Readers' reactions

September 25, 1998

Last week in The THES

Gregory Woods, first professor of gay and lesbian studies, argued that British universities are homophobic places

Ruth Adams Future of Work

I would agree that "some campuses are still dangerous places for obviously gay students". I am heterosexual but as a woman with short hair and an offbeat dress sense I was often mistaken for a lesbian. Several times while I was living on campus I was subjected to extremely unpleasant verbal abuse and once to threats of physical violence. On the last occasion I had to seek refuge in the porter's office. Once I determined that a number of my abusers were members of the university's rugby club (the shirts were a dead giveaway!)I reported the incident to the student union's gay and lesbian rep but, as far as I know, no further action was taken. Perhaps acts of mistaken homophobia do not count.

Tim Matschak

has worked as a researcher at the University of London.He studied for his first degree at a German university.

I do not think universities are intrinsically homophobic. Much depends on where you work and who with. For me university was a workplace where I could be myself and find support. But as long as it is at least possible to discriminate against someone for being lesbian or gay - and there are many subtle ways so to do - the shadow of homophobia could fall on you at any time.

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