To celebrate LGBT history month, KU Socialist Workers Student Society hosted the event “What are the origins of LGBT oppression?”, chaired by journalist and author Sarah Bates.
The talk is one in a series of events to be held on campus throughout February, which is official national LGBT history month.
Miss Bates said: “I think it is important to challenge homophobia every time we see it, and I think a university needs to give people confidence in being able to do that, because sometimes people can see or hear something homophobic and not have the confidence or the arguments to explain why it is wrong and why people should stop.”
Talking about why challenging homophobia is particularly important for a community like Kingston University, the journalist underlined the need to challenge homophobic language for everyone to feel safe in their academic environment, and she said that a university should facilitate this challenge.
Miss Bates added: “Things like posters and events will give you confidence to explain to people with homophobic ideas and homophobic language.
“Because I think once you explain to them who you are and ask them what they mean by that, they would understand.”
The guest speaker focused her speech on her view on the current situation for the LGBT community in the UK, and the historic reasons behind homophobia.
During the talk, Miss Bates said that an increasing number of people in the UK, especially youngsters, are now more LGBT-friendly.
The journalist added that the positive changes and legal reforms in the UK have not been “magically given” to the LGBT community, but are the product of many campaigns against homophobia made by ordinary people.
Politics and international relations student Shaan Sidhu said that Kingston University is not doing enough in challenging homophobia on campus.
The first-year student said: “I think that a main reason for that is that the majority of the students here are very religious, and I think that if the university does anything to prevent it, that might come across in a bad way towards religious people.”
Shaan added: “I am not sure if the university could do that much, because everyone here is an adult and there is not really much you can do to change someone’s views when they get to a certain age.”