Results from ‘LGBT+ Network Feedback Survey’ (3.25.17)

Regular surveys help us to gather information and improve our Network. Thank you for providing feedback and helping us better represent the voice of UoN LGBT+ students!

48 people took part in this survey. Though not representative of the entire Network, all information provided will be taken into regard by next year’s committee (commencing September 2017.) Results have been rounded to the nearest 1% for clarity.

All topics raised will be further explored at our first open committee meeting in the new academic year (date tbc.)

1. Are you happy with the Sunday cafe socials being held at Mooch?

Indifferent – 44%

Yes – 38%

No – 19%

These results show that the majority of students are either indifferent or content with Mooch Sunday socials, so we will continue to host socials at Mooch – however, we are aware of those who feel that Mooch is not ideal in this regard, so there will be regular socials at alternate locations with different atmospheres (including bringing back Kitty Cafe socials!)

If you have any ideas or preferences to where you want a social to be held, please use the Feedback tab on the website or message a committee member!

2. Would you be happy with the Network holding a ‘gender bread’ stall in which we give out free ginger bread and discuss gender identities?

Yes – 68%

No – 19%

Indifferent – 13%

Whilst the majority of participants had a positive reaction to the ‘gender bread’ stall idea, we are aware of the main issues associated with such a campaign – mainly, the problems that could arise with cisgender individuals discussing trans+ gender identities. In response to this, we aim to produce literature that will helpfully approach these topics in the correct fashion (and to avoid cisplaining). 

Additionally it was mentioned that using the ‘gender bread’ campaign may be inappropriate as this is primarily aimed at children. We do not wish to come across as patronising and subsequently, the committee will discuss this and try to come up with an alternative approach.

3. How many Network events have you been to this academic year?

0 to 4 – 46%

5 to 9 – 44%

10 or more – 11%

It’s fantastic to know that we have such interested and dedicated members! We are currently looking at ways to improve how we publicise events so that more members are aware that they are happening and are willing to come. This will involve restarting the weekly mailing list, readjusting how the events are processed via Facebook, and updating the calendar on the website. Again, if you have any ideas on how you would like to be informed of events, use the Feedback tab or email sulgbtofficer@nottingham.ac.uk!

4. How welcoming have you found the Network this year? (Open question)

We received 41 responses, most of which were positive!

Some topics broached did include:

  • More external campus representation desired, particularly Sutton Bonington – It is our aim for next year to host at least one social a term dedicated to those LGBT+ students on Sutton Bonington, of which there are several. We’re going to be in contact with the Guild as much as possible, and hopefully our presence at the SB Welcome Fair will attract some attention and we can gather more information up-front on how best to help in this area! 
  • Established crowds – Naturally, close friendships will be formed at events as people meet and get along. However, this can sometimes cause new members to feel alienated. To help with this, we are aiming to host a Refreshers social in January 2018, as well as organising more welcome/ get-to-know socials (which will be more diverse) in October than have been hosted previously. There are in addition to the regular weekly socials that will go on throughout the year.

5. How, in your opinion, could the Network improve? (Open question)

Feedback included:

  • Giving members ‘concrete ways to give regular suggestions instead of just polls with limited options’.
  • More ‘openness from the committee’
  • More ‘transparency on committee operation’

I (Chris) completely agree that an efficient way of obtaining comments and concerns from students, as well as ensuring transparency from the committee, is crucial in making sure that the Network is representing the LGBT+ student voice as much as it can. 

In response to this, I aim to start a public LGBT+ Network Facebook Page, in addition to the current group. This will, hopefully, allow the following:

  • A concise and direct manner of relaying important Network information (including directly expressing what the committee are getting up to)
  • A buffer between the general public and the Facebook Group (which will remain an active safe space for UoN LGBT+ students and our direct allies only). This will stop any spamming from those who 
  • A way for Network members and members of the public to directly message the page, so that requests and feedback can be easily sent and speedily answered.
  • A clear way of advertising large scale events and website posts that will not become hidden underneath other posts.

6. Suggestions for Events and Campaigns

Ideas included:

  • More cafe events outside of Mooch (esp. Kitty Cafe) including non-alcoholic meet-ups
  • Discussion Groups and LGBT+ education sessions
  • Continuing with inclusive and interactive campaigns 
  • Meet ups with queer religious members
  • Continuing with events for asexual members and a more widespread acknowledgement that asexual people are welcome and included
  • Socials to alternative club nights (e.g. Ocean/Crisis)
  • Continued promotion of external campaigns like in Awareness Week

Thank you for the brilliant ideas! The Social Secs for the upcoming year are working hard to find places to host cafes and socials that differ from the usual Mooch setting. This includes places such as Lee Rosy’s, the Dice Cup Cafe and the Kitty Cafe etc.. Due to popular demand, weekly Mooch socials will still be happening! Additionally, socials with particular intersections will be hosted as regularly as possible, through the Network as well as through collaborations with other Networks in the Students Union. 

In regards to the campaign ideas, we currently do not have any campaign officers on committee. However, we are going to run another election in the new term, after which two campaigns officers and two more welfare officers will hopefully be added to the committee. Until then, we are hoping to run as many campaigns as possible alongside our social events! 

The 2017/18 Committee are incredibly excited to be able to help grow the Network in the next year, and we will take on all your feedback throughout. 

Thank you for reading and for answering the survey!

Chris Smith 

29/7/17

 

 

 

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A Message on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

A common refrain whenever I speak to people who are not LGBT+ goes something along the lines of this: “Why do you get so many days to celebrate your identity?” Pride, History Month, the various intersectional remembrance days, and IDAHoBiT are often used by people outside the community to suggest we have some sort of special privilege. It makes us sound entitled and is often used as a means to try and instigate a sense of guilt in us. So, on this 17 May, as we commemorate another IDAHoBiT, I have one thing to say to anyone reading this who identifies as queer in any way. Do. Not. Apologise. Be yourself and remember that the reason we have such events – many of which are framed as days of mourning or grief – is because society has often been stacked against us. In many parts of the world, even today, stigma against the LGBT+ community is rampant. Active persecution in Chechnya, political ostracisation in Singapore, legal dangers in the USA, silent discrimination in the UK, state-sanctioned violence across parts of Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, and the specific prejudice faced by LGBT+ refugees – all of these serve as reminders that our various identities and intersections are consistently targeted. In these times, it is not only acceptable but important to take time and reflect. Commemorating days such as IDAHoBiT are not simply ceremonial and superficial; they play a vital role in reminding the world that, despite the best efforts of many, we are a community that will not be silenced. In particular, it is a way for those of us in parts of the world where prejudice is not the norm to speak out for those who are in precarious positions. Even if that takes the form of a private reaffirmation of who we are, in the comfort of our homes, solidarity is a powerful thing.

Ibi – Campaigns Officer

 

(Please remember that our welfare resources are listed on this website if you need them.)

Nottingham’s LGBT+ Community Speaks Out Against Persecution of Chechnya’s Gay/bi Citizens

 

On Holocaust Memorial Day 2017, Dr. Max Biddulph launched the University of Nottingham’s LGBT+ History Month with a public lecture. This lecture explored the persecution of gay/bi men under the Nazi regime of the Third Reich, specifically focusing on their imprisonment in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen. In ‘Citizens of the Third Reich: Everyday Betrayals and the Pink Triangle Prisoners of Sachsenhausen’, Dr. Biddulph discussed the extent to which citizens of the German town were complicit in and knowledgeable of the fates of these gay/bi men. In the lecture, Dr. Biddulph described a regime of intrusive surveillance, secret informers, imprisonment, torture and systematized murder, carried out as part of the operationalization of a violent ideology.

 

These same processes of persecution are now being enacted in Chechnya. In April, reports written by the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta exposed the imprisonment of and use of violent force against Chechnya’s LGBT+ citizens by local authorities. Commenting on these recent atrocities in a statement to us, Dr. Biddulph states, ‘Never for one minute did I think that I would hear the same processes reported a mere four months later in 2017 in Chechnya: surveillance, betrayal, rounding up, imprisonment, torture and murder.’ Following the exposure of these crimes, a number of journalists involved in the reporting of these events have also been sent death threats.

 

The news reports of these atrocities are disturbing. During the past months, over a hundred men have been blackmailed, interrogated, imprisoned, tortured and abused by the Chechen authorities. In April, it was reported that detainees are held in locations where they are beaten and electrocuted for their sexual orientation or associations with the LGBT+ community.

 

In an attempt to force the use of violence against their relatives, the authorities have also outed some men in the community to their families: ‘a subtle nuance in this instance is the invitation for families to do the murdering, (or the militias will)’, Dr. Biddulph writes in his statement, comparing these crimes to those of the Nazis’.  The families of these Chechen men perpetrate these ‘honour killings’ under duress or in order to avoid the perceived shame of association.  The discrimination and dehumanization of the LGBT+ community in Chechnya by local governance, exacerbated through the state omission of action to prevent such atrocities, is allowing this violence to be inflicted with impunity from state legal structures. As such, the Russian state is implicated in these crimes.

 

On the 28th April, members of Nottingham’s LGBT+ community protested against these atrocities in the city centre. This protest was organised by Damian Darby, and it featured several speakers addressing a group of activists off Market Square. With over 200 people registering their interest in the event on Facebook, it was well attended by those voicing their opposition to these crimes. At the protest, Damian and the speakers urged listeners to do what they could to support the victims: make donations, sign petitions, urge MPs to put pressure on the government to change discriminatory asylum laws. In a written statement to us following the protest, Damian states, ‘It’s important that people get involved and support this cause because they should never live in fear of being tortured and killed because of who they love!’,

 

In his statement, Dr. Biddulph urges UoN students to take action: ‘don’t be a bystander: sign the petitions, donate to the support funds, out these atrocities at every turn.  We have tools at our disposal not available in 1945 . . . the Nazis functioned by deceit and with the arrogance of power, thought they could cover up their crimes. 21st century social media makes this less feasible’. Dr. Biddulph also states that writing about these events in Chechnya ‘cuts me to the core’ after having relayed a ‘very powerful message […] from history earlier this year’.

 

We also contacted Chris Smith, UoN’s incoming LGBT+ officer. He emphasised the developments made in LGBT+ rights over the past decades and the need for their defence internationally. Along with Dr. Biddulph and Damian, he urges the Nottingham and UoN community to respond, using all of the resources available for taking action in the twenty-first century. In his comment, he notes that, ‘extreme homophobia is still rampant across the world’: ‘We cannot risk becoming complacent when people in Chechnya still have to fight for their lives every day’. Chris encourages any students worried about the situation in Chechnya, or any other LGBT+ issues, ‘to contact our welfare support at LGBT+Welfare@nottingham.ac.uk or via Facebook’.

 

The ‘extreme homophobia […] still rampant across the world’ that Chris emphasises is pervasive in Russia. The political apparatus operating in Chechnya is among the most conservative and virulently homophobic of this region. The local leader of this constitutive entity of Russia, Ramzan Kadyrov, took power after the Second Chechen War, when Russia re-established power after Chechnya’s short period of independence. Tanya Lokshina, of Human Rights Watch, likens his governance to the ruling of a ‘private fiefdom’, with the human rights of LGBT+ citizens omitted by the authorities.

 

Kadyrov’s allegiance to Vladimir Putin has led to Moscow turning a blind eye to the operationalization of the oppressive ideology that has been reported in recent weeks. Although Putin has recently stated that the Russian Government will investigate the reports, the comments from state authorities and failure of the state to protect the rights of the LGBT+ community is reprehensible. The exclusion of LGBT+ people from the framework of citizenship through discrimination has perpetuated a violent regime of oppression.

 

In Chechnya, Kadyrov’s spokesman, Alvi Karimov, has propagated an exclusionary rhetoric to this effect: ‘You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic’, he told Interfax news agency. This rhetoric of denial and omission of LGBT+ rights is pervasive in the governmental structure of Russian power: the state has not denounced or acted to stop the violence being inflicted upon the bodies and minds of Chechnya’s gay/bi citizens and individuals associated with the LGBT+ community.

 

On Wednesday 17th May, the international community will stand in solidarity to mark the international day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. The University of Nottingham will fly the rainbow flag on The Trent Building to stand alongside the LGBT+ community in condemning these discriminations. Dr. Biddulph told us that he invites UoN students to look up at the rainbow flag and ‘pause for reflection on exactly what diversity within our university means and to consider the progress we have made in this society and the diverse experiences of LGBTQ people around the world’.

 

‘Our thoughts go out our brothers in Chechnya’, he states.

 

The following links are to organizations that have started petitions in order to put pressure on governments to take action against these atrocities and protect those involved in exposing such crimes. Donations are also being received to help evacuate LGBT+ community members in danger. As Dr. Biddulph states, let us ‘out these atrocities at every turn’.

 

Sign petitions:

All Out want to put pressure on the Federal Russian Authorities:  https://go.allout.org/en/a/chechen-100/

Amnesty International want Chechnya to stop abducting and killing individuals associated with the LGBT+ community and to protect the journalists who have been reporting on the events: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/stop-abducting-and-killing-gay-men-chechnya

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/protect-journalists-exposed-abuse-gay-men-chechnya-russia?from=issue

Pink News, an LGBT+ news website, are campaigning for the Russian authorities to stop the persecution: http://petitions.pinknews.co.uk/russian-authorities-stop-the-persecution-of-gay-men-in-chechnya

 

Donate to help the safe evacuation of gay/bi men at risk:
http://rainbow-international-fund.org

https://www.lgbtnet.org/en/endonate

https://go.allout.org/en/a/chechnya/

 

Researched and written by Alexandra Farzad and Jonathan McAllister.

Our thanks to Dr. Max Biddulph, who commented on the piece before publication.

http://www.impactnottingham.com/2017/05/nottinghams-lgbt-community-speaks-persecution-chechnyas-lgbt-citizens/

 

Your new LGBT+ Officer!

Hey everyone! It’s Chris.

It’s nice to meet you all – and, for those who I know already – it’s always good to see you again.

Last Friday I dressed up in a suit and attended a results night, before learning that I had gained a huge 777 votes, cementing me as your next LGBT+ Officer. That feels so weird to say…. I’m not sure whether to soil myself from excitement, from anticipation, or from sheer nervousness. Thank you all so much for voting for me! (and for those who chose R.O.N… I really hope I manage to win you over.)

I won’t lie to you – I’m a little nervous. It’s not just from the numerous horror stories I’ve heard about the role over 5 lots of previous officers, or the sheer responsibility that I’ve now got on my shoulders, but it’s the dread that I might disappoint you.
So to avoid that, I’m going to be as transparent as possible – here are some things I will almost definitely do this year as Officer:
– Forget names
– Say the wrong thing
– Say something someone deems offensive without realising
– Forget to reply
– Forget to ask
– Assume incorrectly

I’m only human. I’m aware of my privilege as a cis white man, I know I’m not the font of all LGBT+ knowledge, and I’m definitely aware that I’m only 20 years old and I’ve never even seen Titanic. I’m young, inexperienced, maybe even foolish…

But I’m ready to learn. I’ve learnt so much over the past two years, and I know that over the next one I’ll learn even more. We’re not going to change the world, but if we all band together and help each other, we can keep our community strong and make sure that the year of 2017/18 is a strong one for our network.

Here’s all I ask of you – please don’t suffer in silence. If you have any complaints, concerns or queries regarding the Network or being LGBT+ at University, please never hesitate to speak up. Come to events, participate in the polls, submit your event ideas – We can’t change anything if we don’t know what’s wrong, and you’re all so vital in making sure we make as much positive change as possible.

I’m so excited to have been granted this position. I hope I can make you all proud.

Thank you so much,
Chris
💙💟💙💟💙

 

Drag Queens, History Month and Solidarity

 

The world is hurting right now. There is no nice way to say it. The world is hurting, and the LGBT community is among the most pained. With LGBT History Month starting today, I could not help but reflect on the irony of gearing up for 28 days of celebrations when we are at a point where progress may not only have stopped, but may actually be regressing.

 

What has helped alleviate this not-unjustified sense of gloom has been the privilege of living in a city that still has queer spaces. The final weekend before February, I went to see a show starring Korean-American drag queen Kim Chi. I know drag – and its commercialisation in the mainstream – is not without its detractors. But I am a fan of her work and I needed to be around like-minded people. The show was not political in any way, unless, of course, you count the fact that existing as LGBT in the current climate is not without its baggage. That being said, there was something oddly electrifying and – dare I say? – almost cathartic about watching a “proudly plus-size” queen defiantly flaunting her heritage in a hanbok the weekend after her country of residence became quite a lot less welcoming.

 

This is what I feel is the most important thing to remember going into History Month. There are still spaces for us as a community to thrive. And when we come together, we can provide something for each other that is difficult to quantify but oh so vital for our survival – strength and unwavering support for each other. Yes, we should critique such spaces. Yes, they need to improve and are not magically unproblematic just because they are (pro-)LGBT. After all, unwavering blind adulation is what has led to many of the problems we face this year. But having these spaces in the first place, celebrating them, and making them as intersectional and accessible as we possibly can is the best way for us to celebrate what we have achieved so far while setting a course for things yet to come.

 

Ibtisam Ahmed

Campaigns Officer

 

We hope we as a committee can play a part in continuing to make the Network more inclusive. The University is hosting a varied set of programmes for LGBT History Month and we would really encourage Network members to go to as many as they can because there are some really important and interesting conversations that are taking place in them. For a full programme, please see: http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/peopleandculture/2017/01/26/events-lgbt-history-month-2017/

Recap of the term

Happy holidays everyone! We hope you’re all having a wonderful time over the winter break. If you’re struggling at all, please do make use of our welfare resources: https://uon-su-lgbt.com/welfareandoutreach/

 

We’ve done so much this term that I thought it’d be nice to have a recap.  We’ve been told by various SU staff that we’re the most active this network has ever been and, further, the most active SU network! The NUS has called us one of the most active LGBT+ networks they’ve ever seen. Also, two Nottingham-based LGBT+ groups have expressed how impressed with us they are, as has a leading LGBT+ global activist.

 

Considering we’re all volunteers and have our committee roles alongside our degrees (some undergraduate, some masters, and some PhD), I am very pleased and honoured to be a part of this team.

 

Here’s what we’ve achieved this term:

 

  • Welcome social: Event at the start of the year in the studio. Free food and drinks, board games, and an opportunity to meet other people.
  • Dice cup: We went to the Dice Cup café (a board game café) at the start of term to get to know each other in a low-key and friendly environment.
  • Café and Mooch socials: Almost every Wednesday we’d either have an event on campus with free food and drink or we’d spend the evening at Mooch.
  • BME event: The BME Network and LGBT Network collaborated to commemorate Black History Month. We screened a series of short films that are centred on black LGBT lives. We were also joined by Abii Musique, an artist who spoke about the double instances of discrimination – racism in the LGBT community and queerphobia in the BME community.
  • Sticker system: Implemented a ‘traffic light’ system for nights out. LGBT+ spaces have a reputation for being a place for ‘hooking up’ and so, in order to make people more comfortable coming to our events, we’ve started giving out yellow and pink stickers that people can choose to wear to show their unwillingness to be ‘hit on’. Here’s how it works:

Yellow = y’allowed to ask
Pink = please no touching

(Yellow is for people who are available but aren’t your standard ‘single people looking to hook up’ e.g. asexual people who are interested in romantic relationships or vice versa etc.)

Obviously this is optional as the only purpose is to make people more comfortable at our events. Please do respect the sticker system, though, and do not make any advances towards people wearing pink, and be aware that people wearing yellow are not expressing consent or a desire to be hit on.

  • Pub quiz: We ran a pub quiz to raise money for STM and managed to raise £100!
  • Halloween bar crawl: This bar crawl was also to raise money for STM and we raised £168.
  • Propaganda: Committee members met with the managers at Propaganda to discuss some of the issues that had been brought to us. We’ve assured everyone that Props is a safe space and that the staff are dedicated to keeping it that way. If you ever have an issue in the venue or with a member of staff, message the Propaganda Facebook page or speak to a member of staff on the night. They are very keen to resolve any concerns and will take your comments on board!
  • Asexual and aromantic café: We ran a café (free food and drink on campus) for those who identify under the ace/aro umbrella.
  • TDOR vigil: Attended the Trans Day of Remembrance vigil held by the Notts Trans Hub.
  • Welfare fair SB: Had a stall at the welfare fair on Sutton Bonington campus.
  • Medsoc welfare fair: Had a stall at the welfare fair with Medsoc.
  • Crafternoon: We held a welfare crafternoon with student minds.
  • Manchester crawl: Went on a coach trip to Manchester to explore the gay scene. We went to a range of bars in the iconic gay village before ending the night in G-A-Y.
  • Pride Ocean: The big O was decked out in rainbows and glitter for a night of celebrating LGBT+ pride!
  • Zine: We started an online magazine. We’ve only had one edition so far but are keen to do more! Please contact Ellis Harris at apyeh2@nottingham.ac.uk if you want to get involved. First edition: https://issuu.com/uonsulgbtnetwork/docs/zine_edition_1___1_
  • Skill swap: Growing up as an assigned gender that you don’t identify with can mean you’re not taught certain typically ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ skills (e.g. if you’re AFAB and start taking testosterone, it’s likely you won’t have been taught how to shave). We ran an event for people to share skills they have and to learn new ones!
  • Clothes swap: Alongside the skill swap, we held a clothes swap. People brought their unwanted clothes and exchanged them, or just came along and bought items for £1 each. All funds went towards STM.
  • NAT: We raised money for the National AIDs Trust for World AIDs Day. We sold red ribbons and raised £57.35.
  • Fems campaign: We’re joining forces with the UoN Feminists to launch a social media campaign next term to tackle gender stereotypes. We took pictures and anecdotes from our members sharing stories about how they go against stereotypes every day. The campaign will go ahead next term.
  • Debate: The Nottingham Debating Union ran a show debate with us. The motion was: “This house believes that the LGBT movement should reject the “born this way” argument as a basis for rights/entitlements.”
  • GNT policy: We adapted the existing gender neutral toilet policy and took the motion to council. Unfortunately, the policy was one vote off being passed. The policy will be taken to referendum during the next voting period, so keep an eye out and be sure to vote! The policy we proposed was:

What is the idea about?

 

For the Students’ Union to;

  • Continue to lobby the university for formal agreement to provide and maintain at least one gender neutral toilet in all main buildings on all campuses
  • To extend this agreement to providing and maintaining at least one gender neutral toilet (of the same size/standard as the gendered facilities) on all floors with more than two gendered toilets on the same floor.
  • To review the current list of gender neutral toilets to ensure that they exist
  • To work with the LGBTQ Staff Network and Trans Working Party to further this campaign
  • To continue to enforce the agreement with the University’s Estates department that Gender Neutral Toilets will be created in all new University Buildings.
  • To lobby for an agreement with the University’s Estates department that Gender Neutral Toilets will be created on all floors with more than two gendered toilets.

 

Why have you proposed it?

  • This has been Union Policy for the past 3 years.

  • The Disabled Student Network, the Trans Working Party, the NUS LGBT+ Women’s delegate, and the Feminist Society have indicated their support in this campaign.

  • Gender neutral toilets are a form of accessible toilets for: – Trans people – People who don’t want assumptions made about their gender – Parents with a child of a different gender

  • These toilets are also extra toilets in a building to be used during busy times of the day. Gender neutral toilets are already in existence in all public buildings in the form of disabled toilets. However, these toilets are specifically for disabled people and should be reserved for this purpose, rather than being repurposed for more general use. A single gender neutral toilet does not take up much space and is an easy addition to new and old buildings

  • Where there are more than two gendered toilets on one floor of a building, it is unnecessary for the rest to be gendered.

  • Making existing excess toilets gender neutral will be cost-effective and will ensure that disabled toilets are not used by people without disabilities, thereby reducing congestion.

  • Glitter Ball: We’ve organised a formal to be held at the end of the January exam period. Details can be found here: https://www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/events/7601/9441/
  • STM:

*What is it?*

STM stands for Supporting Trans+ Members and the aim is to fund (or partially fund) products that are essential for safely combatting dysphoria. Being a student isn’t cheap, but we don’t want any one of our network members to be buying low-quality and potentially dangerous products due to a lack of funds.

*How do I get funding?*

Here is the funding application form: http://lgbtlogin.polldaddy.com/s/stm-funding-application

Once we get a few applications, we hold a meeting with some volunteer panellists from the network in order to decide how to allocate funding. All applications are anonymous so as to be fair. What the panel looks for is (a) is this product necessary (b) is this product safe, and (c) how much money are we able to put towards purchasing it. By (a) we mean necessary for combatting dysphoria, but not things like make-up or clothes. We can recommend cheap make up brands and we are also running a clothes swap. By (b) we mean is this a good quality product that will not affect your health.

So far we have funded two good quality, safe binders and an initial consultation with a gender clinic.

 

  • Other: On top of this, we as a committee have had various types of training, meetings, submitted funding applications, completed other administrative tasks, as well as had 1-on-1 welfare meetings.

 

Your LGBT+ Officer,

Lux

World AIDS Day 2016

 “Despite modern medical advances, many people still don’t know how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV is very common.

World AIDS Day reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away—there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.”

Today we raised £50 for the National AIDS Trust (http://www.nat.org.uk/) by selling red ribbons in the Portland building. On Monday we will have a welfare stall with Medsoc for their welfare week and will be selling the ribbons then, too!

Trans+ Awareness Month: Recap

Nov. 1 marked the beginning of Trans Awareness Month. Culminating on Nov. 20, which is the annual observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance, Trans Awareness Month exists to educate people about trans contributions to society, the history of trans people within and outside of the larger LGBTQ community, and to remember the ever-increasing numbers of trans people who have died (most often by murder or suicide) the previous year. Read more…

This month, the UoN LGBT Network:

  • Went to the Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR) vigil with the Notts Trans Hub.cropped-nth-bannerv3
  • Ran a skills swap: Growing up as an assigned gender that you don’t identify with can mean you’re not taught certain typically ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ skills (e.g. if you’re AFAB and start taking testosterone, it’s likely you wont have been taught how to shave). We held an event in the portland building to share skills in a safe environment.
  • Ran a clothes swap: People brought their unwanted clothes to the atrium and received a token for each item. The token was redeemable for an item of clothing. If people didn’t have any clothes to bring along, each item was only £1. All funds went to Supporting Trans+ Members (STM) which helps network members fund things like binders, packers, etc. swapbanner
  • STM is still going strong and at each stall we raise more money. We went to Sutton Bonington campus for the Welfare Fair on the 16th. We brought along our lucky dip (as usual)! front-of-stm-flyer

The LGBT Network would like to remind everyone that our welfare team is always available to provide support to you, no matter your place within the LGBT+ community, or your reasons for needing it.

If you’d like to apply for STM funding, please click here.

The UN Votes on LGBT Rights

 

On Monday, 21 November, the UN General Assembly voted on two key historic motions regarding LGBT rights worldwide, both carrying major ramifications on how the rights movement is seen worldwide.

 

The first vote was on a non-binding resolution that was aimed at making LGBT rights a universally recognised human right, an attempt that has been blocked on previous occasions. A non-binding resolution, if passed, means that the UN as an organisation is committed to the content of the vote, but individual countries can still opt out. The reason this was presented as a non-binding vote is so that opposition to the vote, which is still strong in certain parts of the world, does not prevent the UN from taking a positive stance on LGBT rights. The vote was passed by a significant, though not overwhelming, majority. Crucially, the range of countries that supported the vote means that the UN’s commitment is towards having dialogue with different countries so that LGBT rights are promoted within the context of cultural rights rather than being seen as an imposition of the European voting bloc, which it has been seen as in the past.

 

The second vote was brought forward by the African bloc of nations as an attempt to undermine a previous decision made by the UN Human Rights Council. The UNHRC had appointed its first ever High Commissioner for LGBT Rights earlier this year. The African bloc believed that this was an infringement on their individual national sovereignty and an imposition of foreign values, and therefore brought forward a proposal to remove the position. Thankfully, this vote was defeated in the General Assembly and the High Commissioner’s position is going to stand.

 

The votes have proven that the world is slowly becoming more accepting of LGBT rights, as proven by positive votes by nations such as Belize and Singapore, which had voted against the measures in the past. Nonetheless, the second motion also proves that attempts to solidify rights can still be undermined and we need to stand together in solidarity.

 

The university’s LGBT radio show, The Identity Talk, held a special broadcast during the second vote to discuss global rights in more detail and the show audio can be found at: https://audioboom.com/posts/5311397-the-identity-talk-lgbt-rights-worldwide-and-the-un

 

Ibi

Campaigns Officer

Transgender Day of Remembrance

CW: Transphobia, violence

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance 2016, a time to remember and mourn those in the trans community whom we have lost to hatred and violence in the past year, and to bring awareness to the issues that continue to plague trans individuals both locally and worldwide.

The LGBT Network would like to remind everyone that our welfare team is always available to provide support to you, no matter your place within the LGBT+ community, or your reasons for needing it.
And we would like to say to all those struggling today, that you are always welcome here.

If you are trans+ and would like the LGBT+ Network to help fund products that are necessary for combatting dysphoria, please take a look at https://uon-su-lgbt.com/2016/10/28/stm-is-ready/

 

trans-flyer-background

 

Huffington Post – Transgender Day Of Remembrance: We Remember Them, Because They Were Known To Us

 

The exact number of trans people killed each year is unknown. The deaths are collated from newspaper and media reports from around the world. What we do know is that being transgender puts your life at risk.

On Thursday 13th October at 10am I was assaulted in a busy town centre, just minutes from where I live. “You f*cking weirdo” yelled aggressively straight at me, followed even more unpleasantly by them spitting directly into my face, then turning around and strolling off. I was left devastated, alone and broken.

However, my fate is nothing compared to what happens to trans people around the world. Just five days earlier in Cleveland, USA, a boy found the body of Brandi Bledsoe. Brandi was found wearing just her underwear, with plastic bags covering her head and her hands. Brandi was a 32 year-old trans-woman of colour, murdered.

Brandi is just one of the many trans people killed throughout the world each year. Each year for TDoR (Transgender Day of Remembrance) we remember them, because they were known to us.
We also need to remember that this is not just about trans women. The entire trans community is becoming more visible in public and in the media. Raising awareness of our existence, our hopes and our rights. In February (2016), a 30 year-old transgender man was stabbed to death in Salford, UK – a death of another trans victim which tore their family apart.

My desire to simply disappear into gender norms is partly fuelled by the hatred some people have for trans people, hatred for me and what I represent.

There is hope. The people who attend TDoR are not just trans people. They are friends, they are family, they are colleagues. Most importantly, they are allies. They don’t hate me – they are proud of me. Some of them love me, because I have the courage to be myself, and they are standing in solidarity with us all so that one day the hatred and intolerance trans people suffer at the hands of others in my country and around the world will stop, forever. The people who stand side-by-side with me at TDoR give me hope.

And we need hope. We need hope because trans people are being born every day, you just can’t see it. You just don’t know it until they realise that sometimes not everyone fits into the gender they were born with.

The recent media attacks on Mermaids, a UK charity offering support to gender variant children and their families, has devastated lives. Hatred and bigotry is learnt behaviour – and where better to learn this from than the headlines of a national newspaper? With a little knowledge and a lot of ignorance you can do untold damage to, not just young people’s lives, but their relatives too.

I thought we were making progress, but now parents fearful of what their trans children are saying to them about their gender identity, and these parents are too frightened to help their sons and daughters for what it might say about them. Child abuse? No, the only abuse is to do nothing, to not want your offspring to live, happy and fulfilled lives.

We must change the rhetoric. Gender dysphoria, the medical term for being trans is literally killing people – through suicides and murder – and it doesn’t have to be this way. The solution is simple. Let trans people live their lives in the gender they identify as, and treat them like any other person, with respect and dignity.

After all, trans people are human beings too.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/rebecca-fox/transgender-day-of-remembrance_b_12897320.html