Wednesday 07-12-2016 - 10:20
Your National Union of Students is on the verge of a monumental decision. On 14 December it will be decided whether we implement a full time trans officer with an autonomous trans campaign.
If those who vote at the Company Law Meeting on the 14th decide that the organisation should introduce a trans officer, we will be the first organisation in Europe to introduce a full time elected position with the purpose of defending and lobbying for trans rights. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty impressive.
& Why do we need a trans officer?
Austerity means vital services are being cut. Cuts to healthcare across the UK are having a disproportionate impact on marginalised groups, particularly trans students. A trans officer is needed to fight these cuts and ensure equal access to healthcare for trans people. It’s clear that not only does trans healthcare need defending, it needs expanding, in Wales there isn’t even a Gender Identity Clinic, meaning trans students are having to spend lots of time and money travelling to other clinics to get the support and healthcare they need. It’s not only health services that the trans campaign will try to improve, there are many other areas where trans peoples access to and experiences of education differ from those of cisgender people and it’s for the trans campaign to decide which of those will be a priority for the officer.
As an organisation we fundamentally believe in the right for liberation groups to self-organise. That means those who define into a liberation group can; define their own oppression, decide what the best way to tackle it is and have the resources to do so. Trans students should be able to self-organise, in exactly the same way any other liberation campaign can. An autonomous campaign and officer would enable trans students to pass policy on the best way to tackle the oppression they face and provide the resources necessary to carry out this policy.
Another thing we believe in, is democracy. Policy to introduce a trans officer passed this year at LGBT+, Women’s, Black and Disabled conferences. It also passed resoundingly at National Conference, so we’re pretty sure, students from across our movement want this officer and believe in its necessity.
Lastly, if we truly mean it when we say liberation is at the heart of our movement, we must give students from liberation groups not only what they want but what they’ve told us time and time again they need.
So what can you do?
- Make sure someone from your union is voting - Ask the officers in your union if they’re going along and who will be voting. If they’re not going to Strategic Conversation, don’t worry your union can still vote, they just have to nominate a proxy which they can do by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Get lobbying - Once you know who from your institution is going, set up a meeting with them or send them an email outlining the reasons a trans officer is vital. If your union is using a proxy, how about asking your officers to confirm with them they will be voting for a trans officer.
- Tweet - In the next few days leading up to the meeting tweet and show your support using #transformNUS to show your support for a trans officer.
Let’s make this happen – together!