We caught up with Ollie Nield, Representative of Transgender Students, and NUS LGBT+ Conference Delegate for a quick rundown on how the conference went.
Conference itself was a brilliant experience, however it was also full of controversy and segregation, which the other UCLan delegates also picked up on; during the conference it was noted that a lot of people were not welcomed, and that we were all fighting for acceptance as individual sections of ‘LGBT+’, rather than using our collective power to help one another. Within the ‘LGBT+’ community, there is lots of transphobia still.
One of the other delegates that came with us felt the NUS was a little out of touch with reality, and that the whole environment was particularly unwelcoming for white gay men. One positive from the conference was that NUS elected its first ever Trans Officer, as well as there being a unanimous vote for an autonomous Trans Conference.
A lot of the conference was on estrangement, BME/refugees and trans-related issues. I attended the trans-gender health workshop – a lot of this workshop was how to lobby universities and student unions to get gender neutral toilets and gender neutral facilities, as well as safe spaces on campus and the surrounding areas, an example being the nationwide trans-map.
The workshop also included ways to successfully campaign for these ideas to become Students’ Union policy. This is from anything between sit-ins, to campaigns on the main University campus. The whole conference had mixed opinions over our delegates and delegates from other universities, and discussed a controversial motion about the abolishment of prisons.