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Trans Awareness Week 2020 at Queen Mary

This week is Trans Awareness Week (13-19 November) and it is an opportunity to raise awareness of the experiences and challenges faced by trans and gender non-conforming people and increase the visibility of this diverse community.

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At Queen Mary, we want to create an environment where trans students and staff can be themselves and are treated with kindness, dignity and respect. During Trans Awareness Week last year, we launched the University’s first ever Trans Inclusion Policy Statement, which provides an overview of our commitment to support trans staff and students. 

This year, we will be marking Trans Awareness Week by hosting a virtual event with some amazing speakers from the trans community exploring the topic of Black Trans Lives Matter. We hope this event will enable us to explore and learn more about representation, visibility, the importance of intersectionality within activism, allyship both within and across communities, as well as the experiences and brilliant work of our wonderful speakers. **Update as of 23 November 2020: Due to the availability of our speakers, we are postponing this event to early 2021 (likely in February). You can still find out more about the event and book your free place here – the time and date will be updated and confirmed as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience! It’ll be worth the wait!**

You can also have a look at our wonderful Trans Awareness Week virtual book display curated by the Library.

At the end of Trans Awareness Week, this Friday, 20 November, we will be marking Transgender Day of Remembrance

Our work on trans inclusion in the last year

Last year, we committed to better supporting our trans students and staff through our Trans Inclusion Policy Statement. Since then, we have been working hard to make Queen Mary more inclusive and supportive of our trans community.

Here are some of the things Queen Mary's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team have been working on: 

  • During LGBTQ+ History Month in February, for the first time we flew not only the LGBTQ+ rainbow flag but also the trans and bi flags throughout the month, to signal our commitment to these often underrepresented communities.
  • We published this article for the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia to raise awareness about what homophobia, transphobia and biphobia are, examples of what they might look like and what we can all do to help to tackle them.
  • We created this Why Pronouns Matter video to mark International Pronouns Day. The video raises awareness of pronouns, and ways in which we can all support our gender diverse students and staff .
  • We have been working towards our Stonewall WEI submission for 2021, of which a significant portion focuses on our commitment to trans inclusion and involves ensuring our existing policies and procedures are trans inclusive.
  • This week we will also be delivering ‘Introduction to Trans Inclusion’ training for students in Residences. We have previously delivered some introductory trans inclusion training to our Dignity Disclosure Officers.
  • We have distributed our information leaflets about ‘Being a Trans Ally’ and ‘#PronounsMatter’ and produced and promoted pronoun badges.
  • We are making changes to the way we collect, store and manage equalities related staff data, including data about sex, gender identity, trans status and pronouns. Many of these changes should be in place by the end of the year and will enable staff to more easily update their records. Watch this space!
  • We helped launch a Staff LGBTQ+ Network on Microsoft Teams in response to Covid-19 so that the community could connect virtually. 
  • We’ve been working on producing more detailed guidance about trans inclusion and transitioning at Queen Mary (see below for an update).

Sheila Gupta (Queen Mary Vice-Principal for People, Culture and Inclusion) and Tom Barringer (Chair of QMOUT) also co-signed a statement in August to reiterate our support for all trans and gender diverse students and staff, in light of an intensification of transphobia and in particular transmisogyny in our culture. 

One of our most significant activities over the last year has been working with students and staff across the University to develop more detailed guidance around trans inclusion and ‘transitioning’ at Queen Mary. This work has highlighted areas in our processes, policies and procedures that need to be updated to be more trans inclusive, as well as areas where whole new policies and procedures need developing. For a number of reasons, including the scope and complexity of this project, and the impact of Covid-19 on all of us, this work has been delayed. We know this guidance is much needed and will be publishing it as soon as we can. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We are hoping to publish these documents early in 2021.

Our new student guidance will include how to update your student record including name, title and gender, update your student ID card, re-issuing of degree certificates and transcripts and support and advice available to support you. The staff guidance will cover areas including: what is meant by ‘transitioning’, guidance on developing an action plan to support transitioning staff, confidentiality, guidance for line managers, HR and colleagues, support available, how to change records at Queen Mary such as changing your name, title, gender, security card etc., taking leave, access to facilities, dress codes, applying to work at Queen Mary and recruitment. 

If you need any immediate guidance on any of these key or related processes, or wish to input into/review these documents, please get in touch with George Lonergan (for student guidance) and Daisy Crowfoot (for staff guidance).

Resources and Support

Resources 

Support

External resources and support 

  • East London Out Project (ELOP): a local charity offering a range of support services to LGBTQ+ communities including counselling. 
  • Tower Hamlets LGBT Community Forum: a project that aims to bring together LGBT+ people (and allies) who live, work, study or socialise in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets 
  • Galop: an LGBTQ+ anti-violence charity, providing support services relating to hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual violence. 
  • Switchboard, LGBT+ helpline: provides information, support and referral service for LGBTQ+ and their friends, parents or family. 
  • Gendered Intelligence: a charity aiming to increase understanding of gender diversity, specialising in supporting young trans people under 21. 
  • Mermaids: supports trans and gender-diverse children, young people and their families.  
  • GIRES: works to improve the lives of trans and gender non-conforming people of all ages. 
  • Stonewall: campaigns for LGBTQ+ equality. 
  • Stop Hate UK: provides independent, confidential and accessible reporting and support for victims, witnesses and third parties. 
  • TransBareAll: a trans led, voluntary organisation that works with trans people to explore feelings and decisions around bodies, sexual health and intimacy. TransBareAll believes in improving the health and wellbeing of trans people and provide a space for trans people to discuss and explore things that impacts their lives.
  • TransUnite: a comprehensive resource for people in the UK searching for support in the transgender community. TransUnite connects you to a network of groups throughout England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland and can be split into physical local and online groups.