Skip Navigation


Queer & trans in Higher Education: struggles, precarity & tensions

Book here


Wednesday 5 June 2024

2pm - 3pm




Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Main building at night lit up in the colours of the rainbow

Inclusion, Diversity and Identity Research Network online seminar event.

Over the past decade, the context of LGB, and particularly trans rights, has been fraught, with both heightened trans visibility and backlash. Higher education (HE) has been one arena in which this has played out: universities have been positioned as places of ‘woke’ liberalism, and become a key culture war battle ground.

In this talk, I will bring together two research projects which I have worked on during this period, to consider the position of queer and trans people (both staff and students) in HE. The first, ‘Around the Toilet’, did not focus on HE, but aimed to explore what makes a safe and accessible toilet space, centring queer, trans and disabled people. Rather than share the project findings, I reflect on my own experiences – as a queer and trans person – leading a public-facing research project which centres trans lives. The second project I draw on is ‘Whose Rainbow?’. In ‘Whose Rainbow?’ we have spoken to LGBTQIA+ staff and students in higher education, to understand how rainbows are being used as a symbol of inclusion in higher education, and how that relates to staff and student experiences. Here we have found that LGBTQIA+ people in HE felt a tension between wanting to critique the liberal (and often tokenistic) approach taken towards LGBTQIA+ inclusion by universities, and having to defend such approaches (as inadequate as they may be), as they now feel precarious, and likely to be taken away.

Programme running order

2-2.40pm – presentation
2.40-3pm – Q&A
Presentation – Dr Tig Slater (Sheffield Hallam University), followed by time for questions and discussion.

Who is this event for?

Current students