Open@TUoS

Allies supporting LGBT+ inclusion

Open@TUoS was launched in January 2016 to engage staff from across the University in working together to progress LGBT+ inclusion. It was developed by the University's LGBT+ Staff Network, in partnership with Human Resources.

We aim to empower all staff to help create an open, inclusive environment for LGBT+ colleagues and students at the University, by sharing information, encouraging people to become actively involved in LGBT+ activities and by asking staff to visibly support LGBT+ inclusion. 

By far, staff choose to do this by wearing a rainbow lanyard, but there are other ways they can support the cause. For example, displaying rainbow badges and Open@TUoS door signs.

1. Who can be an Open@TUoS supporter?

An Open@TUoS supporter is someone who wishes to publicly support LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and other identities) equality and take actions to create an environment where everyone can feel included, safe and be themselves. Anyone can support Open@TUoS regardless of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.

Open@TUoS Allies

To join the Open@TUoS mailing list, please click here.

2. Why do we need Open@TUoS?

The University is committed to developing an open and diverse culture of excellence, collaboration, and respect throughout our community. We believe that we can only achieve this through involving all staff and students to create a remarkable place to work, where individuals can be themselves and are supported to succeed.

There are still negative perceptions, prejudices and discrimination against LGBT+ individuals in wider society. At a national level it is reported that LGBT+ students still face significant barriers on campus due to their sexuality. Unless we make our commitment to LGBT+ equality explicit, we risk being seen as reflecting the negative attitudes, discrimination and complacency that exist in society. A visible identity provides a clear and safe pathway for LGBT+ staff or students to seek support. 

3. What can a supporter do?

Here are eleven examples of what an Open@TUoS supporter can do:

  1. Learn about issues that affect LGBT+ students and staff. Ask questions to the Equality and Diversity committees in your department and find out what they are doing on LGBT+ issues. Share your learning with others.
  2. Support LGBT+ individuals and those who wish to learn about and promote LGBT+ equality.
  3. Promote LGBT+ related events, training, the LGBT+ Student Committee and LGBT Staff Network.
  4. Challenge inappropriate language and behaviour. Challenge heteronormative and gender-normative assumptions.
  5. Think about what you can do in your role to promote LGBT+ equality, and do it.
  6. Make visible commitment by wearing the Open@TUoS lanyard, displaying posters and other material, stating your support of Open@TUoS on your staff webpage, etc.
  7. Include the Open@TUoS logo in your email signature (instructions here).
  8. Link up with other Open@TUoS supporters and LGBT Staff Network members to share ideas and experiences, support each other and build new relationships.
  9. Step into the shoes of an LGBT+ person to imagine what it is like to study or work here.
  10. Engage with and contribute to discussions on promoting LGBT+ equality.
  11. Volunteer for awareness raising events on campus and in the community.

4. How can I be an Open@TUoS supporter and what happens if I sign up?

The first step is to sign up using our supporter sign-up form. You will be added to the Open@TUoS mailing list and will receive updates and relevant information from us. You can be added to our profile page on the Open@TUoS website - this is optional.

Lanyards Image

Did you know?

You can clean faded lanyards in the washing machine, on a low temperature wash. If your lanyard is lost or broken, please contact us for a replacement: openattuos@sheffield.ac.uk

5. What kind of support or opportunities do Open@TUoS supporters get?

LGBT+ allies are invited to events, consultations and training opportunities offered by the LGBT Staff Network, Human Resources and Equality and Diversity committees throughout the University.

A member of the Open@TUoS team is available to offer any support if LGBT+ allies encounter any challenges or negative reactions from colleagues or wish to learn more about LGBT+ equality issues.

The LGBT Staff Network is happy to work with Open@TUoS supporters on LGBT+ equality actions and initiatives.

6. How can I be visible as an Open@TUoS supporter and encourage others to join?

  • Talk about Open@TUoS and the reason why you have joined at your staff meetings or informal occasions. Invite others to sign up to Open@TUoS.
  • Display posters in the area you work - staff rooms, corridors, noticeboards, etc.
  • Ask your line manager or members of senior management teams in your service or faculty whether there is anything you can do to promote LGBT+ equality within the service or faculty.
  • Record your message of support and/or why you have signed up to support Open@TUoS. These will be added to our profile page on the Open@TUoS website.
  • Organise an event to talk about LGBT+ equality issues or invite a speaker from the LGBT Staff Network or Student Committee to talk about their personal experience.

For further information on what the LGBT staff network has to offer, please visit their page.

If you have any questions about Open@TUoS or the LGBT Staff Network, please contact us at: openattuos@sheffield.ac.uk or lgbtnetwork@sheffield.ac.uk