Students Staff

Essex LGBT Alliance

LGBT Alliance

Members of the Essex LGBT Alliance and Straight Allies.

The Essex LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) Alliance is a network of Essex-based organisations sharing resources and best practice across the private, public and third sectors for the benefit of everyone in the workplace.

As well as our University, there are 26 members of the Alliance including organisations such as the Ford Motor Company Ltd., the Essex Community Rehabilitation Company, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, the Essex County Football Association, the Ministry of Defence Police and Essex Police.

The aim of the Alliance is to promote equality and wellbeing, raise awareness of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) issues including issues around LGBT people with multiple identities and to share best practice with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity within the workplace

Membership is free and open to any organisation. We meet three times a year at venues throughout Essex. For more information and to request to join please email the Chair of the ELGBTA, Ilaria Boncori (

Support for University staff

If you need confidential support and advice on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans issues at work you can contact Equality and Diversity at This is a confidential email address. Please give a brief outline of your query and you will be directed to an experienced Essex LGBT Alliance member who can listen and support you.

A number of Alliance members are trained Harassment Advisers and can provide guidance to you if feel you are being subjected to homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying. Please read the University’s guidelines for dealing with harassment and bullying.

Validium Employee Assistance programme

Alternatively you contact the Validium Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). Their advisers can offer specialist advice on LGBT issues (.pdf). Validium’s experience has involved helping people from all communities, including young people struggling with their own feelings about their sexuality, through to managers anxious about homophobic harassment and bullying within their department, to employees returning to work after the physical and lifestyle changes of gender reassignment.

The EAP’s role and area of expertise is to assist callers in articulating and managing their own feelings about a situation, whatever that situation may be. The particular issue of sexual orientation may affect the caller, their families, friends, parents, work colleague or manager. Whatever the concerns, our counsellors can assist the caller to unburden their distressing feelings and gain clarity and control over the options available to them. Our EAP counsellors are aware and informed of the range of specialist support agencies that offer individualised care, education and services that may benefit callers with specific sexual orientation issues and will discuss with the caller the support options that are available to them outside of the EAP.

Guardian Awards 2015

Our team collecting Guardian University Award for 'Advancing Staff Equality'.

Guardian University Award

The University, as part of the Essex LGBT Alliance, picked up the Guardian University Award on 18 March in the category of 'Advancing Staff Equality'.

Karen Bush, Head of Equality and Diversity, Lorna Fox O’Mahony, Executive Dean Humanities and Sexual Orientation Champion and Karen Stephenson, Equality and Diversity Assistant received the award from David Ruebain, Chief Executive, Equality Challenge Unit. Ronnie Ancona, was the presenter for the evening.

Essex LGBT Alliance – internal network

As well as the external ELGBTA, the University has its own internal ELGBTA network which is open to all staff, LGBT staff including LGBT people with multiple identities. This is invited to meet along with the external ELGBTA three times a year. The network can also meet outside of those times when appropriate. This network is often consulted on policies and issues around LGBT and works as its own support group on an informal basis. If you would like to become a part of this network please email

Past events and minutes

  • LGBT History Month – February 2017

    The Students' Union held a variety of events celebrating LGBT history month. All the events were open to staff, students and visitors.

  • LGBT Careers Event 2017

    The third LGBT Careers Event in liaison with Employability and Careers, Students’ Union and members of the Essex LGBT Alliance, took place on Friday 24 February as part of LGBT History month in the Hexagon.

    Four speakers formed part of an expert panel. They included a transgender member of the University student population, the IT Solutions Architect from Ford Motor Company Ltd., The Community Development Officer from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and a member of Stonewall’s fund-raising team. They talked about their own personal experiences and gave practical tips and advice on being authentic in the workplace and on how to go about finding employment as an LGBT person.

    Many questions were fielded from the floor and several very informative discussions followed.

    Everyone was able to network over afternoon tea which always proves to be a very popular and valuable part of this event.

    It is hoped that this will become an annual event in the University’s LGBT calendar and thanks were extended to all those who helped prepare the event, to those who took part in the panel and to all those who attended.

  • Minutes of previous meetings

  • LGBT Careers Event, February 2016

    Tamoor Ali, Stonewall Role Model of the Year 2015 was one of the keynote speakers at our LGBT Careers Event held on 24 February 2016. Tamoor told his personal story to a packed house of students and employers.

    Three Ford Motor Company employees

    Employees from Ford Motor Company.

    Our other keynote speaker, Charlotte Cooper from Olympus Medical, gave practical advice and guidance on topics such as CV writing and preparing for an interview. These talks were followed by a lively panel discussion, chaired by Allan Hildon, Lecturer and Programme Lead for Health Service Management in the School of Health and Human Sciences.

    Employers such as Ford Motor Company Ltd, Essex County Police, Ministry of Defence Police, Basildon Council and Essex County Fire and Rescue set up stands offering information on their respective organisations.

    Following this event, Ford Motor Company Ltd have offered to run mock interviews or other mentoring support for the ELGBTA community. Contact Employability and Careers for more information.

    "Our annual LGBT careers event is a great example of what we can achieve through partnership in our diversity initiatives - across the University, with our Students' Union and with local employers. Students heard from employers and LGBT role models about how to test prospective employers for their diversity commitments, and to recognise the added value they can bring to a workforce that relies on diverse ways of thinking and experiencing the world, delivering fresh thinking to meet employer’s needs"
    Professor Lorna Fox O’Mahony, one of the University’s Sexual Orientation Diversity Champions

    Members of staff, students outside the Tony Rich

    From left to right: Luise Usiskin: the University’s Stonewall Account Manager, Karen Bush: Head of Equality and Diversity, Tamoor Ali: University of Essex alumnus and Stonewall Role Model of the Year 2015, Simone Mendez-Sutcliffe: Students’ Union LGBT Officer, Lorna Fox O’Mahony: Executive Dean and Sexual Orientation Diversity Champion, Karen Stephenson: Equality and Diversity Assistant and Helen Ivory: Faculty Employability Officer (Humanities).

  • Inaugural meeting of the Essex LGBT Alliance

    The Alliance’s inaugural meeting was held on Wednesday 12 March 2014 at the Colchester campus. The meeting was a great success with seventeen University staff and fifteen representatives from six external organisations in attendance. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Anthony Forster, who fully supports this new Alliance, opened the meeting and warmly welcomed all the delegates. Patrick Jumbe of Essex Probation addressed the meeting. He outlined the background to the formation of the group, how its members can work together to support LGBT staff, in confidence, in their organisations and how to promote good practice throughout the county.

    The delegates were asked to think about what the aims and objectives of the Alliance should be. These ideas will be used as a framework for the next meeting . Lunch then followed with over an hour of very lively and enthusiastic networking. For more information on the LGBT Alliance please contact Equality and Diversity

    “I'm delighted that the University of Essex is a founding member of the Essex LGBT Alliance. It is a longstanding feature of the University that we want our organisation to be an inclusive and diverse community that is open to all and which ensures equality of opportunity for all our members and that treats all our members with equal respect and dignity at all times. Our new Strategic Plan rightly makes this commitment as a core value of the University. I'm convinced that we cannot deliver our mission of excellence in education and research without such bold and unambiguous commitment, so I'm delighted we've given equality and diversity the prominence it rightly deserves.

    Raising awareness of LGBT issues, sharing best practice and learning from others who share our commitment to equality and diversity are the purposes of the Alliance - as is challenging negative attitudes towards LGBT people and making the workplace a place where people can be themselves. We have high hopes for the Essex LGBT Alliance and hope that staff feel that they work in a supportive environment in which they can discuss issues and challenge us to do better.”

    Professor Anthony Forster, Vice-Chancellor