Written by Abi.
On the 26th February the university is taking a pivotal, inclusive step forward by naming one of their lecture theatres after Alumna, Claire Birkenshaw.
After graduating from the University of Hull, Claire went on to teach and subsequently became a head teacher at Ashwell Academy. During her time there, she has become the first head to transition whilst in role. She has used her influence to inspire, educate and challenge the myths and stigma around the transitioning process.
Claire is an inspiration to young people everywhere. Having Claire on campus is an honour and an amazing opportunity for students and staff alike to attend a momentous and inclusive event right on our doorstep.
After the theatre dedication ceremony Claire will be hosting a talk in Middleton Hall about her experiences as a transgender woman, which will be followed by a Q&A session open to the audience.
This talk is free and open to everyone; student, staff and members of the public – you just have to register your attendance: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inspired-in-hull-with-claire-birkenshaw-tickets-89245867793
I spoke with Claire recently (and had a proper fan girl moment when she followed me back on Twitter!) who said how thrilled she is to be given the chance to share her thoughts on Trans inclusion at the university, especially as she studied here. She also said about the lack of other universities dedicating lecture theatres to Trans people - which makes this one all the more special.
This type of recognition and celebration shows the commitment that the university has towards LGBT+ inclusion and equality, the amazing things that can be achieved through collaboration and the importance of student representation.
Last year we felt it was unlikely that we would see this type of celebration of our Trans community on campus, however following the campaigns and protests by students and the collaborative response from the University, we are in a very different place.
“I have no doubt that the student body has been instrumental in guiding the University in shaping its inclusive practice so that everyone feels welcome and all can learn safely without fear of prejudice, discrimination and repression. I am indebted to all your efforts.” – Claire Birkenshaw