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The Corporation

Posted: 08/02/17

Month of diversity celebrations

West Nottinghamshire College is continuing with its good work spearheading the celebration of diversity during LGBT history month.

  • Jacub spoke to many students about his experiences of his transition from female to male
  • Jacub as a small girl
  • Aged 18 when Jacub took the brave step to begin to live as a male

The college, which just three weeks ago celebrated being named one of the country’s top organisations for promoting lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) diversity, is running a series of events, talks and activities, hosted by special guests.

The college was placed 60th in equality charity Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers listing – the definitive national showcase of LGBT-friendly organisations, rising 33 places from last year’s position.

Activities commenced yesterday (7 February) when Jacub Sabo-Dutton, a trans-activist from Nottingham, who does a lot of work with teenagers who may be suffering with mental ill health, gave a speech to students about his lifelong journey to live as a male.

Jacub, 21, was born as a girl and informed learners about his mental struggle, physical operations and the battle to be accepted he endured as a child to finally being able to live as a man.

IT student Liam Buxton heard Jacub’s story. He said: “Jacub was very courageous when talking about this sensitive subject. I expect it will inspire a lot of people who may be going through the same journey as he did. He should continue believing in himself and telling his story so nobody else will be segregated in society like he was.”

Jacub said: “It’s extremely important to speak to students about my experiences as it promotes open mindedness, getting people to challenge their initial thoughts and breaks down the assumptions people have about transgender people.

“It’s a learning opportunity for students to know that it’s not an easy journey, that people don’t just decide to transition and the impact it can have on one one’s mental health.

“Sexuality and gender identity are both still stigmatised and discriminated against and can be very hard for people to talk about but I want to ‘normalise’ it so people feel that they can be confident and comfortable being themselves.”

The college will also be welcoming more guest speakers during week commencing 20 February starting with Chris Thompson, partnership officer at Nottinghamshire Police. On Monday (20 February) Chris will be manning stands and answering questions about hate crimes, at both the Derby Road campus and the construction campus at Station Park, in Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

Following this, the University of Nottingham’s disability advisor, Sarah Stephenson will be giving two talks on Thursday (23 February) about her disability as well as her experience of transitioning from male to female.

Throughout the month staff and students are also being reminded of Stonewall’s ‘No Bystanders’ campaign, courtesy of a poster and screensaver campaign urging people to stand up to negative language on and off-campus.

They are being encouraged to sign the pledge at www.stonewall.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/nobystanders.

Finally, as part of LGBT month, the college is launching an allies programme for staff who are passionate about, and committed to, furthering equality.

Each ally will volunteer to champion equality for certain protected characteristics and will be expected to speak out when they spot issues and signpost individuals towards further support and work alongside network groups.

Allies programmes have been successfully run in a number of organisations, which sees staff without a particular protected characteristic standing shoulder to shoulder with people who have – helping to send a powerful message of solidarity and acceptance.