Leaving Statement from Chris Smith (LGBT+ Officer 2017/18)

The next couple of weeks officially mark the end of my term as LGBT+ Officer!

I would like to thank everyone who has helped make this year so amazing for the Network, whether committee or non-committee, by volunteering their time to help benefit our community. Together, we’ve put together several successful campaigns, raised a ton of money for charity and hosted and co-hosted over 30 different events!

Special shout-outs go to Alex and Jonny at UoN LGBT+ Voices who headed up their own campaigns and events alongside the Network with tremendous success, as well as Sophie, Andy, Luke, Jase and Liv for doing such amazing work on committee – I’m so proud of you all!

Being a Part-Time Officer is definitely like having a part-time job – there have been highs and lows, but with help from the other SU Officers and the brilliant support from the Student Union staff (especially those in Representation Development) it’s been such a pleasure heading the Network this year. I know that James will do a great job taking up the role  (hopefully he’ll be able to get through my 20,000 word handover document by September – bit of summer reading never went amiss 😉) and I wish him the best of luck in the upcoming months!

If you haven’t already, make sure to follow the new SU LGBT+ Officer account below to keep up with James next term.

It’s been so great to meet you all, and I wish everyone in the Network a happy Pride month and a fantastic year,

  • Chris Smith (LGBT+ Officer 2017/18)

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References to ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

We have been alerted to the fact that references to ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ in our newsletters may make a few members uncomfortable, due to the transphobic nature of comments made by RuPaul earlier this year. If this is something that has affected you we apologise sincerely – it was definitely not our intention to come across as supporting those comments and we will definitely be more careful in the future when it comes to referencing the show.

If you have any comments or concerns, make sure to contact the LGBT+ Officer at sulgbtofficer@nottingham.ac.uk, or use the Feedback section on our website.

  • Chris, LGBT+ Officer 2017/18

 

Statement in Response to the Use of Anti-LGBT+ Language by Members of the University of Nottingham

It has been brought to our attention that a recently published article written by a member of UoN academic staff included transphobic language.

This highlights the pressing need for LGBT+ welfare and accountability training for those with students under their care. This is not just necessary for staff, but for sports teams, societies, and other student groups and networks.

The university has done a reasonable job so far in implementing welfare systems across university life. However, part of this welfare needs to be LGBT+ specific.

University is often one of the first places that LGBT+ students are able to be themselves, but it should also be recognised that many others are not able to be open about that aspect of their identity. Regardless, every student’s identity deserves to be respected. Derogatory comments and behaviours can have a negative impact on these students’ well-being, thus preventing these and, in turn, protecting their mental health and welfare should be a top priority.

We recognise that sometimes people are simply unaware that certain language is inherently offensive and ought not be used today even if it may have been used in the past. This is why we are stressing the importance of this being a matter of education.

The LGBT+ Welfare and accountability training would include:
– The addressing and removal of archaic, homophobic, transphobic, and other LGBT+-phobic derogatory language from everyday discourse.
– Informing people of the correct terminology to use and how to use it.
– Ensuring that discourse surrounding biology, sex, and reproduction is inclusive of LGBT+ people.
– Making students aware of the LGBT+ resources that are already available and how these can be obtained anonymously without their identity being disclosed.
– Letting people know where they can direct students with concerns of an LGBT+ nature to go for their welfare needs to be met. This would involve information concerning LGBT+ specific mental, physical, and sexual health.
– Informing students of how they can report LGBT+ specific discrimination and hate crimes involving verbal, physical, psychological, and emotional abuse.

Discriminatory language of any nature should not be used or circulated in academic or colloquial discourse, and as a network we take the welfare of LGBT+ students seriously.

We hope to be able to work effectively with the Student’s Union, staff, societies, sports teams and networks to get this training off the ground.

In the meantime, if anyone needs any LGBT+ related support or has experienced something that they wish to privately disclose, email welfare at lgbt+welfare@nottingham.ac.uk

Additionally, if anyone has any further questions regarding the training, email the LGBT+ Officer at lgbtofficer@nottingham.ac.uk

Kind regards,

UoNSU LGBT+ Network Committee

End of First Term Officer Update!

Hey everyone,

As we struggle through coursework/exams and head into second term, here’s an update as to what we’ve been up to so far.

I’ve been up to a lot this year as Officer, and I’ve loved every second of it! More details to follow, but I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has interacted with us so far this year (whether through providing feedback, donating to our stalls or coming along to events) – it means so much to know that you’re enjoying what we’re doing ❤

Huge shout out to our brilliant committee – Sophie, James, Morgan, Emem, Liv, Jordan, Abi, Luke, Jase and Paige – for all of their help and passion so far this year!!

Officer:

  • Attended and spoke at the University’s EDI board committee meeting
  • Continue work on introducing gender neutral toilets around campus outside of Portland Building (in direct talks with the University’s Estates team and have had conversation with Head of Estates Chris Jagger)
  • Held first Open Committee Meeting
  • Attended the Terrence Higgins Trust World Aids Day event  (and saw Prince Harry!)
  • Set up the Trans Voices Group with help from the amazing Morgan and Emem
  • Set up and started the new Facebook Page which has received a large number of messages already!
  • Attended Medsoc welfare stall, Sutton Bonington SHaG week and freshers week stalls, plus Freshers week stalls @ David Ross and QMC
  • Cheeky new logo (not the biggest achievement but I’m very proud of it) and leaflets (we shifted 1000!)

Committee:

  • A fantastic Welcome Social with a huge turn out (we gained more official SU members by the first two weeks than there were at the end of last year!)
  • Have run some amazing socials, including our trip to Manchester, a Halloween bar crawl, plus regular cafe and Mooch socials (including an International Student cafe and Postgrad/Mature student night!)
  • Raised money for the National Aids Trust
  • Sexual orientation: Sex, gender and sexual ‘druther’ talk with Boo Jackson (w/ PhilSoc)
  • Film screenings (including a collab with FilmSoc)
  • LGBT+ Voices talk with Max Biddulph and Ibtisam Ahmed
  • Attended MedSoc Welfare Stall

Outside of the Network:

  • Gender Neutral Toilets in Nottingham New Theatre
  • 30 LGBT+ Safe Space Stickers in the School of Mathematical Sciences (More faculties to follow!)

Keep an eye on 2018, where there will be lots more to come!

Chris Smith (@UONSU_LGBT  , sulgbtofficer@nottingham.ac.uk)

alicestall.PNG

(Image description: Rainbow-adorned Freshers stall with the wonderful Alice Armstrong (Disabled Students Officer))

Transcript of The Great Debate Q8: As a society, how do you believe we can become more inclusive of all gender identities and how can we fight against discrimination of gender non-conforming people?

 

Recently, the Student Union hosted The Great Debate 2017, an event in which students were encouraged to bring their concerns forward to a panel of university and Student Union leaders. I asked a question regarding the treatment of gender non-conforming people, and have transcribed the responses below. Every ‘-‘ dash indicates filler speech. 

If you have any comments or feedback you want the LGBT+ Network to know, please contact me via the feedback tab on this site. I also encourage all students who identify as gender non-conforming or trans to join our new Trans Voices Group, which you can do by emailing uonsutvg@gmail.com – Chris

QUESTION (CHRIS SMITH, LGBT+ OFFICER): As a society, how do you believe we can become more inclusive of all gender identities and how can we fight against discrimination of gender non-conforming people?

SHEARER WEST, UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM VICE CHANCELLOR: How we do it I don’t know but can I just agree with you that we should be doing it, there may bright ideas on the table-

SARAH O’HARA, PRO-VICE-CHANCELLOR FOR EDUCATION AND STUDENT EXPERIENCE : So there has been a fair bit of discussion in the past about things, just like – it would be around bathrooms and loos, about having genderless bathroom facilities which I think is something we can do within this institution quite easily, but we also have to accommodate for people who have very different views, so for example some people would prefer them to be single sex, some people, you know, don’t, so there are lots of things we can do but as an institution we have done a lot of work with the LBGT community, we have, – we’ve done a lot of work with the trans community and recently I – opened an event which we had down on Jubilee Campus where we had Paris Lees come and talk to us and she described her experience and Paris – I don’t know whether any of you know Paris Lees – but she’s from Nottingham and she talked about her – you know, her life on a council estate in Nottingham, and what it was like going at that time as a young boy to prison and going through this period of transition and what it was like and – it was a really interesting discussion because afterwards there was quite a bit of debate around – trangender(ed?) people, who were then getting into a debate with a group of – people in the room who said that they didn’t identify – with a gender so you’ve got quite complicated, what was going on. But I think as an institution… (unclear) we should be open to anybody regardless of their sexuality, their gender, it’s about them being decent people who want to work at this University and respect the University and that should be, you know, how we operate.

LILLIAN GREENWOOD, MP, NOTTINGHAM SOUTH: I think some of the key three things, I think first of all is the fact about University setting its values, saying that it is committed to inclusivity and it’s committed to equality and I think it’s starts from the statement of values, then it’s about policy so that’s what are the things that we need to put into place to put those values into action and I think an important part of developing that, especially as this is a, you know, this is a moving – situation, which is something that would change in this society and become far more open and we’re doing really well in terms of – I think, you know, being more inclusive and – having/ so I think there needs to be a discussion – about what that means and listening to people’s views about how we can make it a more inclusive and what sort of policies and practises we’re having – in place, and the third is, and of course this has become, you know, heightened in recent weeks in a broader sense around harassment and people’s experiences of harassment and discrimination, because we’ve got to have clear procedures , we’ve got to encourage people that if they, if there is something that happens, that they know what – that they can report it, that they’ll be listened to, that they’ll be taken seriously, that they’ll be supported, and that there’s measures in place to deal with unacceptable behaviour. So I think that’s how we fight discrimination but we kind of have to have, it starts from a position of values and in policy and then action.

SHEARER WEST VC: I think Lillian’s put that extremely succinctly – all I’d say personally as an incoming Vice Chancellor that in my previous roles , senior leadership roles in other institutions, equality, diversity and inclusion has been a huge element of what I’ve worked on in those institutions, and there have been some very effective outcomes of that and I would want to bring those values into my role here and – as Lillian says it’s values, then it’s policy, and then it’s – sort of – no tolerance for – the kind of negative behaviour that sometimes people experience.

ALAN HOLEY, STUDENT UNION PRESIDENT: Yeah I couldn’t agree more with – Sarah, Shearer and Lillian – I think anyone can express themselves in any shape or form that they so please – I feel like to improve the sense of belonging for LGBT+ members is the fact that to try and increase the understanding to a lot of people because it’s still a matter of, not contention but a lot of students still – and staff – still don’t actually understand all the different – sorry if I say this wrong, but all the different… (in crowd: identities) identities, that’s it – all the different identities and I think that understanding will help underpin – less discriminatory things to happen and I think that’s important to understand.

 

How to Improve Trans Voices with the LGBT+ Network?

Hey everyone,

This year as LGBT+ Officer, I have become very aware that transgender students do not currently have a specific platform for which to voice their opinions within the LGBT+ Network. Whilst the Network encourages feedback, suggestions and conversation from all those who identify as LGBT+, this umbrella term covers so many voices that I fear a lot of trans people feel uncomfortable expressing their true thoughts. Additionally, I feel that there needs to be measures in place so that trans voices are always brought to the forefront of all Network discussions – especially if the LGBT+ Officer for that year identifies as cisgender.

After discussions with trans people, I would like to suggest the idea of starting a Trans Working Group within the Network.
This would be a private Facebook group consisting of only trans people, and would be a place for trans people to share their experiences and concerns, as well as to discuss and voice their opinion on trans issues with the University. Going forward, this would also be a space for the sharing of trans specific welfare resources and for the development of a trans community.
In addition to this, there would be an totally anonymous feedback form given to all members of the LGBT+ Network so that any trans people who would feel uncomfortable joining a private Facebook group would still have a voice. This feedback would then be discussed within the Trans Working Group.

In the long term, I also have had ideas to bring to Union Council the motion to introduce a Trans Officer (or perhaps Gender Minority Officer (term to be decided)) on to the Part Time Officer (PTO) team, and then subsequently renaming the LGBT+ Officer to LGBQ+ Officer. By creating a Trans PTO, trans voices are acknowledged consistently and directly in a way I feel would not be as potent by just having a Trans Representative on the LGBT+ Network committee.

The Trans Officer PTO would take control of the Trans Working Group, and then relate and express the voices of trans people to the Student Union officer team, the University, and the LGBT+ Network. The Trans officer would also automatically joint run the LGBT+
Network with the LGBQ+ Officer (Perhaps in the future, this would then progress to the creation of a separate Trans Network with it’s own committee.) Of course, the Trans Officer would have to identify as trans (This is something that will need to be clarified in the bye-laws as currently the only way in which the Student Union is officially aware of trans students is through LGBT+ Network’s membership.)

I would love to hear your thoughts on these matters –
1. Is the Trans Working Group a good idea? How would you change or amend it?
2. Is introducing a Trans PTO a good idea? How would you change or amend the role?
3. Do you have any other ideas on how to better express the voice of trans people within the University?

Please use the ‘Feedback’ form on this website, or message our Facebook page, with your ideas and thoughts. Thank you for reading!!

–  Chris Smith, LGBT+ Officer 2017/18

Fantastic resource for trans people!

http://genderkit.org.uk/ is a new and brilliant resource for trans people. It details a myriad of ways in which one can change their gender construction – including legal documentation, names, pronouns, identities, hormone treatments, and all areas of the body (including binding, corseting, make up, surgery, tucking etc.)

Definitely check out the resource and be sure to share it with your friends!

http://genderkit.org.uk/

Nominations for Campaigns and Welfare Officers

Hello everyone!

Nominations are now open for the roles of Campaigns Officer (x3) and Welfare Officer (x2) for the LGBT+ Network committee!

The deadline for submitting your nomination is 12pm on Monday 9th October.

If you are at all interested, head to https://www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/societ…/society/…/elections/

For more information about what the roles entail, head here:
https://docs.google.com/…/1I61rA4v5MQSfGJiEwUVcO1EJMFZ…/edit

 

Hope that you are all well, and feel free to message the new page (www.facebook.com/uonlgbt) or myself with any questions,

Chris

Bisexuality Awareness Day

I’m sure many people from the LGBT+ community understand that you are frequently
asked/challenged about your sexuality and gender identities. I’m going to (light-heartedly) share some of the questions I have received about my sexuality, and the kind of thing us bisexuals receive on the regular:
“So which one do you prefer?”
“Isn’t it easier to just be straight?”
“So when did you know you liked both?”
“Are you just experimenting?”
“Oh but you’re going to pick gay or straight right?”
“… Threesome?”
Now, whilst it is possible to take these questions humorously, sometimes it is quite frankly just annoying. Let’s imagine a straight person being asked something along the lines of “Are you sure you’re straight?” Sound ludicrous, right? And yet it seems acceptable to ask a bisexual such questions. So, here are some answers to commonly asked questions:
The whole “preference” thing doesn’t work/apply to everyone
I’ve known basically my entire life
No, I’m not just experimenting
No, I’m not going to pick a “side”
No, it’s not easier to be straight. This is a part of my identity, I know my sexuality and I would rather live as my true self rather than trying to deny my sexuality.
There is a difference between politely asking to educate yourself and ignorantly asking rude questions. Remember, it is ok to ask, but do so respectfully and politely. Also the threesome is not happening.
Lots of bi love,
Paige Roden, General Secretary & Treasurer at University of Nottingham’s LGBT+ Network

 

Officer Update

Hello everyone!

We’ve been up to a lot while you were gone for the summer!  I hope you all had a good break and you’re ready to get back into the swing of things.

I want to explain what we’ve been up to, in continuation of transparency so you all know what to expect this year! 🙂

General

  • New Facebook Page!  We’ve set up a brand new Facebook Page! This will help communication between the Network and it’s members via the anonymous ‘Message’ button, as well as a stronger link between the Network and the general LGBT+ public! Also, it means that the Closed group is now private, meaning it is safe for Network members to post anything at all there without fear of spamming or hate speech. Go give it a like now!

 

  • Welcome Social – On Sunday 30th, we are having a Welcome Social!! Come along to meet some other LGBT+ students and play some games ❤ Link here

 

  • First Wednesday Night Social – On Wednesday 4th, our regular Mooch socials are starting again! Come along for some chill drinks (staying sober is completely fine!) This week also marks the start of our Sunday cafe socials too – perfect if Wednesday isn’t the best day for you or if you prefer a weekend meetup ❤

 

  • New Year Elections – From Monday 25th September to October 9th, you will be able to post your manifesto and nominate yourself for the position of Campaigns Officer (x2) and Welfare Officer (x2)! Voting will commence in the week after! Message the Page or email sulgbtofficer@nottingham.ac.uk for more information.

Link to Elections

Further Information Here

 

  • Sponsorship – We are excited to announce that Bierkeller have offered to sponsor the Network! They are aiming to provide us with Rainbow Discount Cards, offering 10% off all of their drinks for Network members! This will be coming very soon – keep an eye out at Network events, where we will be giving out the cards!

 

  • UoN LGBT+ Voices Event – LGBT+ Voices are hosting their first talk/discussion event on October 6th at 5:30pm to 8:00pm. Come along to hear University speakers talk about LGBT+ inclusivity in the media and how to write inclusively! If you’re haven’t already, joined the closed group for more information here!

 

Other

In addition to the above, I’ve been sorting out some Officer tidbits to fill my manifesto points! There’s still so much more to come, but here’s some info for now:

  • Propaganda Policy – I am going to meet with sponsorship in the SU very soon in order to hopefully draft a contract with Propaganda Nottingham! This will allow us to visit their on official Network events and maybe get discounts on drinks 🙂

 

  • STM – Supporting Trans Members was unfortunately halted this year for various financial reasons – However, I’m pleased to announce that we’re back on track! It’s going to run a little differently however. Instead of members asking for funds to buy binders etc. and then giving them to us, we will instead be buying binders from a reliable and safe source, and then offering them to members at a subsidised rate. Whilst binders are the most popular item requested, we will also still be offering other transition-related items according to demand. More info to follow soon!

 

  • NUS Induction – I recently went to meet some of the current NUS officer with the some of our Officer team in London. It was so interesting to hear about the plans of the LGBT+ Officers (Open and Women’s place) as well as the new Trans Officer (though unfortunately they weren’t there to meet in person.) This year, I hope to gather funds to send some Network members off to the 2017 LGBT+ Conference and Trans Conference – more details to follow.

 

  • In addition, I’ve had several meetings about campaigns so far with the Disabled Students’ Officers Eden and Alice, as well as with the Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer Lauren Bealin-Kelly, who has offered to provide official SU Welfare Training to our committee.

 

As always, if you have any comments, questions or concerns, please fill out the feedback form on this website, contact me on sulgbtofficer@nottingham.ac.uk, or message our new Page for quick feedback!

Wishing everyone the best of luck in the New Year,

Chris