Transgender Awareness Week at Newcastle University

Renzo Szkwarok reports on Trans Awareness Week 2020 at Newcastle University

Renzo Szkwarok
17th November 2020
taken from NUSU's page on Trans Awareness Week 2020
With Transgender Awareness Week 2020 taking place from 13-19 November, it is now the time to celebrate our transgender community here in Newcastle, the UK, and all over the world. This week is about standing as allies with the transgender community to oppose all forms of discrimination, violence and prejudice.

Several online events are taking place this week, beginning with a panel discussion on transgender and non-binary experiences on Monday 16 November at 5.30pm, giving a platform to these marginalised voices.

Events held by the LGBTQ+ society include their first pub quiz of the year on Wednesday to raise money for the charity Mermaids with tickets at £2.

Thursday sees a Netflix Party screening of ‘Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen’, a documentary charting the portrayal of transgender representation in the media.

And finally, on Friday 19, a service to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance – which was started by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honour her friend Rita Hester, a transgender woman, who was sadly killed in 1998. This day of reflection gives people a chance to honour those lost to violence in the last year.

Transgender/non-binary support beyond just this week is vital. A representative from the LGBTQ+ society here at Newcastle stated that “it’s important to constantly be aware of the community and engage with it”.

They went on to say that creating a space for trans-inclusion in everything we do is vital to ensure their voices are heard, bringing an end to marginalisation.

This sentiment was echoed by the SU’s Welfare and Equality Officer, Nadia Ahmed.

"The basic human rights of individuals are not up for debate"

Nadia Ahmed, Welfare and Equality Officer

When asked the importance of celebrating this week, Ahmed said “the basic human rights of individuals are not up for debate” and that “as a student community we stand up for the rights of our peers […] working together to create a future we are proud of”.

Ahmed’s advocacy for these issues has resulted in improved mental health provisions for transgender/non-binary students with counsellors receiving LGBTQ+ specific training.

With regards to the University's wider handling of transgender/non-binary issues, there have been problems in the past but they have been “receptive” to changes they've had to make.

A Trans Fund led by NUSU LGBT+ will offer £50 in support to students who might be questioning their identity in order to buy essentials to make their lives a little easier.

All-gender bathrooms have also been implemented in the SU, with lobbying taking place to install more.

It is important to remember that support must continue beyond this week

This week is for celebrating the transgender/non-binary community, but it is important to remember that support must continue beyond this time to continue to create safer and more inclusive spaces where everyone’s voices are heard.

For further information on how to get involved visit:

Featured image: NUSU website

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