At Anglia Ruskin Students' Union, we have a long history of LGBT+ representation that has adapted to the needs of our students, promoting campaigns, raising awareness, and making change across ARU. Some of the things that we've done have even changed the Students' Union's bye-laws, such as the relatively recent addition of a Trans Rep in 2015, proposed through Student Council policy, and the subsequent changes made to that position's name in 2017, also through Student Council (of course, if you're a current student, you may wonder where Student Council went... well, it's now The Group Chat, and student-proposed policy is still a big part of how change is made! Check it out here!).
Some of the things past LGBT+ and Trans Reps have achieved have really made a difference here at the university. Jamie Vincent, our Trans* [role title since changed] rep in 2016-17, brought national attention to an amazing campaign that aimed to make bathrooms at ARU inclusive spaces. Through the use of friendly but informative posters, ARU's toilets became safer for trans students:
Jamie Vincent also was able to provide trans healthcare guides, an incredibly important resource that helped support students who may otherwise not have had access to appropriate healthcare information.
[Former President Leigh Rooney showcasing the trans healthcare guides]
2017 also marked the year where students had a significant discussion around the title of Trans Rep, changing it from Trans* to Trans through Student Council policy. Of equal importance were the conversations that this policy raised, allowing our reps and officers to compassionately educate. Conversations also took place at Student Council around gender neutral toilets, with a policy passed. Read a bit more about this here and here from former officers Kat Younger and Grace Anderson.
In 2017-18, Michael Turner (Trans Rep) continued further work on Bathroom Inclusivity, and Michael Graham (B&L Faculty Rep) worked together with the university's Estates team to ensure there were more gender neutral toilets on campus and that the policy was being adhered to.
In 2018, LGBT+ History Month was based on the theme of intersectionality, and we had a guest poet to kick off the month and an excellent panel on 'The Lesser Known Letters', hosted by LGBT+ Rep Luca Girardi, who led an engaging discussion on sexualities and gender identities that don't always get talked about. Vice President Laura Douds, leading the month, ran the very first 'Rainbow', an LGBT+ club night hosted at our the Academy - the roaring success of this evening really demonstrated our LGBT+ students and allies love a safe and friendly night out!
2018-19, Michael Turner and Niamh Campbell (LGBT+ Rep) launched pronoun badges, an exceptionally popular initiative that once again sparked productive conversation around identity and ally support. For example, we now strive to put pronouns in Students' Union officer and staff signatures to help not only signpost our own pronouns, but also demonstrate to students that we are a safe place for all gender identities here at ARU.
And if you're looking for daytime and nighttime events for 2020, come check out our calendar here!
Did the above achievements fire you up to run a campaign of your own? Stand in our elections - become LGBT+ or Trans Rep yourself!