Richmond upon Thames College is dedicated to ensuring our diverse community feels represented and our learner voice is strongly promoted throughout the organisation. A key example of this is our LGBTQ+ society, named SHOUT, which has been running since 2009.
SHOUT meets on a fortnightly basis and members take part in a range of activities. Whether it is discussing topical news or planning an event or campaign, our students unify in solidarity with their LGBTQ+ peers and have had a multitude of successes over the years.
Four years ago, SHOUT decided it was ready to celebrate their diversity on the streets of London at the annual Pride in London Parade. The theme was ‘heroes’ and students and staff dressed up as their favourite heroes before taking to the streets to walk in pride with the rest of London. The popularity of the group has increased since the college’s first participation in Pride in London, with our LGBTQ+ and ally students and staff becoming more involved in LGBTQ+ issues.
A recent campaign for LGBTQ+ friendly facilities has led to a commitment to have non-binary toilet facilities in the college’s redevelopment plans and has seen Trans-awareness posters placed in every toilet across the college, to make these spaces welcoming for the Trans community. SHOUT have also run awareness campaigns and created regular displays for LGBT History Month and Pride Month.
Another campaign to come from SHOUT was ‘Pride Icons’ which saw our students create several posters featuring a renowned LGBT icon with a link to each curriculum area. The aim behind this campaign was to highlight LGBTQ+ success in each subject, industry and profession.
Students have attended trips to LGBTQ+ themed exhibitions and musicals, like our recent trip to see Kinky Boots. As part of CPD day, our college staff have also engaged in training developed by staff and students that explains aspects and characteristics of LGBTQ+ people.
Year on year, the college supports the voice of its LGBTQ+ stakeholders and has truly created a welcoming space for anyone to be themselves, regardless of sex, sexuality and gender and we feel we are a shining example of a community that embraces and celebrates our unique differences.