Cam Most Gay-Friendly Uni

Cambridge is the UK’s most gay-friendly higher education institution, according to a recent survey conducted by Stonewall.

alison hennegan charlotte wheeler-quinnell director of studies fellow GAY gay-friendly Helen Cahill higher education homosexual homosexuality stonewall survey trinity hall

Cambridge has been crowned the UK’s most gay-friendly higher education institution. It was top of the six universities to make it into Stonewall’s annual Top 100 Employers list, coming 11th overall. The list is ‘the definitive list of Britain’s most gay-friendly workplaces’.

Stonewall said it was impressed by the University’s commitment to promoting leadership opportunities for gay academics – which included having professional development workshops focused on LGB staff.

Reacting to the news, Alison Hennegan, Fellow, Tutor and Director of Studies in English at Trinity Hall told The Tab: “No institution is ever perfect, of course, but from the perspective of my own experience (forty-four years, and counting), as an undergraduate at a women-only Girton, postgraduate, and now a Fellow of Trinity Hall, life for gay people at Cambridge is far more open, relaxed, and confident than it was in, for example, 1967 when I first arrived here.

“In terms of my life as a ‘Senior Member’, I’ve always found Trinity Hall (where I’ve been for the past seven years) gay-friendly, with the partners of gay fellows being accorded the same status and courtesies as everyone else’s, and I’ve never sensed that my lesbianism (which is no secret) has ever been a bar or created problems in my teaching.

“People whose primary affiliation is to a University department or who work within the University’s administration may (or may not) have different stories to tell, and I’m also aware that gay men’s experience may differ from lesbians’ in this regard. Nevertheless, although I tend *not* to see the world through rose-tinted spectacles, I think it would be very perverse of me not to recognize the many changes for the better which we’ve witnessed over the past four decades, both in society generally and at Cambridge specifically.”

Charlotte Wheeler-Quinnell, Stonewall’s client account manager for workplace programmes, suggested there was still more ground to be covered. She said that the presence of openly gay vice-chancellors in the sector may help other academic staff to make their sexuality known to colleagues and students.

“We have a few people in these senior roles who are quite happy to be out,” Ms Wheeler-Quinnell said.

“That is important, as it suggests that sexual orientation will not be a barrier to getting on in your career.”