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BMet showcases commitment to diversity and inclusion with LGBTQIA+ Event

Students and staff at Sutton Coldfield College came together with pride this week for a special event to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community at BMet as a whole and beyond.

The interactive and educational session was opened by Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield Mayor, Councillor Tony Briggs and included local representatives from Sutton Coldfield Police Station and Fire Service.

Internal and external guest speakers were invited to share their personal experiences of “having pride” in the face of adversity to a captivated audience, which included students and staff across all curriculum areas of BMet College.

The panel included George Mattu, (he/him) who spoke about the challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ Asians from his childhood to the present day. He shared his thoughts on how attitudes have changed and the work that still needs to be done in our communities to promote tolerance and acceptance.

An Verleysen, (she/her/he/him/they/them) a chairperson at Intersex Flanders, also joined the event from Belgium via. a video link and talked about intersex identities.

Aimee, (she/her) who is a BMet Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador and staff member, shared her experience of being a bisexual woman (she/her) and being partially ‘out’ and explained why it’s okay to not come out to certain people if you don’t want to.

Speaker Naomi Rowe, (they/them) trustee and volunteer from the Trans Tearoom, said: “Events like these allow young people to see themselves reflected in adults, not just through media but within the local community.

“Representation will always be important and a reminder that diversity isn’t an agenda, it’s just who we are.”

Attendees were able to join in thought-provoking conversations and explore varied topics relating to the LGBTQIA+ community.

After each person delivered their speech, the audience were encouraged to interact with a Q&A session.

Here is what some of the students had to say about the event:

Bethany: “It was an interesting session that enabled me to learn new things that I didn’t know about before, even though I have family members within the LGBTQ+ community. It was particularly good to hear the speakers’ personal experiences.”

Daniel: “I think events like this help to spread awareness and to alleviate confusions and misconceptions. It is ok for people to be able to express their views, even if negative, as long as respect is shown at all times!”

Karl: “It was a very educational and informative session. I learnt so much during the session and felt that having the Q&A session was needed as people could ask questions in a safe space. For me, the event further affirmed that it is important for people to be able to be who they are/want to be.”

BMet’s Inclusive Support Department organised the LGBTQIA+ awareness event, which marked this year’s LGBT+ History Month.

Kathryn O’Connor (Kathy Fynn) (they/them), who is an Apprentice Learning Support Assistant and a Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador at Sutton Coldfield College and beyond, was also a guest speaker of the event. They shared their journey of being a genderfluid (non-binary to female) gay woman alongside being an artist, author and performer and their LGBTQ+ project. (

They said: “It was a fantastic opportunity here at BMet to put such an important event together that means so much to the LGBTQ+ community and me personally.

“We need to be aware that staff and students may be on their own LGBTQ+ journeys.

“’It is only through coming together to listen and share from each other’s authentic lived experiences, we can hope to better understand and accept each other’s diversity.”

To find out more about BMet’s Diversity and Inclusion policies, which form a crucial part of the BMet community, please visit:

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