Nowt so queer as Brasenose

first_imgBrasenose is to change its lesbian and gay JCR representation in the week following accusations of ripping down posters advertising queer issues around college.The JCR  voted to make the position of LGBT rep an official subset of Welfare on Sunday, but decided that the role will still remain a non-Committee position.The representative will be a part of the welfare team but not eligible to attend Committee meetings.This has triggered a wider debate as to the level of LGBT provisions in different colleges and suspected homophobia in Oxford.The motion was passed at a General Meeting last Sunday, but with several amendments to the original proposal.In the run up to the Brasenose JCR meeting, posters put up by Fflorens Gamberton, Brasenose’s current LGBT rep, appeared to have been torn down.But Pip Reeve, one of the college’s Welfare reps, said that she did not think the poster-tampering was indicative of homophobia.“I do not believe that there was any discrimination against LGBT members prior to the motion in Brasenose,” she said. “For this reason I do not believe that the poster tampering was in anyway deliberate.”The new LGBT rep will be selected by the Welfare reps and current LGBT reps in Michaelmas Term when other JCR positions are decided.But the role will still not be a committee position, and the rep will not have access to the JCR mailing list.Fflorens Gamberton, the current LGBT rep, proposed the motion and noted her gratitude for the JCR passing the motion.But she also said, “It is one small step for Brasenose, not a giant leap for general Oxonian LGBT Representation.“In a perfect world, there would be no minority representation of any kind, because the institutionalized inequality which exists throughout our society would no longer affect the lives of students here.”She added, “I personally know people at three or four different colleges who have spent their entire undergraduate time in the closet because of the perceived backlash they would face if they came out.”Gamberton pointed to the “‘laddish’ sports culture” where homophobia can erupt.Grace Weaver, LGBT rep at Corpus Christi agreed with this. “The most pressing of these [unresolved issues] is the homophobic “banter” that occurs frequently, especially in sports clubs”.LGBT representation varies from college to college, but most JCRs have a non-Exec LGBT representative.Jesus and Somerville are among a small number of colleges who instead have a JCR Diversities Rep to represent a range of minority students in the JCR, including LGBT, international students and disabled students.But Weaver argued the case for a single LGBT rep. “You know that an LGBT rep is going to have had some experience dealing with specifically LGBT issues,” she said. “It is much easier for a person to be helpful in this area if they have gone through similar experiences themselves.”Ahnaf Abdul, the Equal Opportunities and LGBT Rep at Merton disagreed, and said that one general Equalities rep could work, as long as there is “at least one openly LGBT peer supporter in each college.”Abdul added, “I feel Oxford is fairly tolerant, though not necessarily friendly to or educated about queer issues.”last_img

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