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

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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

 

 

Exam Season Tips!

Hey all! We’re now way into exam season so your Welfare & Outreach team have put our heads together and come up with a list of our best study tips for you & attached some useful links.

  1. Stay organised: We all use different methods of organisation: to-do lists, http://www.todoist.com, bullet journals (http://bulletjournal.com/), schedules and colour-coding. Find a method (or methods) that work for you and stick with it. Try not to get upset if you don’t manage to keep up with your schedule – it happens to everyone. Make sure that your goals are achievable (SMART targets anyone?! http://topachievement.com/smart.html)
  2. Treat yo self: Promise yourself a reward after study sessions: meet a friend for coffee, watch some Netflix, whatever works for you. It’s often worth setting a time-limit for rewards as well.
  3. Take breaks: You’ll learn better and potentially cut down on stress if you take regular breaks. Try using the pomodoro method (25 minutes of work, 5-10 minute break) or adapt it to your attention span/work pattern. http://lifehacker.com/productivity-101-a-primer-to-the-pomodoro-technique-1598992730
  4. Getting started: It can be difficult to motivate yourself to start. Try setting yourself small goals like just setting up your stuff up to work, working for 5-10 minutes etc. to get yourself started. Often you’ll find that once you’ve started you’ll be able to work past the time you allocated. http://www.growinghappiness.com/2008/04/21/getting-work-started-a-tip-for-procrastinators/
  5. Look after yourself: keep hydrated, stretch, take breaks from screens etc. Treat yourself the way you’d like a close friend to be treated. http://www.thefreedomexperiment.com/2011/10/28/55-gentle-ways-to-take-care-of-yourself-when-youre-busy-busy-busy/
  6. Mental health: there’s a variety of different techniques that you can use to help calm down. Try breathing exercises, getting some fresh air, exercise, meditation or chatting to a friend. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/ways-relieve-stress.aspx
  7. Challenge your thinking: It’s easy to get caught up in the importance of an exam. Try talking to someone outside of university, meditating or thinking as rationally as you can. The world will carry on turning if you get a lower grade than you’d like. Often acknowledging this can remove a significant amount of anxiety that may be making it difficult to study.
  8. Study your way: There’s so much information on studying out there – try them out and then stick to what works for you. Maybe you work better in silence, with some white noise or with music on. Everyone works differently and each way is valid.
  9. Recognise if you need help: Pretty much everyone gets anxious around exam time. If you’re struggling to cope you can contact Nightline (http://www.nottinghamnightline.co.uk/) or us (welfare@uonsulgbt.org) to talk it through. If your anxiety is more of an everyday thing than exam specific and is having a debilitating effect on your life it might be worth talking to your doctor or a counsellor about it. (Cripps mental health: http://www.unhs.co.uk/unhs/your-health/health-and-wellbeing/mental-health/mental-health.aspx , University Counselling Service: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/counselling/index.aspx)

Good luck and best wishes to you all,

Zoe & the Welfare & Outreach team