Prospective university students will now be able to compare the LGBTI diversity credentials of all Australian universities with the launch this week of a new guide to help them choose which study environment will be best for them.
The Australian LGBTI University Guide provides prospective students with a checklist of 15 measures that universities may have in place to support LTBTI students, and is based on information available through university and student union websites.
The online guide was launched by Australian Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson who described the guide as a welcome first step towards making Australian universities safer, more inclusive places for LGBTI people.
“This is the first time Australian universities have been assessed on their anti-discrimination policies, health and welfare support, staff training and other measures to ensure LGBTI inclusiveness,” Commissioner Wilson said.
“Ensuring University is a safe and inclusive environment is extremely important for LGBTI students who have often spent years in secondary school fearful of acceptance from their family and peers if they ‘come out’.”
Mr Wilson added that all students have “the right to study and participate in a safe and supportive environment, free from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The Guide revealed that while most Australian universities had anti-discrimination policies in place, only one-in-five accurately reflected current legal protections for LGBTI people. Only a third of universities had mandatory training for existing staff in regards to equal opportunities involving LGBTI people; and specific sexual health advice was also generally lacking.
The guide also indicated that that universities are doing more for lesbian, gay and bisexual students than for those who are transgender or intersex.
The LGBTI University Guide is available at www.lgbtiuniguide.org.au