can get involved in the LGBT National Youth Council.

LGBT Youth Scotland made the presentation to Les Wallace, Senior Counsellor at Stirling, who received the LGBT Charter Mark Award on behalf of the team.  Commenting on the ceremony, Mr Wallace said: “I was overwhelmed by the energy, enthusiasm, and commitment of the young people involved.  It was a fun-packed celebration and I felt proud to be part of it.  I hope receiving this award will promote the message that organisations can play a positive role in helping to address misconceptions about LGBT issues.”

Ann Marriott from LGBT Youth Scotland said: “We were delighted to award the Charter Mark to this service within the University, in demonstration of the commitment it has shown to ensuring it is LGBT aware and inclusive.  We look forward to working with the University in the future, to ensure it continues to send a clear and positive message to staff and students.”

Explaining the importance of the achievement, Mark Wilkinson, Head of the University’s Student Development and Support Services, said: “We want to promote the fact that all individuals are welcome within our service, regardless of sex, sexual orientation or whether or not they have had gender reassignment.

“Working in consultation with LGBT Youth Scotland and Laura Wilkinson from the Students’ Union’s LGBT Student Group, it was easy for us to plan how to ensure LGBT issues are considered in all aspects of our service.  We are delighted LGBT students who access our services can now trust we have the taken necessary steps to ensure they feel included, respected and supported.”

During the ceremony, 30 Awards were presented to young people, projects, youth groups and organisations in recognition of their dedication to working towards LGBT inclusion in their local communities or within Scotland.  Representatives from local Councils, public bodies and charities were also in attendance, to participate in the celebration of good practice.

The University of Stirling’s Student Development and Support Services is a division providing a range of high quality services to assist students during the course of their studies and help prepare them for life after graduation.  More details here

 LGBT Youth Scotland is the largest youth and community-based organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Scotland. The charity's mission is: “To empower lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people and the wider LGBT community so that they are embraced as full members of the Scottish family at home, school and in every community.”

In order to be eligible for the Charter Mark award, organisations and groups must demonstrate they have met a list of criteria outlined in the LGBT Charter of Rights, to create a more diverse and inclusive service for LGBT people.  The necessary measures outlined in the checklist include staff training about LGBT inclusion, the provision of a facility for LGBT individuals to leave feedback, the specific mention of LGBT in organisational policies, and the continuous assessment and monitoring of LGBT work.  

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