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Trans inclusion in student unions

Enacting Student Union policies that would be helpful to trans students, and similarly blocking policies that would be harmful, is often impossible if there is no representation of trans people within the university or college LGBT Society or the Student Union more generally. It is therefore imperative that there is a designated trans representative place, such as ‘Trans Welfare Officer’, on the LGBT society’s committee, and that the LGBT society is explicitly trans inclusive. The position of ‘Trans Liberation Officer’ or a similar position should also be created in the Student Union as well as there being a place for a Trans Officer on the Union’s Welfare Committee.

If a college or university is struggling to form a LGBT society at all, or to fill a Trans Liberation officer post, then bringing in speakers or setting up workshops on trans (and LGBT) issues – with help from outside organisations – would be recommended. This will help increase trans equality awareness among students and help ensure that trans people do not feel as excluded or alone in the interim. Once support for trans rights is clearly visible within a Student Union, it is more likely that trans students will feel able to ‘come out’ as trans and seek election to Student Union and/or LGBT Society office-bearer roles.

“When I walked into the foyer of the college for the first time and saw a notice displayed saying ‘we will not tolerate …’, which included transphobic harassment or bullying… it made a big difference to how I felt about being there.”

Quote taken from Guidance on trans equality in post-school education.