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.)

Advertisements

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

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

 

 

Asexual Awareness Week

As someone who identifies as being on the asexual spectrum, Asexual Awareness Week is naturally close to my heart, but I also think it’s more important than it first appears, even for those who don’t identify as asexual. Of course, the spreading of information surrounding this often misunderstood orientation to those of other sexualities is fantastic, and might make it a little easier to dodge the ever hilarious jokes of ‘so what, are you a plant?’, but to me, there’s far more to it. By the time I first heard the word ‘asexual,’ I’d experimented with labels all over the LGBT+ umbrella, trying to find something that fitted how I was experiencing the world. The more I tried to define my sexuality, the more isolated I started to feel. Adults would insist I was just ‘a late bloomer,’ and my sexuality would find me eventually, whereas my peers assumed I was faking disinterest out of shyness or modesty. I didn’t understand what it meant to find someone ‘hot,’ but I learned what ‘conventionally attractive’ looked like, and used that to get by the traditional, misogynistic ‘lad talks’ of the high school yard. If I hadn’t heard of asexuality, I probably would still be nursing that secret confusion, that quiet fear that I didn’t know how to love properly, that I was still somehow too immature to understand how ‘adults’ felt for each other. The more I learned about it, the more how I felt seemed to make sense. I wasn’t sex repulsed all of the time, but I didn’t really want to do it, either, and suddenly, that was okay. It was still okay when I later found a partner, having been open to him about my relationship with sex and sexuality. It was okay when I fell head-over-heels in romantic love. It was okay when I caught myself thinking one day that, y’know what, he’s quite sexy, really. You see, asexuality doesn’t necessarily mean aromanticism – many asexuals have romantic orientations separate from their sexuality, and identify as, for example, homoromantic asexual. There are also people who experience sexual attraction fleetingly, or in very specific instances. There are people who are demisexual, experiencing attraction only within a deep emotional bond, or grey-asexuals, who are predominantly asexual, but experience sexual attraction very occasionally. There are even asexuals who are a mixture of the two, like myself. There are people who identify as ‘aceflux,’ meaning they don’t necessarily ‘feel’ asexual all of the time, but often enough for it to be a part of their identity. There are asexuals with kinks and who love M-rated fiction, asexuals who enjoy sex when they choose to have it, and asexuals who simply aren’t interested in any aspect of sex, or even feel disgusted by it – and it’s all ‘real,’ ‘proper,’ ‘legitimate’ asexuality, on a spectrum as broad as that of non-ace identities. I say this because I imagine there are countless people out there who are still feeling isolated, like there’s something wrong with them: people for whom Asexual Awareness Week could plant the seed of self-discovery, cheesy as that sounds. There are aces who will have found themselves alienated in both LGBT+ and non-LGBT+ spaces, not being sexual enough for a society that foregrounds heterosexual intimacy, but also made to feel ‘not LGBT+ enough’ in LGBT+ spaces, especially those who are cis and heteroromantic. What I want most of all this week is for them to know that they are valid and, most importantly, that they have a place here in the Network. I’m looking forward to running an Asexual Café in the current months so please don’t be shy, our Network prides itself on its intersectionality and you will always be welcome here.
 Gabriel Jackson, Campaigns Officer

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