Why do we Celebrate Transgender Awareness Week?


By Kirstie Rutter

Transgender Awareness Week is a week-long celebration of all things Trans, leading up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th. On this day we remember victims of transphobic violence and those who advocate for transgender rights. So why do we celebrate the week before as well? And what’s the purpose?

The main purpose of Trans Awareness Week (TAW) is education, the truth is we unfortunately don’t talk about trans lives and what being trans means enough. This leads to a lot of misunderstandings and a lack of education within the general public. But sometimes the answers we need questions to are locked behind walls of difficult or uncomfortable questions, so in TAW we bring this information to the forefront and celebrate, to show the world what it means to be trans, and to show fellow trans and non-binary people that they’re not alone.

But why do Hallam specifically observe this? Well the sad truth is that universities aren’t doing enough to protect trans students. Stonewall’s 2018 university report (which can be found here) found the following:

  • More than a third of trans students faced negative comments or conduct from university staff in the last year because they are LGBT.
  • Three in five trans students have been the target of negative comments or conduct from other students.
  • Seven per cent of trans students were physically attacked by another student or a member of university staff in the last year because of being trans.
  • Two in five trans students wouldn't feel confident reporting any homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying to university staff.
  • One in four non-binary students and one in six trans students don’t feel able to wear clothes representing their gender expression at university.
  • One in six trans students report being unable to use the toilet they feel comfortable with at university.

It’s for these reasons that we must continue to create a safe environment for Trans and Non-Binary students to study. Whilst we write and pass policies for Trans students (You can these and other Union policies here), and act as a reporting centre for hate crime and discrimination, we also need to be a space that students feel they can come to. So, to help with this we host events and talks, welcoming students from though out the LGBT+ community to join us. These events can be anything from raising awareness, to education, to just celebrations and positivity.  

This year for TAW we’re focusing on education and celebrating some really brilliant people. I’ll be posting a series of Blogs about Trans subjects, we’ve got lists of amazing trans and non-binary people from before the 1900’s and Non-binary people you might not have heard about, as well as breaking down the LGBT+ gender flags and what they represent.

I’ll also be making mini bios of Trans and Non-Binary figures and putting them up around the HUBs and the SU area in the Heart of the Campus. If you spot them remember to tweet @KirstieRutter or @SHULGBTRep!

But the big one to look for for this year is the Gender Identi-tea Party and Karaoke After Party at the HUBs! They both take place of Friday the 16th, the Tea Party from 2pm-4pm and the Karaoke from 7pm onwards! You can find the full info here: www.facebook.com/events/194421431471150/

Follow me on twitter! @Kirstie Rutter

And for all things LGBT+ at Shu follow @SHULGBTREP and Like our Facebook page


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