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30th March 2021

Matthews Society and LGBTQ+ History Month

It has been a busy and interesting term for the Matthews society, with pupils discussing issues affecting gender equality in society. The School also celebrated LGBTQ+ History month, recognising the achievements and rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

There have been two excellent guest speakers hosted by the Matthews Society this term:  

  • OO Ella Norgaard Morton (16) former Matthews Society President and now a medical student at the University of Manchester gave a talk on gender bias in medicine.  Current Matthews Society President Izzy said, “I really enjoyed the talk and it was particularly special to be able to watch it at home with my mum. We both learnt a lot and discussed it at length afterwards.” Form 6 pupil Cat added, “The talk was excellent – I loved it and it has really inspired me to think more seriously about a future career in women’s health.” 
  • Gwyneth Cook (OO 17) who is currently in her final year at the University of St Andrews reading Philosophy and English. Gwyneth discussed the topic of ‘The Male Gaze’ in Art, looking at how women have historically been used in art as figures of admiration and desire whilst men have been presumed to be the spectator.  

Members of the Society also celebrated International Women’s Day by watching a live panel event about sexist language in the dictionary, hosted by Oxford Languages.

Megan Fairley, who runs the Matthews Society, also led a celebration of LGBTQ+ History month to help raise awareness across the School and advance education on matters affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Ms Fairley hosted and produced a series of exceptional interviews with pupils and staff. This includes an unmissable interview with Head of Drama Gilly Norell who talks about the play ‘The Laramie Project’ and the relationship between the theatre and the LGBTQ+ community. Gunthorpe Housemistress Lydia Dunbavand said, “Gunthorpe girls watched Form 7 Matthew Nagel’s interview who spoke about the importance of language and being kind. It was a fantastic interview, very moving with a powerful message. We had a show of hands afterwards – how many would rethink their use of language as a result of hearing what Matthew had to say – 75% of the house said they would.” 

Alongside the interviews, tutorials in Forms 4, 6 and 7 focussed on a range of issues including HBT phobic language and what it means to be transgender. Lockdown 2 saw the introduction of a LGBTQ+ discussion group for members of the community and allies, as well as a student-led group which supports LGBTQ+ pupils and shares experiences. 

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