Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Kemptown and Peacehaven

Letter to staff about trans motion

by Lloyd on 01.03.07
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After us managing to get the gender equality (trans) motion though our union council I have posted a letter to all staff explaining the implication these changes. I’m sure that over the following weeks the changes will be put in place and we will be able to not only claim to compile fully with the law and its intentions but also morally in our duty to members the union. The wording of the motion can be seen here and the letter that I wrote to the paper after the motion failed the first time can be seen here.

Hello Everyone,

First of all just a little introduction, for those of you who I haven’t meet I’m Lloyd the UBU LGBT (lesbian gay, bisexual & trans) Officer.

Last week the Union passed a motion condemning discrimination against trans students and to meet the new legal requirements of all organisations to act positively to prevent discrimination against all genders which was included in the most recent sex and gender act of 2004

The motion delegated responsibility to implementing some of the changes to the Women’s Officer and the LGBT Officer. I’m writing to explain any changes in our work from day to day which we may have to take in to account.

The Union policy is now as follows The Union resolves:

* To be aware of the ways in which selecting gender neutral words actively contribute to promoting equality and inclusiveness.

In practice this means that when writing documents, letters and policy unless specifically referring to a gender neutral words should be used. E.g. “if a union official has an interest s/he must declare it” should now read “if a union official has an interest they must declare it”

* To increase education and awareness by:
– Running a campaign highlighting the position of trans students and issues around gender identity.
– Providing training on trans issues for all staff and officers of the union
– Coordinating training and education with the university and its staff.

In the coming months we will be providing training particular to roles in the union for all our staff. This is something that Hannah, Myself and Andy will coordinate and you will hear about what’s happening in regards t this nearer the time.

* To allow students to self-define on union forms.

In practice this means that Union forms must have a self defining box for gender. E.g. “sex: male _ female_ (please tick)” should now read “gender ____________”. This change is to come in line with the changing University policy and most recent parliament Act of recognising more than two genders.
Please note, where forms are provided from outside the university/union please contact me for calcification (home Officer forms for example cannot be changed, but we can lobby for the changes.)

* To support trans students in their right to use gendered toilets in line with their gender definition.

This area effects our bar staff and ent.s staff the most, in practice what it means is if someone, self defines and lives their life in a particular gender role they may use those facilities. It is clear that under the new legislation, a bloke on a night out, for example, dressed up in drag wouldn’t be classified as living in that gender. However this is a tricky issue and more guidance and training will be provided in the near future.

I would suggest that if there are concerns about particular instances that often approaching the issues sensitively with the person concerned is the best way and if there are further issues please do contact me.

I hope that this is clear and people understand the changes and how it may affect the day to day work of the union. Please if there are any problems do contact myself and I will do my up most to respond to any concerns and queries.
I’m in the part time exec office on Monday morning, Wednesday afternoons and Thursday evenings for people to drop in or phone and email anytime of the week.

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Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Kemptown and Peacehaven

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