Wes Streeting is right that our universities must be places of empowerment and support for all students (“Leaders show how to build gay-friendly campus”, News, June). An interesting area is how they will face up to the homophobia experienced by students in the past.
For example, consider Princeton University. It recently held Every Voice, a conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender alumni, and ran a cover feature in Princeton Alumni Weekly, titled “Hidden lives”, which explored mainly unflattering aspects of life at the college for LGBT people. A large and positive mailbag ensued and I understand that the university regards it as a worthwhile exercise that will bring its LGBT alumni closer to the institution than ever before.
That said, from my experience I am not sure I agree with Streeting about the sinister-sounding “sexual orientation monitoring”. I joined the staff of City University London in 2003 as a man in an 11-year relationship with a woman and left in 2005 as a man in a relationship with another man. While I found the university counselling service to be of some use, at no point during this period did I experience the urge to report my sexual orientation to the human resources department.