The RHS values the diversity of the historical community in all its forms and over the past several years has invested serious resources in projects that promote equality and inclusion. We believe that valuing diversity means listening to the voices, and respecting the experiences, of people whose lives and identities may be different to our own. This includes trans and non-binary people.
As historians, we know that ideas of sex and gender are complex and contingent, varying across time and space. Exploring that complexity through respectful dialogue can be a productive and intellectually stimulating exercise that furthers understanding.
However, ‘respectful dialogue’ cannot take place if we fail to acknowledge, and thereby exclude, our trans and non-binary colleagues and students’ identities. We reject as unfounded, claims that posit inclusion and respect as in opposition to academic freedom.
The RHS has established a working group to explore the research, teaching and dissemination of LGBT+ histories, as well as the experience of LGBT+ historians.
A preliminary survey inviting feedback on these topics will go live shortly and we will report early in 2020. We encourage all historians to engage with our work over the coming months.
Royal Historical Society LGBT+ Working Group
24 June 2019
Professor Margot Finn, President of the Royal Historical Society, adds:
Since 2014-15, the RHS has completed three major surveys and reports on equality and inequality in UK university History, focusing on gender, race and ethnicity. These initiatives reflect both our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and our knowledge that only by undertaking systematic research–rather than relying on presumed common knowledge–can we identify and address equality deficits. The LGBT+ Working Group has now been researching and discussing questions of EDI on behalf of historians for several months. I am very grateful indeed to them for their generosity, collegiality and insights on LGBT+ experiences in History. Their work is contributing significantly to the Society’s ability to promote excellent History teaching, supervision and research and to enhance the conditions in which historians work.”