Trans (also trans*, transgender) is a wide umbrella term, covering those who transcend traditional boundaries of gender and sex, those who are gender variant, and those whose gender identity does not match their assigned gender (as defined in the 'Trans Students' NUS LGBT document).
The Union Plan, which includes:
“2.1 Reflect the diversity of our members and promote equality throughout SUSU.”
“17.1. Developing strategies to create an inclusive culture within SUSU.”
“17.3. Increasing involvement from under-represented groups.”
SUSUs values of Inclusive, Representative, Responsible, and Sustainable
The current Valuing Diversity policy, which states that SUSU will:
ensure that every student and staff member is treated fairly and have equality of opportunity within the union.
not tolerate any discrimination against students or staff on any grounds.
work alongside cohorts of individuals who may be subject to discrimination, prejudice and intimidation to provide a safe, welcoming and enjoyable environment.
actively encourage participation from groups that are not usually involved in SUSU activities.
Findings from the recent Trans Inclusion survey, including:
The majority of negative experiences at SUSU/on campus were in the context of using toilet facilities
Comments from those who had felt uncomfortable/excluded at SUSU were centred around the use of toilets and changing rooms
All suggestions for improvements included either increasing the number of gender neutral toilets available, or adding sanitary bins to male toilets for men who menstruate (i.e gender accessible toilets)
Additional comments mentioned feeling excluded, either generally, or from sports clubs due to gendered teams
Other student unions have attempted to improve trans inclusion, with mixed success.
Opposition has been largely to the often mistaken belief that a university is about to remodel all its toilet blocks into multiple occupancy unisex facilities
Many current forms and surveys run by SUSU or the University of Southampton do not provide an option for gender other than “male” or “female”.
Many trans people prefer to use gender neutral titles and/or pronouns, and may indeed not identify as either male or female. Other organisations including the national Deed Poll Service and Post Office have begun to provide the option of gender neutral titles.
SUSU should have a specific Trans Inclusion policy to raise awareness of a student group who in general feel more excluded from the union’s activities.
SUSU should take steps to ensure the trans community feels safe and welcome within union buildings.
SUSU should work with the university towards creating a campus where all groups, including trans people, feel equally valued and included.
There is a clear demand from the trans community within SUSU for better accessibility regarding toilets.
Any planned alterations to existing toilet blocks should be clearly communicated to the student population, to minimise misinformation.
Gender-segregated toilet facilities should remain available for those who wish to use them.
To incorporate information on trans inclusion in inductions for elected officers and to promote wider student awareness.
To alter signage where appropriate on existing accessible toilets to highlight them as gender neutral.
To include sanitary bins in existing male toilets in the SUSU building, making them gender accessible.
To negotiate with the university for new toilet builds to be gender accessible, and for new buildings to include at least one set of gender neutral toilets.
To publicise the changes being made to toilet blocks, with the availability of both gender accessible and gender neutral toilets.
To ensure alternative options other than male/female are available on SUSU and university forms that ask for gender, and to review these so the question is asked only when necessary.
To ensure gender neutral title options are available on student record systems.
VP Welfare to champion the policy alongside the E&D Officer.