Transgender and Non-Binary Students Policy

Proposed by: Lee-Anne Lawrance
Seconded by: Annie Durwood

Union notes:

1)  That transgender and non-binary students are disadvantaged and marginalised in society and at UCA, facing issues like harassment, misgendering, lack of access to adequate healthcare, lack of access to appropriate toilets, poorer employment prospects, lack of appropriate prefixes, lack of non-binary recognition and difficulties in changing university details;

2)  That there may have never been an attempt to estimate how many students at UCA are non-binary, but that the National Union of Students estimates that around 28,000 students in the UK are transgender;

3)  That according to research conducted by the NUS, over half of trans and non-binary students (51%) have considered dropping out of university;

4) That the UK’s gender recognition laws still requires trans people to pay fees, go through medical examinations and go before an unelected panel before being able to change their gender on government records. These same laws also refuse to recognise non-binary people. [i]

Union believes:

1)  That “transgender student” (to be abbreviated as “trans”) shall be defined by the union and UCA as being any student who identifies wholly or partially as not being the gender they were assigned at birth. This includes, but is not limited to, people who identify wholly with another gender, are genderfluid, are bigender, have no gender or fall under the non-binary umbrella, as well as trans women and trans men;

2)  The union recognises that not all non-binary people identify as transgender, however, and will extend its support, aid and activism to non-trans non-binary people whilst respecting their gender identity and not describing them as trans if they do not wish to be;

3)  That we have no tolerance for transphobia and will oppose it wherever it appears;

4)  That gender identity is defined by the individual, not by society or by societal norms. Trans men are men, trans women are women and non- binary people are non-binary;

5)  That non-binary, agender, genderqueer, pangender, bigender and genderfluid people exist and are as valid in their gender as any man or woman;

6)  That people have an unquestionable right to identify as a gender different to the one which they were assigned at birth;

7)  That people’s gender identities are not matters of debate, and that the union and UCA will accept trans and non-binary students without forcing them to justify their existence or their rights;

8)  That gender neutral pronouns such as “They/Them/Theirs”, “Xey/Xem/Xeirs” and other gender neutral variants are all valid pronouns and should be respected by fellow students, by the Union and by the University and its staff;

9)  That trans and non-binary students have the right to access gender neutral toilets without being faced with unfair restrictions or unreasonable distances to travel;

10) That trans and non-binary students have the right to access the toilets that make them feel comfortable and safe in their gender;

11) That trans and non-binary students have the right to access healthcare vital to their mental wellbeing and physical transition, and to do so without unreasonable barriers, expenses or waiting times;

12) That trans and non-binary students have the right to have their gender recognised by institutions of government, administrative bodies, businesses and other institutions, including the University for Creative Arts;

13) That the University for Creative Arts should make it easy for trans and non-binary students to change their name and gender on official records and to have those names and genders recognised by the officials and staff of UCA;

14) That trans and non-binary students as a Liberation Group deserve their own specific representation within the democratic structures of the National Union of Students;

15) That trans and non-binary students should not have financial barriers put in the way of their transition and should be able to access basic transition supplies;

16) That the liberation of trans and non-binary students requires both activism and education, and that the union and university can play an important role in changing mindsets around trans and non-binary issues as well as fighting for inclusive policies and institutions;

17) That any future policy relating to trans and non-binary students should not be drawn up unless trans students from across UCA have had the opportunity to input into a discussion of the policy through a committee, discussion group, survey, caucus or some other method and should not be written solely by a cis person;

18) That the Union should support trans and non-binary people in demanding the replacement of the 2004 Gender Recognition Act with an Act that would allow trans and non-binary people to self-define their gender, without a need for excessive “evidence” or invasive procedures, as well as demanding an Act that recognises non-binary people.

Union resolves:

1)  To –

  • a)   Ensure that the LGBT+ registration question on the union website during elections is “do you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, transgender, non-binary, intersex and/or another group within the LGBTQIA+ community?”; and
  • b)   Ensure that any such registration question makes it very clear that if students do not register as LGBT+, they will be unable to vote in the LGBT+ Officer election or in elections for NUS LGBT Conference delegates.

2) To –

  • a)   Press for UCA to provide training on trans and non-binary issues, and to extend this training to lecturers and teachers and Union staff and officers;
  • b)   Make information available about NHS healthcare services for trans and non-binary students, so that those services are more easily accessible, transparent and understood;
  • c)   Campaign for UCA to ensure that its process for changing names on official records is clear, consistent, accessible and simple and does not cause undue stress or anxiety;
  • d)   Campaign for UCA to ensure that students who have not changed their name via deed poll are provided with the option of having a ‘preferred name’ on UCA records, and that the process for adding this name is simple, accessible and not stressful;
  • e)   Campaign for UCA to offer advice services on how to change your name via deed poll through the Student Services, such as providing a deed poll template;
  • f)   Ensure that there is a simple and non-stressful service, provided through the UCA Advice Service, to help trans and non-binary students fill out a deed poll form and present it to the university as proof of a name change;
  • g)   Campaign for the University to ensure that on all official documentation for which gender is asked, there will be a provision for non-binary and other gender options.
  • h)   Lobby for students to have the option of rejecting all prefixes on official UCA records and leaving the prefix space blank;
  • i)   Campaign for there to be at least one gender neutral toilet in a central location in every single university campus;
  • j)   Ensure that, in Union communications and documentation, ‘transgender’ will be abbreviated as ‘trans’ without an asterisk as the asterisk is disliked by the vast majority of trans and non-binary people;[ii]
  • k)   Ensure that, on all SU documentation and communications where gender is asked, the Union will provide for non-binary and other gender options;
  • l)   Campaign for UCA to ensure that campus cards will be re-issued free of charge for trans and non-binary students who have come out since receiving their initial campus card, if they wish to change their name and/or likeness to better reflect their current gender;
  • m)   Campaign for UCA to explicitly recognise medical transition appointments, and transition in general, as an extenuating circumstance when it comes to issuing extensions for coursework and resits for exams;
  • n)   Campaign for UCA to draw up its own Transgender and Non-Binary policy, based on this policy, which will also apply to staff;
  • o)   Provide an easily accessible list of UCA’s gender neutral toilets, along with their locations, on the Union’s website.

3) To mandate the SU to run one fundraising event every year to raise awareness around trans and non-binary issues and to ring-fence the money raised to fund the following products to be made available either discounted or free to trans and non-binary students:

  • a)   Shaving razors;
  • b)   Shaving foam;
  • c)   Basic foundation available in a range of colours to suit a variety of skin tones;
  • d)   Binders;
  • e)   Packers;
  • f)   Other trans and non-binary resources to be developed by the Trans Liberation Group;

4) That the exact process by which discounted/free items and resources will then be distributed will be developed with a particular concern to ensuring confidentiality of transgender and non-binary students and ensuring reasonable access to resources.

[i] For more information please go to the government’s website – https://www.gov.uk/apply-gender-recognition-certificate/overview

[ii] Please see – http://www.uktrans.info/attachments/article/377/terminology-survey-results.pdf

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