Diversity and inclusivity at university: a survey of the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) students in the UK

Abstract

The extent to which UK universities are ‘gay friendly’ has received some attention in the press. Whilst there are a number of published studies exploring campus climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) students and/or staff, these are primarily localised studies undertaken in State Universities and Baccalaureate Colleges in the US. The present study is a nationwide UK study of campus climate, based on survey data collected from a sample of 291 LGBT students from 42 universities across the UK. The findings show that despite the increased implementation of an equality agenda (e.g. equal access; widening participation) in UK Higher Education, homophobia on campus is still a significant problem and therefore universities are not perceived nor experienced by LGBT students as ‘safe spaces’ in which to be open about sexual orientation/gender identity. The implications of the findings for university policy and practice in relation to LGBT (and indeed all) students is also explored.

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Correspondence to Sonja J. Ellis.

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Ellis, S.J. Diversity and inclusivity at university: a survey of the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) students in the UK. High Educ 57, 723–739 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-008-9172-y

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Keywords

  • Diversity and equal opportunities
  • Inclusivity
  • Higher education
  • Homophobia
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans students