End of First Term Officer Update!

Hey everyone,

As we struggle through coursework/exams and head into second term, here’s an update as to what we’ve been up to so far.

I’ve been up to a lot this year as Officer, and I’ve loved every second of it! More details to follow, but I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has interacted with us so far this year (whether through providing feedback, donating to our stalls or coming along to events) – it means so much to know that you’re enjoying what we’re doing ❤

Huge shout out to our brilliant committee – Sophie, James, Morgan, Emem, Liv, Jordan, Abi, Luke, Jase and Paige – for all of their help and passion so far this year!!


  • Attended and spoke at the University’s EDI board committee meeting
  • Continue work on introducing gender neutral toilets around campus outside of Portland Building (in direct talks with the University’s Estates team and have had conversation with Head of Estates Chris Jagger)
  • Held first Open Committee Meeting
  • Attended the Terrence Higgins Trust World Aids Day event  (and saw Prince Harry!)
  • Set up the Trans Voices Group with help from the amazing Morgan and Emem
  • Set up and started the new Facebook Page which has received a large number of messages already!
  • Attended Medsoc welfare stall, Sutton Bonington SHaG week and freshers week stalls, plus Freshers week stalls @ David Ross and QMC
  • Cheeky new logo (not the biggest achievement but I’m very proud of it) and leaflets (we shifted 1000!)


  • A fantastic Welcome Social with a huge turn out (we gained more official SU members by the first two weeks than there were at the end of last year!)
  • Have run some amazing socials, including our trip to Manchester, a Halloween bar crawl, plus regular cafe and Mooch socials (including an International Student cafe and Postgrad/Mature student night!)
  • Raised money for the National Aids Trust
  • Sexual orientation: Sex, gender and sexual ‘druther’ talk with Boo Jackson (w/ PhilSoc)
  • Film screenings (including a collab with FilmSoc)
  • LGBT+ Voices talk with Max Biddulph and Ibtisam Ahmed
  • Attended MedSoc Welfare Stall

Outside of the Network:

  • Gender Neutral Toilets in Nottingham New Theatre
  • 30 LGBT+ Safe Space Stickers in the School of Mathematical Sciences (More faculties to follow!)

Keep an eye on 2018, where there will be lots more to come!

Chris Smith (@UONSU_LGBT  , sulgbtofficer@nottingham.ac.uk)


(Image description: Rainbow-adorned Freshers stall with the wonderful Alice Armstrong (Disabled Students Officer))


Transcript of The Great Debate Q8: As a society, how do you believe we can become more inclusive of all gender identities and how can we fight against discrimination of gender non-conforming people?


Recently, the Student Union hosted The Great Debate 2017, an event in which students were encouraged to bring their concerns forward to a panel of university and Student Union leaders. I asked a question regarding the treatment of gender non-conforming people, and have transcribed the responses below. Every ‘-‘ dash indicates filler speech. 

If you have any comments or feedback you want the LGBT+ Network to know, please contact me via the feedback tab on this site. I also encourage all students who identify as gender non-conforming or trans to join our new Trans Voices Group, which you can do by emailing uonsutvg@gmail.com – Chris

QUESTION (CHRIS SMITH, LGBT+ OFFICER): As a society, how do you believe we can become more inclusive of all gender identities and how can we fight against discrimination of gender non-conforming people?

SHEARER WEST, UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM VICE CHANCELLOR: How we do it I don’t know but can I just agree with you that we should be doing it, there may bright ideas on the table-

SARAH O’HARA, PRO-VICE-CHANCELLOR FOR EDUCATION AND STUDENT EXPERIENCE : So there has been a fair bit of discussion in the past about things, just like – it would be around bathrooms and loos, about having genderless bathroom facilities which I think is something we can do within this institution quite easily, but we also have to accommodate for people who have very different views, so for example some people would prefer them to be single sex, some people, you know, don’t, so there are lots of things we can do but as an institution we have done a lot of work with the LBGT community, we have, – we’ve done a lot of work with the trans community and recently I – opened an event which we had down on Jubilee Campus where we had Paris Lees come and talk to us and she described her experience and Paris – I don’t know whether any of you know Paris Lees – but she’s from Nottingham and she talked about her – you know, her life on a council estate in Nottingham, and what it was like going at that time as a young boy to prison and going through this period of transition and what it was like and – it was a really interesting discussion because afterwards there was quite a bit of debate around – trangender(ed?) people, who were then getting into a debate with a group of – people in the room who said that they didn’t identify – with a gender so you’ve got quite complicated, what was going on. But I think as an institution… (unclear) we should be open to anybody regardless of their sexuality, their gender, it’s about them being decent people who want to work at this University and respect the University and that should be, you know, how we operate.

LILLIAN GREENWOOD, MP, NOTTINGHAM SOUTH: I think some of the key three things, I think first of all is the fact about University setting its values, saying that it is committed to inclusivity and it’s committed to equality and I think it’s starts from the statement of values, then it’s about policy so that’s what are the things that we need to put into place to put those values into action and I think an important part of developing that, especially as this is a, you know, this is a moving – situation, which is something that would change in this society and become far more open and we’re doing really well in terms of – I think, you know, being more inclusive and – having/ so I think there needs to be a discussion – about what that means and listening to people’s views about how we can make it a more inclusive and what sort of policies and practises we’re having – in place, and the third is, and of course this has become, you know, heightened in recent weeks in a broader sense around harassment and people’s experiences of harassment and discrimination, because we’ve got to have clear procedures , we’ve got to encourage people that if they, if there is something that happens, that they know what – that they can report it, that they’ll be listened to, that they’ll be taken seriously, that they’ll be supported, and that there’s measures in place to deal with unacceptable behaviour. So I think that’s how we fight discrimination but we kind of have to have, it starts from a position of values and in policy and then action.

SHEARER WEST VC: I think Lillian’s put that extremely succinctly – all I’d say personally as an incoming Vice Chancellor that in my previous roles , senior leadership roles in other institutions, equality, diversity and inclusion has been a huge element of what I’ve worked on in those institutions, and there have been some very effective outcomes of that and I would want to bring those values into my role here and – as Lillian says it’s values, then it’s policy, and then it’s – sort of – no tolerance for – the kind of negative behaviour that sometimes people experience.

ALAN HOLEY, STUDENT UNION PRESIDENT: Yeah I couldn’t agree more with – Sarah, Shearer and Lillian – I think anyone can express themselves in any shape or form that they so please – I feel like to improve the sense of belonging for LGBT+ members is the fact that to try and increase the understanding to a lot of people because it’s still a matter of, not contention but a lot of students still – and staff – still don’t actually understand all the different – sorry if I say this wrong, but all the different… (in crowd: identities) identities, that’s it – all the different identities and I think that understanding will help underpin – less discriminatory things to happen and I think that’s important to understand.


How to Improve Trans Voices with the LGBT+ Network?

Hey everyone,

This year as LGBT+ Officer, I have become very aware that transgender students do not currently have a specific platform for which to voice their opinions within the LGBT+ Network. Whilst the Network encourages feedback, suggestions and conversation from all those who identify as LGBT+, this umbrella term covers so many voices that I fear a lot of trans people feel uncomfortable expressing their true thoughts. Additionally, I feel that there needs to be measures in place so that trans voices are always brought to the forefront of all Network discussions – especially if the LGBT+ Officer for that year identifies as cisgender.

After discussions with trans people, I would like to suggest the idea of starting a Trans Working Group within the Network.
This would be a private Facebook group consisting of only trans people, and would be a place for trans people to share their experiences and concerns, as well as to discuss and voice their opinion on trans issues with the University. Going forward, this would also be a space for the sharing of trans specific welfare resources and for the development of a trans community.
In addition to this, there would be an totally anonymous feedback form given to all members of the LGBT+ Network so that any trans people who would feel uncomfortable joining a private Facebook group would still have a voice. This feedback would then be discussed within the Trans Working Group.

In the long term, I also have had ideas to bring to Union Council the motion to introduce a Trans Officer (or perhaps Gender Minority Officer (term to be decided)) on to the Part Time Officer (PTO) team, and then subsequently renaming the LGBT+ Officer to LGBQ+ Officer. By creating a Trans PTO, trans voices are acknowledged consistently and directly in a way I feel would not be as potent by just having a Trans Representative on the LGBT+ Network committee.

The Trans Officer PTO would take control of the Trans Working Group, and then relate and express the voices of trans people to the Student Union officer team, the University, and the LGBT+ Network. The Trans officer would also automatically joint run the LGBT+
Network with the LGBQ+ Officer (Perhaps in the future, this would then progress to the creation of a separate Trans Network with it’s own committee.) Of course, the Trans Officer would have to identify as trans (This is something that will need to be clarified in the bye-laws as currently the only way in which the Student Union is officially aware of trans students is through LGBT+ Network’s membership.)

I would love to hear your thoughts on these matters –
1. Is the Trans Working Group a good idea? How would you change or amend it?
2. Is introducing a Trans PTO a good idea? How would you change or amend the role?
3. Do you have any other ideas on how to better express the voice of trans people within the University?

Please use the ‘Feedback’ form on this website, or message our Facebook page, with your ideas and thoughts. Thank you for reading!!

–  Chris Smith, LGBT+ Officer 2017/18

Fantastic resource for trans people!

http://genderkit.org.uk/ is a new and brilliant resource for trans people. It details a myriad of ways in which one can change their gender construction – including legal documentation, names, pronouns, identities, hormone treatments, and all areas of the body (including binding, corseting, make up, surgery, tucking etc.)

Definitely check out the resource and be sure to share it with your friends!


Nominations for Campaigns and Welfare Officers

Hello everyone!

Nominations are now open for the roles of Campaigns Officer (x3) and Welfare Officer (x2) for the LGBT+ Network committee!

The deadline for submitting your nomination is 12pm on Monday 9th October.

If you are at all interested, head to https://www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/societ…/society/…/elections/

For more information about what the roles entail, head here:


Hope that you are all well, and feel free to message the new page (www.facebook.com/uonlgbt) or myself with any questions,


Bisexuality Awareness Day

I’m sure many people from the LGBT+ community understand that you are frequently
asked/challenged about your sexuality and gender identities. I’m going to (light-heartedly) share some of the questions I have received about my sexuality, and the kind of thing us bisexuals receive on the regular:
“So which one do you prefer?”
“Isn’t it easier to just be straight?”
“So when did you know you liked both?”
“Are you just experimenting?”
“Oh but you’re going to pick gay or straight right?”
“… Threesome?”
Now, whilst it is possible to take these questions humorously, sometimes it is quite frankly just annoying. Let’s imagine a straight person being asked something along the lines of “Are you sure you’re straight?” Sound ludicrous, right? And yet it seems acceptable to ask a bisexual such questions. So, here are some answers to commonly asked questions:
The whole “preference” thing doesn’t work/apply to everyone
I’ve known basically my entire life
No, I’m not just experimenting
No, I’m not going to pick a “side”
No, it’s not easier to be straight. This is a part of my identity, I know my sexuality and I would rather live as my true self rather than trying to deny my sexuality.
There is a difference between politely asking to educate yourself and ignorantly asking rude questions. Remember, it is ok to ask, but do so respectfully and politely. Also the threesome is not happening.
Lots of bi love,
Paige Roden, General Secretary & Treasurer at University of Nottingham’s LGBT+ Network


Officer Update

Hello everyone!

We’ve been up to a lot while you were gone for the summer!  I hope you all had a good break and you’re ready to get back into the swing of things.

I want to explain what we’ve been up to, in continuation of transparency so you all know what to expect this year! 🙂


  • New Facebook Page!  We’ve set up a brand new Facebook Page! This will help communication between the Network and it’s members via the anonymous ‘Message’ button, as well as a stronger link between the Network and the general LGBT+ public! Also, it means that the Closed group is now private, meaning it is safe for Network members to post anything at all there without fear of spamming or hate speech. Go give it a like now!


  • Welcome Social – On Sunday 30th, we are having a Welcome Social!! Come along to meet some other LGBT+ students and play some games ❤ Link here


  • First Wednesday Night Social – On Wednesday 4th, our regular Mooch socials are starting again! Come along for some chill drinks (staying sober is completely fine!) This week also marks the start of our Sunday cafe socials too – perfect if Wednesday isn’t the best day for you or if you prefer a weekend meetup ❤


  • New Year Elections – From Monday 25th September to October 9th, you will be able to post your manifesto and nominate yourself for the position of Campaigns Officer (x2) and Welfare Officer (x2)! Voting will commence in the week after! Message the Page or email sulgbtofficer@nottingham.ac.uk for more information.

Link to Elections

Further Information Here


  • Sponsorship – We are excited to announce that Bierkeller have offered to sponsor the Network! They are aiming to provide us with Rainbow Discount Cards, offering 10% off all of their drinks for Network members! This will be coming very soon – keep an eye out at Network events, where we will be giving out the cards!


  • UoN LGBT+ Voices Event – LGBT+ Voices are hosting their first talk/discussion event on October 6th at 5:30pm to 8:00pm. Come along to hear University speakers talk about LGBT+ inclusivity in the media and how to write inclusively! If you’re haven’t already, joined the closed group for more information here!



In addition to the above, I’ve been sorting out some Officer tidbits to fill my manifesto points! There’s still so much more to come, but here’s some info for now:

  • Propaganda Policy – I am going to meet with sponsorship in the SU very soon in order to hopefully draft a contract with Propaganda Nottingham! This will allow us to visit their on official Network events and maybe get discounts on drinks 🙂


  • STM – Supporting Trans Members was unfortunately halted this year for various financial reasons – However, I’m pleased to announce that we’re back on track! It’s going to run a little differently however. Instead of members asking for funds to buy binders etc. and then giving them to us, we will instead be buying binders from a reliable and safe source, and then offering them to members at a subsidised rate. Whilst binders are the most popular item requested, we will also still be offering other transition-related items according to demand. More info to follow soon!


  • NUS Induction – I recently went to meet some of the current NUS officer with the some of our Officer team in London. It was so interesting to hear about the plans of the LGBT+ Officers (Open and Women’s place) as well as the new Trans Officer (though unfortunately they weren’t there to meet in person.) This year, I hope to gather funds to send some Network members off to the 2017 LGBT+ Conference and Trans Conference – more details to follow.


  • In addition, I’ve had several meetings about campaigns so far with the Disabled Students’ Officers Eden and Alice, as well as with the Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer Lauren Bealin-Kelly, who has offered to provide official SU Welfare Training to our committee.


As always, if you have any comments, questions or concerns, please fill out the feedback form on this website, contact me on sulgbtofficer@nottingham.ac.uk, or message our new Page for quick feedback!

Wishing everyone the best of luck in the New Year,



Results from ‘LGBT+ Network Feedback Survey’ (3.25.17)

Regular surveys help us to gather information and improve our Network. Thank you for providing feedback and helping us better represent the voice of UoN LGBT+ students!

48 people took part in this survey. Though not representative of the entire Network, all information provided will be taken into regard by next year’s committee (commencing September 2017.) Results have been rounded to the nearest 1% for clarity.

All topics raised will be further explored at our first open committee meeting in the new academic year (date tbc.)

1. Are you happy with the Sunday cafe socials being held at Mooch?

Indifferent – 44%

Yes – 38%

No – 19%

These results show that the majority of students are either indifferent or content with Mooch Sunday socials, so we will continue to host socials at Mooch – however, we are aware of those who feel that Mooch is not ideal in this regard, so there will be regular socials at alternate locations with different atmospheres (including bringing back Kitty Cafe socials!)

If you have any ideas or preferences to where you want a social to be held, please use the Feedback tab on the website or message a committee member!

2. Would you be happy with the Network holding a ‘gender bread’ stall in which we give out free ginger bread and discuss gender identities?

Yes – 68%

No – 19%

Indifferent – 13%

Whilst the majority of participants had a positive reaction to the ‘gender bread’ stall idea, we are aware of the main issues associated with such a campaign – mainly, the problems that could arise with cisgender individuals discussing trans+ gender identities. In response to this, we aim to produce literature that will helpfully approach these topics in the correct fashion (and to avoid cisplaining). 

Additionally it was mentioned that using the ‘gender bread’ campaign may be inappropriate as this is primarily aimed at children. We do not wish to come across as patronising and subsequently, the committee will discuss this and try to come up with an alternative approach.

3. How many Network events have you been to this academic year?

0 to 4 – 46%

5 to 9 – 44%

10 or more – 11%

It’s fantastic to know that we have such interested and dedicated members! We are currently looking at ways to improve how we publicise events so that more members are aware that they are happening and are willing to come. This will involve restarting the weekly mailing list, readjusting how the events are processed via Facebook, and updating the calendar on the website. Again, if you have any ideas on how you would like to be informed of events, use the Feedback tab or email sulgbtofficer@nottingham.ac.uk!

4. How welcoming have you found the Network this year? (Open question)

We received 41 responses, most of which were positive!

Some topics broached did include:

  • More external campus representation desired, particularly Sutton Bonington – It is our aim for next year to host at least one social a term dedicated to those LGBT+ students on Sutton Bonington, of which there are several. We’re going to be in contact with the Guild as much as possible, and hopefully our presence at the SB Welcome Fair will attract some attention and we can gather more information up-front on how best to help in this area! 
  • Established crowds – Naturally, close friendships will be formed at events as people meet and get along. However, this can sometimes cause new members to feel alienated. To help with this, we are aiming to host a Refreshers social in January 2018, as well as organising more welcome/ get-to-know socials (which will be more diverse) in October than have been hosted previously. There are in addition to the regular weekly socials that will go on throughout the year.

5. How, in your opinion, could the Network improve? (Open question)

Feedback included:

  • Giving members ‘concrete ways to give regular suggestions instead of just polls with limited options’.
  • More ‘openness from the committee’
  • More ‘transparency on committee operation’

I (Chris) completely agree that an efficient way of obtaining comments and concerns from students, as well as ensuring transparency from the committee, is crucial in making sure that the Network is representing the LGBT+ student voice as much as it can. 

In response to this, I aim to start a public LGBT+ Network Facebook Page, in addition to the current group. This will, hopefully, allow the following:

  • A concise and direct manner of relaying important Network information (including directly expressing what the committee are getting up to)
  • A buffer between the general public and the Facebook Group (which will remain an active safe space for UoN LGBT+ students and our direct allies only). This will stop any spamming from those who 
  • A way for Network members and members of the public to directly message the page, so that requests and feedback can be easily sent and speedily answered.
  • A clear way of advertising large scale events and website posts that will not become hidden underneath other posts.

6. Suggestions for Events and Campaigns

Ideas included:

  • More cafe events outside of Mooch (esp. Kitty Cafe) including non-alcoholic meet-ups
  • Discussion Groups and LGBT+ education sessions
  • Continuing with inclusive and interactive campaigns 
  • Meet ups with queer religious members
  • Continuing with events for asexual members and a more widespread acknowledgement that asexual people are welcome and included
  • Socials to alternative club nights (e.g. Ocean/Crisis)
  • Continued promotion of external campaigns like in Awareness Week

Thank you for the brilliant ideas! The Social Secs for the upcoming year are working hard to find places to host cafes and socials that differ from the usual Mooch setting. This includes places such as Lee Rosy’s, the Dice Cup Cafe and the Kitty Cafe etc.. Due to popular demand, weekly Mooch socials will still be happening! Additionally, socials with particular intersections will be hosted as regularly as possible, through the Network as well as through collaborations with other Networks in the Students Union. 

In regards to the campaign ideas, we currently do not have any campaign officers on committee. However, we are going to run another election in the new term, after which two campaigns officers and two more welfare officers will hopefully be added to the committee. Until then, we are hoping to run as many campaigns as possible alongside our social events! 

The 2017/18 Committee are incredibly excited to be able to help grow the Network in the next year, and we will take on all your feedback throughout. 

Thank you for reading and for answering the survey!

Chris Smith 





A Message on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

A common refrain whenever I speak to people who are not LGBT+ goes something along the lines of this: “Why do you get so many days to celebrate your identity?” Pride, History Month, the various intersectional remembrance days, and IDAHoBiT are often used by people outside the community to suggest we have some sort of special privilege. It makes us sound entitled and is often used as a means to try and instigate a sense of guilt in us. So, on this 17 May, as we commemorate another IDAHoBiT, I have one thing to say to anyone reading this who identifies as queer in any way. Do. Not. Apologise. Be yourself and remember that the reason we have such events – many of which are framed as days of mourning or grief – is because society has often been stacked against us. In many parts of the world, even today, stigma against the LGBT+ community is rampant. Active persecution in Chechnya, political ostracisation in Singapore, legal dangers in the USA, silent discrimination in the UK, state-sanctioned violence across parts of Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, and the specific prejudice faced by LGBT+ refugees – all of these serve as reminders that our various identities and intersections are consistently targeted. In these times, it is not only acceptable but important to take time and reflect. Commemorating days such as IDAHoBiT are not simply ceremonial and superficial; they play a vital role in reminding the world that, despite the best efforts of many, we are a community that will not be silenced. In particular, it is a way for those of us in parts of the world where prejudice is not the norm to speak out for those who are in precarious positions. Even if that takes the form of a private reaffirmation of who we are, in the comfort of our homes, solidarity is a powerful thing.

Ibi – Campaigns Officer


(Please remember that our welfare resources are listed on this website if you need them.)

Nottingham’s LGBT+ Community Speaks Out Against Persecution of Chechnya’s Gay/bi Citizens


On Holocaust Memorial Day 2017, Dr. Max Biddulph launched the University of Nottingham’s LGBT+ History Month with a public lecture. This lecture explored the persecution of gay/bi men under the Nazi regime of the Third Reich, specifically focusing on their imprisonment in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen. In ‘Citizens of the Third Reich: Everyday Betrayals and the Pink Triangle Prisoners of Sachsenhausen’, Dr. Biddulph discussed the extent to which citizens of the German town were complicit in and knowledgeable of the fates of these gay/bi men. In the lecture, Dr. Biddulph described a regime of intrusive surveillance, secret informers, imprisonment, torture and systematized murder, carried out as part of the operationalization of a violent ideology.


These same processes of persecution are now being enacted in Chechnya. In April, reports written by the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta exposed the imprisonment of and use of violent force against Chechnya’s LGBT+ citizens by local authorities. Commenting on these recent atrocities in a statement to us, Dr. Biddulph states, ‘Never for one minute did I think that I would hear the same processes reported a mere four months later in 2017 in Chechnya: surveillance, betrayal, rounding up, imprisonment, torture and murder.’ Following the exposure of these crimes, a number of journalists involved in the reporting of these events have also been sent death threats.


The news reports of these atrocities are disturbing. During the past months, over a hundred men have been blackmailed, interrogated, imprisoned, tortured and abused by the Chechen authorities. In April, it was reported that detainees are held in locations where they are beaten and electrocuted for their sexual orientation or associations with the LGBT+ community.


In an attempt to force the use of violence against their relatives, the authorities have also outed some men in the community to their families: ‘a subtle nuance in this instance is the invitation for families to do the murdering, (or the militias will)’, Dr. Biddulph writes in his statement, comparing these crimes to those of the Nazis’.  The families of these Chechen men perpetrate these ‘honour killings’ under duress or in order to avoid the perceived shame of association.  The discrimination and dehumanization of the LGBT+ community in Chechnya by local governance, exacerbated through the state omission of action to prevent such atrocities, is allowing this violence to be inflicted with impunity from state legal structures. As such, the Russian state is implicated in these crimes.


On the 28th April, members of Nottingham’s LGBT+ community protested against these atrocities in the city centre. This protest was organised by Damian Darby, and it featured several speakers addressing a group of activists off Market Square. With over 200 people registering their interest in the event on Facebook, it was well attended by those voicing their opposition to these crimes. At the protest, Damian and the speakers urged listeners to do what they could to support the victims: make donations, sign petitions, urge MPs to put pressure on the government to change discriminatory asylum laws. In a written statement to us following the protest, Damian states, ‘It’s important that people get involved and support this cause because they should never live in fear of being tortured and killed because of who they love!’,


In his statement, Dr. Biddulph urges UoN students to take action: ‘don’t be a bystander: sign the petitions, donate to the support funds, out these atrocities at every turn.  We have tools at our disposal not available in 1945 . . . the Nazis functioned by deceit and with the arrogance of power, thought they could cover up their crimes. 21st century social media makes this less feasible’. Dr. Biddulph also states that writing about these events in Chechnya ‘cuts me to the core’ after having relayed a ‘very powerful message […] from history earlier this year’.


We also contacted Chris Smith, UoN’s incoming LGBT+ officer. He emphasised the developments made in LGBT+ rights over the past decades and the need for their defence internationally. Along with Dr. Biddulph and Damian, he urges the Nottingham and UoN community to respond, using all of the resources available for taking action in the twenty-first century. In his comment, he notes that, ‘extreme homophobia is still rampant across the world’: ‘We cannot risk becoming complacent when people in Chechnya still have to fight for their lives every day’. Chris encourages any students worried about the situation in Chechnya, or any other LGBT+ issues, ‘to contact our welfare support at LGBT+Welfare@nottingham.ac.uk or via Facebook’.


The ‘extreme homophobia […] still rampant across the world’ that Chris emphasises is pervasive in Russia. The political apparatus operating in Chechnya is among the most conservative and virulently homophobic of this region. The local leader of this constitutive entity of Russia, Ramzan Kadyrov, took power after the Second Chechen War, when Russia re-established power after Chechnya’s short period of independence. Tanya Lokshina, of Human Rights Watch, likens his governance to the ruling of a ‘private fiefdom’, with the human rights of LGBT+ citizens omitted by the authorities.


Kadyrov’s allegiance to Vladimir Putin has led to Moscow turning a blind eye to the operationalization of the oppressive ideology that has been reported in recent weeks. Although Putin has recently stated that the Russian Government will investigate the reports, the comments from state authorities and failure of the state to protect the rights of the LGBT+ community is reprehensible. The exclusion of LGBT+ people from the framework of citizenship through discrimination has perpetuated a violent regime of oppression.


In Chechnya, Kadyrov’s spokesman, Alvi Karimov, has propagated an exclusionary rhetoric to this effect: ‘You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic’, he told Interfax news agency. This rhetoric of denial and omission of LGBT+ rights is pervasive in the governmental structure of Russian power: the state has not denounced or acted to stop the violence being inflicted upon the bodies and minds of Chechnya’s gay/bi citizens and individuals associated with the LGBT+ community.


On Wednesday 17th May, the international community will stand in solidarity to mark the international day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. The University of Nottingham will fly the rainbow flag on The Trent Building to stand alongside the LGBT+ community in condemning these discriminations. Dr. Biddulph told us that he invites UoN students to look up at the rainbow flag and ‘pause for reflection on exactly what diversity within our university means and to consider the progress we have made in this society and the diverse experiences of LGBTQ people around the world’.


‘Our thoughts go out our brothers in Chechnya’, he states.


The following links are to organizations that have started petitions in order to put pressure on governments to take action against these atrocities and protect those involved in exposing such crimes. Donations are also being received to help evacuate LGBT+ community members in danger. As Dr. Biddulph states, let us ‘out these atrocities at every turn’.


Sign petitions:

All Out want to put pressure on the Federal Russian Authorities:  https://go.allout.org/en/a/chechen-100/

Amnesty International want Chechnya to stop abducting and killing individuals associated with the LGBT+ community and to protect the journalists who have been reporting on the events: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/stop-abducting-and-killing-gay-men-chechnya


Pink News, an LGBT+ news website, are campaigning for the Russian authorities to stop the persecution: http://petitions.pinknews.co.uk/russian-authorities-stop-the-persecution-of-gay-men-in-chechnya


Donate to help the safe evacuation of gay/bi men at risk:




Researched and written by Alexandra Farzad and Jonathan McAllister.

Our thanks to Dr. Max Biddulph, who commented on the piece before publication.