The University intends to raise a significant seven-figure sum to ‘advance LGBT equality around the world’ and become a world leader in LGBT research.
Up to 25 PhDs could be funded to allow researchers to look at the problems, challenges, and solutions facing LGBT people globally, and explore possible solutions.
The Pride Scholarships will focus on evidence-based research of societal issues facing LGBT people in both the UK, and across the world.
The ambitious programme signifies the University’s intention to become a world leader in tackling social issues facing the LGBT community.
Listen to the latest Leeds Voices episode to learn more about the Pride Scholarships.
If we want to address discrimination against LGBT people we need evidence-based understanding of the problems, the challenges and the solutions.
Paul Johnson, Professor of Sociology and Executive Dean for the Faculty of Social Sciences, said: “What the University of Leeds is embarking on is a comprehensive investment in postgraduate research.
“If we want to address discrimination against LGBT people we need evidence-based understanding of the problems, the challenges and the solutions.
“That has to come with high-quality research, which can only be done by institutions like the University of Leeds.”
Leeds intends to pay for the scholarships through an ambitious five-year fundraising initiative.
There are a wide range of people at the University already studying issues related to LGBT issues, including research on hate crime, human rights, and access to marriage equality. “What this represents is a step change,” Professor Johnson said.
The University now intends to make dedicated funding available to a whole new set of researchers. Leeds plans on giving scholars the opportunity to carry out new and novel forms of research, and becoming the next generation of global leaders in this area.
Professor Johnson’s own work was fundamental in bringing about ‘Turing’s Law’ in the UK. It was named after the Bletchley Park codebreaker Alan Turing, who committed suicide in 1954 following a conviction of gross indecency with a man. Turing’s Law led to the posthumous pardons of gay and bisexual men formerly convicted of having consensual sex with other men.
It is hoped the researchers will also help combat the significant barriers faced by LGBT people across the globe, where discriminatory laws have intensified.
Last month the UN condemned the so-called ‘Anti-Homosexuality Act’ which came into force in Uganda. Punishments for consensual sex between adults include long prison sentences, and even the death penalty.
Professor Johnson said: “We’re coming to the end of Pride Month and it’s a really good time to announce this ambitious scheme. Pride isn’t just about saying people are proud to be LGBT, it’s also about saying discrimination and inequalities still exist.
“My hope for these Pride Scholarships is that they will have produced the comprehensive understanding that we need on a wide range of issues to change peoples lives, but what they will have also done is they will have created 25 new global leaders in this field. We will have tangible change and the leaders of tomorrow.”
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