Bigotry persists

May 11, 2007

I strongly endorse Matt Cook's plea for "a right of sexual expression" (Features, May 4) rather than the more limited demand for equal rights for a marginalised group, as exists at present.

However, it is important to recognise that in some places, certain universities in the UK included, the latter has still not been achieved.

A friend of mine who is in a lesbian relationship and teaches at a British university is afraid to "come out" for fear that it may jeopardise her application for promotion.

Another friend, who researches and publishes in the field of gay studies, has had his application for promotion rejected on the grounds that his field of research is "too narrow".

It is, of course, very difficult - if not impossible - to prove that homophobia is at the root of this.

It does, however, indicate that academic life is not always the site of tolerance and enlightenment that we like to assume.

Even if prejudice and bigotry are no longer overt, a climate of institutionalised homophobia and ignorance frequently continues to exist.

Paulina Palmer
Cambridge

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