Ben Marshall, Head of Student Wellbeing and Welfare, reflects on LGBT+ History Month 2023 at Hughes Hall.
As we emerge from LGBT+ history month I wanted to take a moment to thank everybody who contributed to increasing the visibility of the LGBT+ community in and around College. Taking any actions you can from your own platform meaningfully enhances our college community and has cumulative, broader effects for wider society. Whether this be, quite literally, showing our colours via the facilities team flying the progress flag, to being explicit about how we got here (such as the library team engineering well-researched displays on influential queer people), all true actions of solidarity and allyship contribute.
I attended the LGBT+ history formal hall and was privileged to listen to some key voices – the first that of ever-erudite lived experience from Ariel, the MCR Equality and LGBT+ Officer, who reminded us of the value of listening in challenging times and highlighted that for many transgender people the fight for basic existence is far from over. The second was the voice of the ally, from Arthur Hibble, as our senior member champion. Arthur reflected on his time supporting the healthcare needs of members of the community during the latter half of the 20th century, with a particularly touching account of watching gay people being unable to openly grieve for those they loved and lost.
This year’s history month theme was that of ‘behind the lens’ and the MCR showed two key films that involved LGBT+ people’s narratives and contributions both behind and in front of the camera lens. While the month as a whole gave us an important opportunity to reflect on the community’s history, it is important to remember that history is constantly being written and that things can become tokenistic if communities are not actively empowered all of the time, rather than constrained to a month. As such I hope we are able to consistently turn the lens of reflection forward to examine the ideals our community strives for to better enable us to take active steps in bringing them closer to reality.
If you, as an LGBT+ member or ally, have ideas about what else we can be doing and who else we can be engaging with from our platforms then Ariel, Arthur and I would love to hear from you.
With warm regards,
Ben is a psychologist by background and leads a range of programme to ensure Hughes Hall is a supportive, inclusive and responsive environment in which to study and live. He works full-time at Hughes and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Welfare at Hughes Hall
- LGBTQ+ at Hughes Hall
- Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU) LGBT+ committee
- Q+STEM network
- LGBT+ Staff Network
- LGBT+ Cambridge Alumni
- Queer Cambridge
- Equality and Diversity at the University.