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Transgender Awareness Week

Reflecting on Queer British History, Advice on how to be a trans ally and upcoming events supporting the trans community.

Creative Queers Society Leaders Nathan Beaton and Sophie Fletcher, alongside the university's Equality and Diversity Officer Ambrossia Jaisinghani, would like to take the opportunity to share some important information regarding Transgender Awareness Week (Monday, 14th Nov - Sunday, 20th Nov 2022).

Reflecting on Queer British History

Campaigns across the UK to decriminalise homosexuality have been liberating movements led by transgender women of colour, dating back to the 1950s and 60s. Iconic transgender woman Marsha P Johnson famously threw the first brick igniting the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969. This created an echo chamber across Western Society, lighting pride protests and riots for queer people to be unapologetically seen, loved and respected.

We feel it is essential as a university, and more importantly as a community, to reflect on the battles once fought by transgender individuals to bring human rights to queer people. Rights that still stand today.

How to be a supportive trans ally

If you are unsure of someone's pronouns, ask! In a respectful manner and setting, politely ask an individual what pronouns they prefer to be used when addressing them. Almost all trans and non-binary people would prefer you ask instead of guessing and potentially getting it wrong.

Educate yourself! Your trans friends don't know or want to elaborate on *everything*

Take the time to read up on articles, invoke yourself in trans literature and be in the know as best you can to support your trans friends. An excellent resource for this is the Mermaids and Stonewall Websites, alongside reading materials you can find in the library!

Mistakes happen; how to politely correct yourself if you accidentally misgender someone.

Making as little fuss as possible is the best way to do it. If you happen to misgender someone accidentally, we advise you to pause, correct yourself and move on without making too much fuss. Mistakes do happen, and trans people tend to be understanding when this happens.

A person's medical history is personal and private; this applies to a trans person's potential medical journey. Not all trans and non-binary people choose to medically transition or have access to do so; however, whether your trans peers may or may not have taken those medical steps, it isn't an open topic for discussion. Of course, some trans people are happy to share their journey, but we advise you to allow this to be on their terms.

Speak Up! There is a lot of discourse surrounding transgender people in the UK right now, and it can be a daunting time for many. The best way to be an ally as a cisgender person is to talk openly about the support you share for your trans peers. You can throw in some of that research we mentioned earlier!

Upcoming Events for Transgender Awareness Week

Throughout this week, we would love for you to be involved in a handful of events.

Trans Awareness Workshop - Tuesday 15th Nov 4.15 pm (online)

This workshop is open to all students and staff and aims to provide the tools and support needed for transgender people and allies. This is a great way to get involved in feeling more informed about what it means to be a trans ally and active community member.

Head to the Library!

The library has organised a trans-literature display, an excellent opportunity to read up on transgender social and political contexts in and outside of the art world. We highly recommend 'The Transgender Argument' By Shon Fay, a fantastically written, informative tool discussing what it means to be a trans person in the UK today. You can also ask for queer literature recommendations from library staff or Creative Queers society leaders Nathan and Sophie!

Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil - Sunday 20th November 6.30 pm (Parksquare Leeds)

An evening of reflection for the transgender community and allies, acknowledging all those we have lost due to discrimination, persecution and hate across the world. Many transgender people are lost every week in different parts of the world, and Transgender Day of Remembrance is an opportunity to learn their names, celebrate their lives and mourn their loss. The global transgender community would be incredibly grateful if you could be there.

Thank you.



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