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Meet your 2017-18 LGBT+ Officer (Women’s Place)

Thursday 10-08-2017 - 08:57

Campaigning to completely bin the blood ban and supporting student sex workers are amongst Beth’s priorities for the year ahead.  

Hello! I’m Beth, I use she, her and they, them pronouns. I’m your LGBT+ Officer (Women’s Place) for the coming year. I studied English at James Watt College, then headed to the University of the West of Scotland to study Social Policy and Politics. I first became aware of the student movement at James Watt College, getting involved a year later at the Student Association of the University of the West of Scotland, when I joined the LGBT+ Society to campaign for equal marriage in Scotland. 

Slowly I got more involved in campaigns, working to improve support for students who are most likely to drop out of studying, and I also started doing sex work and sex worker activism around the same time. From there I became a student rep, then a student rep trainer, and trustee before becoming President of the Students’ Association. In my role as President, I campaigned to increase financial support for students over the summer, then took this campaign to a national level when I was elected to the NUS Scottish Executive Council where, together, we successfully got commitments to address this issue into Scottish political party manifestos. 

Shortly after, I was elected as NUS Scotland LGBT+ Officer and led the campaign to bin the blood ban and now I’m incredibly lucky and honoured to be your national NUS LGBT+ Officer (Women’s Place). Throughout my time in the student movement I have been unapologetically bold in fighting oppression and for truly accessible and free education; it has been at the centre of my activism and I can’t wait to bring that to this role.

This year, working with Noorulann and the LGBT+ committee, my priorities include creating toolkits for students’ unions on how to support student sex workers inside and outside of work, whilst continuing to fight for decriminalisation. After our win of bringing the blood donation deferral period down to three months for sex workers, LGBT+ people and people from sub-Saharan African communities, I want to continue to campaign to bin the blood ban completely and remove queerphobia, misogyny and racism from the current donations system to ensure we have a safer system based on individual risk rather than blanket bans on certain communities.

I’ll also be changing how we interact and work with the nations and nations’ LGBT+ officers. I want to make sure we are supporting issues and priorities specific to the nations so we can fight together for LGBT+ equality across the whole of the UK.

With the recent wins in blood donation rules and the increased calls to change the Gender Recognition Act we have the wind behind us but we can’t afford to be complacent. We must be bold, radical and intersectional if we truly want to liberate our own education and wider society. This year let's work together to focus on creating a campaign that does exactly that.

Some random things about me: 

Favourite pizza toppings
Best pizza is the haggis pizza sold at Stereo in Glasgow (I’m honestly not trying to be a Scottish stereotype), you should try it at national conference in Scotland next year!

Favourite band
This changes all the time but right now I’m listening to Against Me mostly. Their songs on trans liberation are fantastic.

Ideal holiday destination
I haven’t been abroad that much but Berlin or Amsterdam would probably be up there.

What do you do in your spare time? 
If I’m not watching a movie or playing video or board games, I’m probably doing non-NUS activism. 

What are a couple of things you do to look after yourself?
Being a Scottish stereotype.

What’s your favourite inspirational quote? 
“There is no pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.” – Marsha ‘Pay It No Mind’ Johnston

Thanks for taking the time to read this! If you ever need to get in touch about our work or want to find out how you can get involved, email me at Beth.Douglas@nus.org.uk and follow me on Twitter to keep up with my work.

 

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