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Staff Pride Network

Staff Pride Network

The Staff Pride Network is an inclusive network that serves as a resource for the rich diversity of LGBT+ employees across the institution, including PhD students who prefer to attend staff events. We strive to take an intersectional approach to providing a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for all people who self identify as part of LGBT+ communities, whether or not they are 'out' in the wider world, and to make LGBT+ issues more visible within the University environment. Different organisations use different acronyms to refer to specific groups, and terminology is always evolving. Our definition of LGBT+ includes, among others, those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender fluid, intersex, non-binary, asexual, pansexual and polyamorous. It also includes all those individuals and communities whose sexuality or gender identity is a matter of shared personal, political and/or social experience, as well as those who are LGBT+ allies.

The Dilemma of Having Your Face Tortured


By Gina Maya


I came out as a male-to-female transsexual this year, meaning I identify less with the gender I was born and raised with, and more with its opposite. It’s a transition of many processes—administrative, cosmetic, hormonal, and social, to name a few—and it will take years; in some respects, a lifetime. Although I keep a weekly diary on my website ( on the ups and downs, I’ll try to use these newsletters to shed light on the more general processes involving my transition. I’ll start with the thing I want to get out of the way—the thing I’ve hated most: facial-hair removal.


It takes fifteen minutes and sometimes less. You rest in a dentist’s chair, wearing dark goggles while a smiling young woman lasers your facial hair. For the first few months, there’s only a 12-hour rash. Your jaw and mouth are blotchy, initially. With balm smothered over it, it looks like you’re melting.

You walk back from the clinic along busy Princess Street, looking down. Avoiding eye-contact because more than ever you look terrible, a swollen, red, rash-covered face that’s melting. You’re walking so fast your calves are hurting.

You continue to go to the clinic every six weeks. The pain gets worse with each visit; your feet press against each other and you hug yourself during the cosmetician’s polite conversation as she lasers your face. You’ve started taking taxis home, wrapping your face in a scarf like the Invisible Man. Soon enough you come out as a transgender woman.

Soon enough, you’re noticed in the street, you clearly don’t pass as well you thought. Your five o’clock shadow becomes your obsession, not the breasts or the groin, those things you can cover. It’s your five o’clock shadow, that’s what will decide the social reaction. You shave at least once a day. You touch up your layers of foundation constantly, in disabled toilets that become a second home to you.

October 2016. Ten months have gone by, the dark bristle almost gone. The NHS calls you, they’ll do it for free. But they need to know what they’re dealing with, so there’s one condition: come in with four days of facial hair growth on a bare, unmade face. We’re sorry, was that a ‘yes’?




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