Pride Edinburgh 2019

Prior to the Pride Edinburgh march on Saturday 22 June, we’ll be meeting at Levels Cafe on Holyrood Road at 11.30am and plan to head to the march at 12ish for a 12.30 start. Join us at Levels so you can find us easily.

We are making placards for our beautiful posters so do let us know if you’d like to carry one. Look for the placards if you can’t get to Levels.

Time to get your beautiful UoE Staff Pride Network t-shirt for the march (or for your wall/presentation cabinet/sleeping shirt)! First round deadline is 10.30am Tuesday 4 June, so please get your orders in soon! Many thanks to April for organising this.

T-shirt order form

T-shirt payment

Cost price is £13.20 including VAT, so that’s all you pay.

Ideally you will be able to pick them up at a Central location by Friday 21 or we can send by internal mail. Closer to the time we may be able to deliver to other campuses.

Promoting equality through sustainable procurement

Recently, University of Edinburgh staff, including Andy Kordiak and Peter Hayakawa from the University Procurement Office, participated in intensive trainings and discussions on ways to promote equality through public procurement for those who share protected characteristics (including age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation). UK public bodies like the University of Edinburgh collectively spend billions of pounds annually through purchasing with third party suppliers, and thus have a lot of potential influence with industry to promote equality and better working conditions. These half-day sessions led by the Equalities and Humans Rights Commission (EHRC) were aimed at partners of Scotland’s City Region Deals, a set of agreements between Scottish Government, the UK Government and local governments and other public partners to strategically improve regional economies. The University of Edinburgh is key partner of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal (ESESCRD) leading its Data Driven Innovation Programme; through this the region’s councils and higher education institutions have committed to deliver inclusive growth, combining economic growth with greater equality and opportunities for all, through a series of major investments. One big challenge is to leverage the major pipeline of procurement spend to achieve a collaborative, common approach to promoting inclusion and equality in supply chains.

The training was wide-ranging, but EHRC highlighted the often overlooked duties in the 2010 UK Equality Act to take positive action to promote equality in organisational activity, rather than the better-known duties to avoid discriminatory behaviour. EHRC and attendees discussed allowable ways to take positive actions to promote equality, for instance, gender parity in industries like construction or health and social care. The University has worked over the last years with partners, in particular the University’s Staff Pride Network, to incorporate equality in its procurement, for instance highlighting equality duties in supplier documentation and requiring information and positive action from suppliers, but we will look forward working more closely with regional partners and organisations like EHRC, with the aim to increase the impact of measures like these.  As a first step after the training, the University Procurement Office supplemented the Scottish Government Equality in Procurement measures that we currently refer to in our sustainable procurement process with EHRC’s guidance on Responsible Procurement of Cleaning Services for this high risk area.

HESA data category to recognise non-binary identities

The University is required by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 to submit statistical returns to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), under category labels set down by HESA.

Institutions are now able to report staff sex under three categories: ‘male’, ‘female’ and ‘other’. Although the naming of this last category is far from ideal (!), it does now allow reporting of staff who define as anything other than male or female.

In future this data will be captured via a self-service portal in the new HR system. Until this is in place, any staff who wish to be returned to HESA under the ‘other’ sex category should send an email to the confidential mailbox equalitydiversity@ed.ac.uk.

With regards to recording sex in University of Edinburgh job applications, colleagues are working on changes, and we hope to provide an update in the near future.

Filmhouse event

The Everyday Cyborgs and Humanimals event on April 14th at the Filmhouse was the first public screening of four short films exploring fears, hopes and anxieties, as well as the everyday reality, of being not-fully-human. The films were made by local artists, creatives, and a group of young people, as part of the Animal, Mechanical and Me: The Search for Replaceable Hearts project led by Dr Gill Haddow in Science Technology and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh and funded by the Wellcome Trust.

The project explores patient experiences and public reactions to using material from non-human animals or from implantable cybernetic systems to repair, replace or regenerate the human body. It seeks to bring patients’ experiences, anxieties, and wider questions around human identity and selfhood, to bear on conversations about recent developments in medical technology. The film screening was part of a more general attempt to showcase social science research at Edinburgh University to wider audiences, and to generate public awareness and debate about these issues.

We decided to wear rainbow lanyards in addition to the classic dark-blue one to promote a more inclusive public image of the University, but also to pay tribute to the LGBT+ contributions to academic thought around identity, selfhood, and embodiment, and around the figure of the cyborg in the Western cultural imaginary.


Pride Edinburgh

Pride Edinburgh is on Saturday 16th June 2018 and we have LOTS of plans! All are welcome to join us for the march, wear a Rainbow Lanyard and a University Staff Pride Network t-shirt and stay for the Queer AF cabaret.

We’ll meet at Levels Cafe, Holyrood Road from 11am in advance of the march moving off from the Scottish Parliament at 12.

We have set up an ePay link (https://bit.ly/2xrpIaz) and an order form (https://bit.ly/2xpWwRj) so you can buy a Staff Pride Network t-shirt for the march at cost price of £13.20, and we’ll send it to you internal mail. You can also collect from Central or Little France. With or without a t-shirt, feel free to wear your Rainbow Lanyard and join us to celebrate Pride and show solidarity with LGBT+ people around the world.

Once you’ve marched, applauded the speeches, visited the community fair in Teviot and Potterow and ceilidh-danced your wee heart out, SPN are proud to present a special Pride Edition of Queer AF Cabaret. Drag queen host Georgia Tasda will be joined by a selection of Edinburgh’s finest queer performers. The fun begins at 6pm in Teviot Underground. Free entry to all!

Why I do Queer Tango

by Maria Boutchkova

If you don’t need convincing to try Queer tango, please come along on Wednesdays either for a lunch or an evening class (12 noon – 1pm and/or 1-2pm; 7-8pm and/or 8-9pm) at Epworth Halls, Methodist Church, Nicholson Square (5 minutes from the University of Edinburgh George Square campus), otherwise, read on for why I do it.

Over the last three years, I have been dancing on and off at the Blues and Balboa events organized by http://www.edinbop.co.uk/. I like the crowd there, along with the spirit of the dancing because being able to lead or follow regardless of one’s presented gender is common and accepted. Before moving to Edinburgh, I had chosen to practice flamenco in Montreal for two important reasons: first, because this dance has very little partner dynamic and second, for its emotional intensity. This intensity, in my mind, can be found in tango as well, and it has been an unfulfilled dream of mine to be able to learn it one day. But the very rigid traditional roles of leading and following, not to mention the strict ritual of eye contact and nods across the dance floor before inviting someone to dance, have placed it in the “I don’t do this” category for me.

Until I saw an ad for Queer tango this summer, and attended several classes in July with the amazing, inspiring, igniting Louise.

One of the rules I live by as a parent and as a human being, is to act in a way and use a type of language that challenges oppressive stereotypes. For example, I

avoid saying to little girls how cute or pretty they are, and instead I ask them what their favourite story is, or ask to see something they recently drew or made. Imagine how I felt, when Louise told us in the very first Queer tango class that we would invent our own language and instead of saying lead and follow, that we would use the words suggest and interpret.

To me Louise’s will to start this class and use a new language is not only an act of activism that is in line with my beliefs but also has been a precious gift – to be able to enter the world of this magical dance that used to be inaccessible to me. I can’t wait to share this gift with as many people as possible, and I know Louise feels the same.

Here is my favourite description on how Louise teaches tango:

“Louise’s philosophy of tango is that it is about awareness and connection. To tango well, you have to be able to pay attention. Some people have called tango ‘walking with attitude’, but she thinks it’s ‘walking with awareness’ – of yourself, of the other person, of everybody else in the room, of the music. In the world and in life in general, people are often looking for different ways to connect really well with other people. As human beings, we thrive with connection, and tango is a fabulous way of being connected.”

Please join us on Wednesdays at lunchtime or in the evening for one or two hours. The lunchtime classes are 12 noon – 1pm and/or 1-2pm; the evening classes are 7-8pm and/or 8-9pm. They are at Epworth Halls, Methodist Church, Nicholson Square (5 minutes from the University of Edinburgh George Square campus). Find out more at http://www.qte.dance/ and/or join the Queer tango Edinburgh Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/285415031797624/.