Our Response to the EHRC Equality Act Report

The recent media attention surrounding the Equality and Human Right Commission report “Separate and single-sex service providers: a guide on the Equality Act sex and gender reassignment provisions” has created some confusion, uncertainty and debate around the interpretation it brings when it comes to the use of facilities such as toilets and changing rooms.

At Kent we recognise that the responses of some institutions are placing our trans, nonbinary and intersex colleagues at an increased risk of harm. We affirm our commitment to members of these communities at Kent, and to our ongoing work to remove discriminatory practices and approaches that place them at risk of harm.

At the University we have our own EDI policy, Dignity at Work policy and Trans Student Support policy but given the press attention, we feel it necessary to clarify our position that we want to work towards an environment where individuals can feel safe and comfortable to use the facilities including toilets and changing rooms, that matches their gender, without fear of harassment or discrimination.

Context

This most recent media attention is situated in an ongoing context, where trans and non-binary people face discrimination and harassment:

  • At work, including from colleagues, managers, customers and clients;
  • In public, including verbal and physical abuse;
  • Online, particularly on social media where targeted harassment, bullying and abusive comments and even attempts to find and share trans people’s previous names and current address are increasingly common;
  • Trans people also face barriers to accessing healthcare, such as long waiting lists for treatment.

We at the University of Kent are committed to fostering a positive working environment where all employees are treated fairly, with dignity, courtesy, respect and consideration. All staff have a responsibility to create an environment that is free from harassment, bullying, unlawful discrimination and victimisation. We do not – and will not – tolerate discrimination and harassment within our institution. We have been pleased to see growing awareness of the diversity of the trans and non-binary community and increased understanding of the breadth of gender identities. Unfortunately, this visibility has come with a rise in hostility towards some members of the trans community.

Harassment reporting

We fully support and encourage all our students and staff to report incidents of harassment and discrimination using existing policies.

Toilet Facilities

We have maps of both our Canterbury and Medway campuses highlighting the location of gender neutral toilets. We want individuals to be comfortable using the facilities that match their gender, without fear of harassment or discrimination.

Join our communities

Access resources

Using the resources available removes the burden of questions, explanations and discussions from members of the LGBTQIA+ community – the links below are an excellent starting point for people wanting to understand more.

Our LGBTQ+ network have a fantastic blog that covers ongoing news, events and challenges – stay up to date with the issues affecting the community.

Mermaids UK and Stonewall have easily accessible resources and Q&A that cover many of the relevant issues.

Rainbow Lanyard

The University of Kent Rainbow Lanyard celebrates and promotes our work around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Wearing one shows your commitment to providing a safe and comfortable environment for all of our LGBTQ+ staff and students. It also shows LGBTQ+ people that they can ‘bring their whole selves’ to you without fear of judgement or an unsupportive reaction.

Last updated