Wednesday 21-01-2015 - 16:32
This year NUS LGBT is holding the first ever Trans Conference, as I pledged when I got elected to be NUS LGBT Officer (Open Place).
There has been some confusion over what the day would entail and whether delegates would have democratic powers to form and enact policy for NUS’ LGBT campaign or be a day to share best practice, discuss policy and develop campaigns, and for delegates to tell the officers and committee what they want to see us doing for trans students, and what they want the future of Trans Conference to look like.
Last year at NUS LGBT Conference two motions were submitted to instate an NUS LGBT Trans Officer and a Trans Conference. The former motion fell, and the motion which outlined a Trans-specific conference was not discussed as the guillotine fell and the conference closed.
Usually motions that conference does not have time to pass are sent to the NUS LGBT committee for them to vote on and ratify. However, the motion to enact a Trans Conference was not sent to committee. This is because motions which want to change or amend the Standing Orders of the NUS LGBT campaign (the instructions of how a Liberation Campaign runs conference, delegations, committees, and officers) cannot be sent by conference to a committee. Standing Orders can only be changed at the NUS LGBT Conference and by a quorate number of voting members.
As a consequence, a Trans Conference where policy is formed and enacted on the day to become part of NUS LGBT campaign policy is not able to happen this year. This could only have happened if the motion to create Trans Conference and give it sovereign powers to pass policy had been passed. Despite this, NUS LGBT committee was keen to have a day solely for trans students to share ideas, discuss and comment on policy, and develop trans-specific campaigns. This way, we are able to make the voices of trans students heard within NUS’ LGBT campaign, in an environment that will not be and cannot be dominated by cis people.
We are also going to hold an amendments surgery all day; the first version of the motions will have been released in advance of Trans Conference to facilitate this. This is to enable those trans students who may not have access to the same resources to interact with formal NUS LGBT democracy as other members of the campaign to take part. Remember, you do not need to be a delegate at the LGBT Conference to submit a motion or an amendment. So although we really want as many trans delegates at LGBT Conference as possible, if it isn’t as accessible to some trans students as we would hope, you’ll still be able to write and influence policy of the campaign.
Whilst NUS LGBT realises this is not the same vision some members had for the first ever Trans Conference, it is a starting point and hopefully we can improve the content and direction for next year. However, without a motion passing at NUS LGBT Conference to grant the Trans Conference individual sovereign powers to enact policy, the conference can only be used as a consultation working group which provides policy recommendations for the NUS LGBT campaign and NUS as a whole.
In addition the NUS LGBT committee will be submitting a motion to NUS LGBT Conference to look at the future of the Trans Conference.
We hope to see many of you attend the TransForming Education conference on the Tuesday 3rd February in Manchester. Registration closes at the end of Thursday 22nd January.