YUSU’s new LGBT officers have drafted a series of changes to the Union constitution to include trans students more generally in the life of the LGBT community at York.
According to Matthew Pallas, “whoever drafted the constitution originally wasn’t consistent in their inclusion of trans students.” The joint officers have proposed a re-wording of the constitution to be voted on at the next UGM that ensures trans students are mentioned alongside lesbian, gay and bisexual students in every clause of the LGBT section.
Both officers have placed trans issues at the top of their agenda as LGBT officers. One told Nouse that, in her experience, YUSU’s past provision for trans students has been insufficient.
“I felt the support that LGBT could provide in the past was non-existent,” she said. “The only support I got was from friends. There was no way that I could access specific information or somebody to talk to. That’s really what I want to do for people – I want to make it so there is that provision. Unless that’s in place, there’s no way to find other trans people. If you don’t accommodate trans people, they won’t come. Most people see LGBT as LGB with a T shoved on the end for effect, and that has to change.”
Pallas hopes to organise an awareness-raising campaign on trans issues during his time as LGBT officer. The proposed constitutional changes are to be voted on at the UGM this Wednesday.