Bi Visibility Day

Today is Bisexual Visibility Day! Unfortunately, bisexuals are on the receiving end of quite a bit of ignorance, both in society in general, and in LGBT communities. So here’s a little bit of destigmatization and information:

– We’re not confused! We’re not unsure of who we’re attracted to; we can be attracted to anyone.

– This doesn’t mean we fancy you. Don’t flatter yourself. Sometimes you’re just not our type.

– Please don’t ask us to have a threesome with you and your partner. We probably don’t want to. We might, but we’ll ask you.

– We are not more likely to cheat on you. Loyalty has nothing to do with the amount of people we can be sexually attracted to. Just because we like more than one sex or gender, doesn’t mean we’re going to have sex with anything that moves.

– On that note, we’re not all sexually promiscuous. Some of us might enjoy threesomes and open relationships, whilst others might not. The number of people we might be sexually attracted to is greater, but the amount of sex we have isn’t necessarily more than a hetero/homosexual person would.

– We might not even be sexually active or interested. There are asexual people who are romantically attracted to multiple genders or sexes, but aren’t interested in sex.

– A bisexual woman who is dating a woman is not homosexual.

– A bisexual woman who is dating a man is not heterosexual.

– Same goes for men.

– We’re always bisexual, regardless of our current partner’s gender.

 

Anyway, here are some bi things. Happy Bi Visibility Day!

 

http://video.genfb.com/1053624661339659

 


bi-day

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On the use of the term ‘queer’

Hello, the Network has been contacted regarding the use of the word queer in a few of our social media posts because of the negative connotations it can carry, its problematic history, and the fact that some non-LGBT+ also use it to mean sexually subversive. As one of the Campaigns Coordinators, and the person who was responsible for the tweets in question, I’d like to make some clarifications, and apologize for any offense that may have been caused.

 

The use of the word in recent posts, which is what the concerns were referring to, were to do with Stockholm Pride (with reference to a tent that was named “Queers of Faith”) and about a course that I attended earlier this summer on gender and sexuality rights and activism worldwide. Here, the word was specifically being used to cater to an international audience, because the acronym LGBT+ does not translate into multiple languages. While queer is also an English word and one that definitely carries very specific and potentially distressing baggage in the West, it has been used as an emancipator term in other countries that are trying to talk to a global LGBT+ movement without losing touch of their own contexts. It is more easily transferable without having to rearrange the entire acronym, and it speaks to cultures, such as my own, where LGBT+ identities are not understood in the same vein as in the UK. in order to do justice to these very specific events, I felt it would have been unfair to relabel the terminology they were using.

 

Further, there are those in the Network and in the LGBT+ community more widely even in the UK who feel the term more accurately represents their identity and that is not something that should be ignored either. We’ll be discussing why some people feel that “queer” is a term integral to their identity, whilst others see it as offensive, in a podcast at the start of the academic year.

 

In the meantime, if anyone comes across the term in future posts (and in any posts that might have been left behind), please be mindful of the intersectional and international make-up of the Network, and that the usage of the term reflects that. “Queer” can be offensive in some contexts, and we are very much aware of that, but in the context of the Network, it is never meant as anything less than understanding and accepting.

 

Thank you for your understanding.

Love and solidarity,

Ibtisam

 

 

Update

For those of you who are not part of the mailing list – please join by becoming a member of the Network! All you have to do is click on the SU website link and add membership to your basket (it’s free!!). 

Below is an email I sent out just now, full of stuff I think you guys should know before the next academic year begins. 

————————

Hello everyone!

With a new academic year beginning, we have a new committee. My name is Lux and I’m your new LGBT+ officer. You can find out more about myself and the other committee members here: https://uon-su-lgbt.com/committee/. (Hover over the “committee” link and select “contact” for all of our email addresses.)

This email will contain a brief outline of what the LGBT+ Network plans on doing this year – please do read on because we have a lot of exciting things in store!

Committee

I’ve put a lot of thought into the best way to organise the network – meeting the aims of the network effectively and sorting them into roles that can be on committee. I’ve had some questions as to why we no longer have reps on committee, so I thought this might be worth explaining:

A couple of years ago we had a lot of reps on committee (including BME, disabled, postgrad etc.). It was largely the case that the reps didn’t do as much as the committee members with specific roles, seeing as their role was simply to be representative of a certain group. Whilst inclusivity is important, we are making a massive effort this year to make the network as effective as possible, at the same time as keeping inclusivity in mind. I think it will be far more conducive to the network to focus on the roles that have an active part in meeting our aims, and therefore not having representative roles on committee.

The aims of the network are: (copied from the constitution)

  1. Aim and Objectives
    • The aims of the Network shall be to create a safe and engaging space for LGBT+ students through:
      • Supporting the network members through our welfare team as well as signposting the various welfare and outreach programs in Nottingham and at the University.
      • Organising campaigns on issues affecting our members and to further the equality of LGBT+ students in the university environment.
      • Organising various social events through which LGBT+ students can meet each other in a safe space.
      • Provide all services in a way that is fair and accessible to everyone.

Our three Welfare Officers are involved with 1.1.1, we have two Campaigns Coordinators in charge of 1.1.2, and two Social Secretaries to cover 1.1.3. We also have a General Secretary and Treasurer who handles our admin, finances, and deputises in my absence.

Whilst I understand that there’s a difference between being represented and having a general committee, I feel that the welfare team can undertake any representation issues that surface. For example, the welfare team directed trans+ issues my way last year (when I was a social sec) because I identify as non-binary. Our committee this year is relatively diverse, so hopefully most representation/intersection issues can be pointed in the direction of a relevant committee member. If not, then the committee as a team will work together to tackle the member’s needs, and perhaps even using outside resources (such as other networks and welfare resources within the university).

In this way, I feel that it’s more effective to have a small, aims-based committee rather than a large one where some of the roles aren’t as active as others.

New things

  • Constitution: we’re re-writing our constitution. This is a document that outlines the aims of the Network, as well as how the committee should be run, how elections should take place, etc. Please keep an eye out on the website and Facebook pages as we’ll be polling to see what changes you’d like us to include.

 

  • Supporting Trans+ Members (STM): this year I’ve started a project whereby we’ll be providing our trans+ members with free or discounted necessities. Being a student is financially challenging as it is, let alone being a trans+ student and having to purchase things to tackle dysphoria. Further, it’s often dangerous to your health to buy cheap and low-quality products (binders, for example, can cause a lot of damage to your ribs and lungs if they’re not good quality). If you identify as anything under the trans+ umbrella and are in need of some discounted or free products, please do respond to this email with a link to a product you’d like or a short description and we’ll place you on the waiting list. To fund STM, we’ll be running a number of FUNdraisers (haha), such as bar crawls, pub quizzes, etc.

 

  • Awareness Week: the week beginning the 10th of October will be dedicated to raising awareness of the different intersections within the LGBT+ community. The aim of this is to help understanding of LGBT+ identities, especially with National Coming Out Day being the 11th. There’ll be talks and events as well as posters and flyers all around the university. Keep an eye out for ways to get involved!

 

  • Zine: this will be a creative space for us to share stories, write articles, review LGBT+ media, poetry, art and more. Ellis Harris will be the Zine editor – please feel free to email apyeh2@exmail.nottingham.ac.uk to see how you can help with the next edition.

Events

We have a lot of fun things planned including:

  • Bar crawls
  • Scene crawls in different cities
  • Formals
  • Cafes (food and drink on UP campus) and Mooch socials
  • Intersection cafes (events geared at specific LGBT+ intersections)
  • Pride club night

Join the Facebook group to find out specifics closer to the time!

 

Thank you for reading this long and arduous email, I hope this is as lengthy as they’ll get in the coming year.

 

I hope you’re all having a fun and safe summer! Remember that our welfare team is always available if you’re having a tough time.

 

That’s all for now, but if you have any questions, please do email me!

 

Your LGBT+ Officer,

Lux

Welfare reminder in light of recent events

In light of the Orlando shooting the Welfare team would like to offer our support and reminders that however you need to grieve for this event, that’s okay. There is no ‘right’ way to process what you’re feeling, and you are under no obligation to speak outwardly and against this event if that is detrimental to your own wellbeing. The most important thing following from this event is showing support and solidarity within our community, and that may take many different forms. First and foremost we need to look after ourselves, and self-care is paramount to that.

Here is a list of ideas for ways of practicing self-care are:

  • Taking a break from social media – if seeing reminders and images from the event is taking its toll, it’s okay to avoid these platforms for a while. You aren’t obligated to be reminded of the pain we’re all feeling right now.
  • Reaching out to others – this may particularly be important if you’re someone who isn’t out, as it may be difficult to conceal why you’re so affected by this event if people around you aren’t aware of your gender and/or orientation. So try to talk to people who are aware and remember that the welfare team’s email is always open (welfare@org)
  • Using a hobby as a distraction – whether it’s reading, watching your favourite Disney film, going for a walk, or watching funny animal videos, using distractions can be extremely valuable at this time. It’s okay to not want to think about what happened for a while and there are many ways of focusing on something else that are available.
  • Managing your mental wellbeing – for those who already deal with mental health problems it can be extremely emotionally draining when something like this happens. Try to remember ways of coping, such as eating and drinking enough, taking medication, practicing mindfulness, and remember that we’re all here to support each other through this.

 

Rosie, Welfare Officer

Networks’ Ball

ball

For the first time ever we present to you the University of Nottingham’s Networks’ Ball 2016!

This year we’ll be wining and dining together at the East Midlands Conference Centre to celebrate each individual network’s hard work as well as networks overall working and collaborating together throughout the year. A perfect ending to the year and just in time for the handing over to the new Part Time Network Officers.

Every network group* and its members are invited; it will truly be a night not to miss. Tickets include a 3 course meal as well as a drink on arrival (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). *Networks: Women’s, LGBT, BME, International, Mature Students, Postgraduate Network, Disabled Students, UoN Fems, Environmental & Social Justice.

menu

Performances: We’re pleased to say that we’ll have pole dancing, singing performances, Luxx Andrews the drag queen, and blade soc! On top of this, we’ll have magicians doing close-up magic before the meal!

PoleSoc YouTube 

Magic Society Instagram

magic society

luxx andrews promo

Join the event to stay up to date: https://www.facebook.com/events/1878426519050792/?active_tab=posts

TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE: http://www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/events/7601/8290/

Spaces are limited so be sure to secure yourself a space!

TABLE FORMS: Table Form

Maximum 10 people per table, minimum 5, however if you have less we can build tables, just tell us the Network you’d prefer to sit with and we will arrange it for you!

Please send all forms, alongside any table/food queries, to events@uonsulgbt.org

 

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

As you’re no doubt aware, yesterday was International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, a celebration on the anniversary of the World Health Organisation’s decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental illness – a fact especially relevant with this year’s focus on mental well-being within the LGBT+ community. With the World Psychiatric Association and the United Nations both speaking out within the past few months against the idea of variance in gender identities and sexual orientations being considered a mental disorder, there’s definitely cause to celebrate how far we’ve come with the acceptance of LGBT+ identities in the past twenty-five years. With the largest global authority on psychiatry condemning the use of conversion therapies and the medicalization of LGBT+ identities in order to further discriminatory agendas, and rainbow flags flying from more world landmarks than I could count on both hands, I do feel genuine pride in our community’s progress towards acceptance and equality.

Through banding together and refusing to back down, we have made enough noise to get ourselves recognised throughout so much of the world, and not just that. We’re constantly taking steps towards being accepted and, on days like this, even celebrated. We haven’t done this just by being our fabulous selves, however. The huge victories and leaps forward in progress we’ve made in recent years have made attitudes around the world more polarised than ever. While much of the world is showing support for their LGBT+ communities and allowing us to take the stage and make our voices heard for at least one day of the year, there are many places that’re now working harder than ever to silence the voices of their queer communities. Despite massive successes in many countries, several conferences, celebrations and protests had to be cancelled or disbanded yesterday throughout the world, even in countries which have held such events to celebration IDAHOBIT in the past, for the safety of the people involved. Look, for example, to the news. There are stories about the murders of high-profile LGBT activists in Bangladesh, organisations such as Proud Lebanon being prevented from holding their events due to threats posed by people opposed to their cause and these are just two of the stories that have caught mainstream attention, barely a glimpse of the countless queerphobic hate crimes that are on the rise throughout the world when people are brave enough to be open about their LGBT+ status.

This, I know, can be disheartening, but I’m not trying to dampen the sense of pride we should feel in our community in the light of celebrations like yesterday. Rather, it should inspire us to band together. Our community is gathering support in so many parts of the world, with many big recent breakthroughs such as the legalisation of same-gender marriage in many countries, the introduction of a mainstream gender neutral title in the English language and the practice of legally allowing people to self-identify in terms of their gender on the rise. Activists in countries in which being LGBT+ are dangerous are still standing up for themselves, and we too can stand up for them. While our work is far from done, it’s important to focus on the incredible progress we have made in such a short time. International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia really brings the global nature of the LGBT+ community into the public eye. It lays out in front of us all of our achievements, and all the challenges we are yet to face. It highlights the true gravity of our movement, the waves we can make when we stand together, and stand proud. On a smaller scale, we can appreciate our close community more than ever.

Our LGBT+ Network here at the University of Nottingham has done so much to embrace LGBT+ students from all sorts of backgrounds and who identify with the community in all sorts of ways and allowed so many of us to become firm friends. It’s ensured there will always be a safe space for LGBT+ students to celebrate their identities and be themselves, and cultivated a strong presence which communicates a message of support, letting everyone know that we’re around, we’re proud, and we will not tolerate anyone discriminating against members of our community in any way, and for any reason. Every day might not be an international celebration, but every small expression of solidarity within our network is yet another stand against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, a small contribution to the greater cause, and while it may not change the whole world, it can certainly be life-changing for individuals. That, I think, is worth celebrating.

– Gabriel Jackson, first year BA English student

More on IDAHoBiT:

Listen:

 

 

Watch:

Tweet:

Learn more:

http://dayagainsthomophobia.org/

 

 

**********COMMITTEE ELECTIONS**********

 

I realize that it’s revision season and you’ve all got other things on your mind BUT if you’re thinking of running for a committee position next year, here are the details:

x3 Welfare and Outreach
x2 Social Secretary
x2 Campaigns Manager
x1 General Secretary and Treasurer

If you want to find out more about what I’ve got planned for next year then please come along to E126 Portland at 2pm-4pm on the 27th April to listen to a short presentation which will then be open to a Q&A.

VOTING:

Nominations open on the 2nd of May and close on the 9th.
The manifesto deadline is the 13th of May
Voting opens on the 16th of May and closes on the 30th

Lux, your LGBT Officer Elect

Trans Day of Visibility 2016

So, with Trans Day of Visibility drawing to a close, I’d first and foremost like to wish all my trans siblings a happy day of visibility, if you’ve had the chance. While the idea of a trans day of visibility was introduced almost a decade ago, we’ve had the opportunity to see it grow and become a relatively mainstream event among LGBT+ people in the past couple of years, and that’s something worth celebrating.

All too often, discourse around trans lives focuses on those that have ended – those whose lives we traditionally mourn on Transgender Day of Remembrance. Almost every conversation about trans people in the public eye is centred around the horrifying numbers of trans people that attempt suicide, successfully take their own lives or are murdered by those that don’t understand us, and while these are important conversations to be having, this day of visibility presents us with a unique opportunity.

Today, I’ve been thinking about what it really means to be visible. There’s so much more to it than just posting selfies online and being told that we’re beautiful whatever our gender, and that we’re an inspiration, much as that might be nice. It’s a chance for those of us lucky enough to be able to be out, and to be visible, to make ourselves known to those of us that maybe haven’t been that lucky. Yes, there’s a lot that’s frightening and dangerous about being a trans person, but we’re here! Against all the odds! We’re here, we’re smiling, and we’re not alone.

So many trans people are denied the chance at visibility because for some, coming out as trans would be an immediate risk to their livelihoods, or even their lives. For those of us that are out, and for those that aren’t, today is a display of solidarity. We won’t let those in power keep trying to insist that we won’t exist. We stand tall, and show the world that there’s far more to being trans than the tragedy porn that catches headlines. We make ourselves visible to prove that living as a trans person is not just for the rich Caitlyn Jenners of this world that can afford to have every surgery under the sun to look ‘acceptable,’ or for those lucky enough to be born into families that are supportive. Trans day of visibility is a chance to celebrate the huge variety of ways to be trans, to break the binary, exist on every point on the spectrum or off of it, and to give hope to those in our community who are silenced. Trans day of Visibility is about understanding the importance of being seen, being heard and being noticed, so that we might one day be listened to. It’s about making ourselves impossible to ignore, no matter how hard people try. It’s about sending a message of hope and solidarity, and showing love and pride to every trans person – not just those binary, cis-passing few we can see on the covers of magazines. This is about visibility for everyone, and I for one am so, so proud.

Your local grumpy trans guy, Gabe.

Afterword: To those of you reading this that are cis, support your trans friends, today and every day. For all the cis people who’ve done awful things to people like me, there are those that have been willing to learn. In my life, I’ve been beaten up in the men’s toilets on two separate occasions in the year and a half since I started passing often enough to use them, and for every blow dealt, there’s been at least one cis person who, since then, has volunteered to scout the bathroom’s out in advance, or to come with me, or defended me against transphobes that would only respect the voices of another cis person. Despite the jokes and horror stories about what cis people have done, there’s never any need to apologise. Just act. Raise us up. We wouldn’t be here without you.

Student Leader Elections: Voting Has Opened!!!

For those of you who haven’t seen the sun this week and might not be aware of the ongoing elections (campaign banners and teams are in-your-face all over campus), voting has opened!!

There are 7 full time officers (president, education, equal opportunities and welfare, postgraduate, sport, activities and community) and 7 part time officers (BME, women’s, LGBT+, mature, international, students with disabilities and environmental and social justice). These officers work as a team and in their subsections to make your uni experience the best they possibly can.

It’s really important that you vote because, at the end of the day, your SU is there for you. Without input from the students, the officers wouldn’t be able to put into action things that you want. Things that the SU have already put into place due to student feedback are the safer taxi scheme and the welfare in sport pledge. These have massively improved uni life and with your vote, officers can make your university experience even better.

You can find out who’s running and VOTE here: http://www.studentleaderelections.co.uk/

Impact, HerCampus, and NSTV have been covering the election period so you can keep up to date:

http://www.impactnottingham.com/section/news/su-elections/

http://www.hercampus.com/school/nottingham

https://www.youtube.com/user/NSTVOfficial/videos