I’m Rob, now studying Law having completed my Environmental Management and Sustainability masters.
While signing up for societies this year, I realised that my choices are very support based (Feminist, LGBT+, Trans and Non-Binary). Having realised I am transgender and having explored that more outwardly in the past 18 months, I find myself in need of that support network.
I noticed that while the societies menu is quite richly populated with LGBT+ groups, both explicit and implicit, the SU itself is lacking or at least is behind on LGBT+ advocacy.
41% of LGBT+ people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months and 16% LGB people, (who aren’t trans) have experienced a hate crime or incident due to their sexual orientation in the same period.
Plymouth is a proud LGBT+ city, with the first openly gay MP, Luke Pollard, representing the constituency in which the university resides, and the city has dedicated two days of the year for LGBT+ recognition.
I would like to see these days celebrated at our SU. I would like to see the SU take a stance against the rise in hate crime and make some effort towards reducing homophobic and transphobic views that eventually perpetuate into crime.
This is not just a question of being seen to be inclusive, this is a question of wellbeing, safety, and unfortunately in some cases, life. Having accepted that I will likely be the subject of transphobic or homophobic abuse every time I go out wearing makeup, including within the SU itself, this is a particularly important issue for me. As a starting point, I've initiated a dialogue with Mitch about inclusivity within UPSU. Wearing makeup and choosing an outfit should not be a question of safety.