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Transgender Awareness Week

Jo, from the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Team, talks about Transgender Awareness Week, 13 – 17 November, and Transgender Day of Remembrance, on 20 November

Transgender Awareness Week is an annual event which aims to raise the  awareness of transgender and gender non-conforming people and address some of the issues the trans community faces.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) takes place just after Transgender Awareness Week, and is a day marked to honour the memory of people who have died as a result of anti-transgender violence.

A short Remembrance Service and Candle Light Vigil will be held in the VJ Gallery (Main Building) on Monday 20 November, 17:30 – 18:00, and the Cardiff Trans Singers will be performing.  Please come along to pay your respects. Find out more here.

The Wellbeing Champions will also be recognising Trans Day of Remembrance by promoting Transgender Awareness in the Students Union (opposite Starbucks) on Monday 20 November, 14:00-15:30. Please stop by to meet some of the Champions, have a chat or to pick up a leaflet.

Definition

Most commonly, the term ‘transgender’ is used to describe:

“An individual whose gender identity does not necessarily match the sex assigned to them at birth” (Stonewall).

However, ‘transgender’ is an inclusive umbrella term, which can be used more broadly to describe the diversity of gender identity and expression for all people who do not confirm to common ideas of gender roles, encompassing anyone whose identity or behaviour falls outside of stereotypical gender norms.

Current landscape

Recent years have seen huge strides for trans visibility, with an increase in coverage in mainstream media about people who are transgender and many high-profile ‘comings out’ and breakthrough moments on TV that signal that attitudes towards trans people have been shifting.

However, unfortunately, this increased visibility has not yet translated to broad tolerance for transgender people. Trans individuals are still subject to profound discrimination, rejection, hostility and violence.

According to recent NUS Research, transgender university students are much more likely to suffer bullying and harassment, experience more physical and mental health problems and are twice as likely to have considered dropping out of higher education.

Cardiff University can offer specific support for trans students…

Support to transition

If you are trans and you would like support with transitioning at uni, please know that Cardiff University has supported a number of students who have transitioned and there are procedures in place to make things as easy as possible.

The best place to start is to take a look at the Supporting Gender Reassignment and Equality for Trans Students and Staff policy and procedures document on the Student Intranet

The next step is to speak to your Personal Tutor or contact the Student Support Centre, who will arrange to meet with you to offer support and to agree how you would like to proceed with informing relevant people. As well as discussing the most appropriate way and time to tell them.

You may wish to lead this process yourself, or you may want the university to inform relevant people such as tutors / lecturers / fellow students on your behalf.

You will always be consulted about what you’d like people to be told and the language you’d like used, and only those who need to know about the transition will be informed, with clear information given about confidentiality.

Time off

If you are undergoing medical and surgical procedures related to transitioning then you may need time off from your studies.

If it is not possible to arrange appointments which do not clash with your academic commitments, you simply need to speak to your Personal Tutor or your contact in Student Support, to discuss how to catch up on any work missed and any further support you may need from the university.

You do not need to give specific details about medical appointments (for example, procedures being undertaken) when informing the university of appointments, but simply to provide evidence that the appointment/s is/are happening.

 

You can access facilities which match the gender in which you present

If you are trans, you can access ‘men-only’ and ‘women-only’ areas – such as changing rooms and toilets – according to the gender in which you present. This may mean that you change the facilities you use at the point when you start to live in your affirmed gender.

Gender neutral facilities

The university also recognises the many non-binary and gender-fluid identities exist, including trans non-binary identities. There are a number of gender-neutral toilets on campus and plans for many more to be provided.

If you have any issues or specific requirements relating to accommodation and/or facilities, you can talk to University Residences about these and they will endeavour to accommodate these for you / rectify any issues for you as soon as possible.

You can request a change of name and gender on your Student Record

Any student can request a change of name and gender on the university’s student records system by requesting this through the Registry Education Support Team within the Registry Department. Arrangements will then be discussed with you for your student record to be changed at a mutually agreed date.

The Team will also let you know how to go about getting a new university Student Identity Card and talk to you about which other records or documents the university holds on SIMS that may also need to be updated or withheld.

You can provide more than one type of ID

As not all trans people will hold a birth certificate that reflects their affirmed gender, you can provide more than one type of official identification for university purposes at times when official confirmation of your identity is required – for example a driving licence, passport or birth certificate.

If you do not hold any ID in your affirmed name and gender, Registry can help by advising you on this.

During transition, you can (legally) use more than one name for example: one name for your bank details and another name as a student of the university.

Your confidentiality will be protected

The university will take all relevant steps to ensure that your confidentiality is protected by ensuring that information about your previous name and gender and the fact that you have transitioned is not disclosed to anyone who is not somebody you have informed in an official capacity.

If you have changed your gender identity with the university, you have the right to request that all references to your former name and gender are removed from old records to ensure your former identity is not revealed.

The university will ensure that from the date agreed with you, your records will be changed. Any records held which contain your former name and gender will be appraised and destroyed if no longer required.

The University operates a Zero Tolerance policy on Transphobia

This means that transphobic abuse, harassment or bullying (including name-calling / derogatory jokes) will be dealt with under the Dignity at Work and Study Policy, which states that the university will not tolerate such behaviour. It will be treated by the university as a disciplinary offence.

To ‘out’ someone without their permission is a form of harassment and, possibly, a criminal offence, and will be treated by the university as such.

 

Emotional and Practical Support is available from…

Counselling, Health and Wellbeing

The University’s Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service is available to provide support for anybody experiencing any kind of emotional distress, be these difficulties related to being trans or LGB, gender identity, transitioning at university, or anything else.

Confidential, one-to-one appointments are available via an Online Self-Referral Form on the Student Intranet. Search for Counselling and Wellbeing.

A Daily Drop-In Service called ‘Wellbeing Walk-In’ is also available, offering brief 15 minute sessions to provide advice and guidance without the need for pre-booking. The Service runs between 3pm & 3.45pm, Monday–Friday and on Wednesday mornings between 9.30am & 10.15am at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place.

All staff will listen, without judgement, and offer support in a safe, confidential space.

 

Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge is a project run by Victim Support, offering advice, support and information to victims of domestic abuse who identify as LGBT+. Rainbow Bridge exists to provide LGBT+ abuse victims with the specialist support they deserve. Services can be accessed directly, securely and confidentially, so that victims of LGBT+ domestic abuse do not need to go to the police if they do not wish to.

Appointments are available on the last Tuesday evening of every month during term-time at the Student Support Centre (50 Park Place) between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.

Appointments are bookable by slot on the Student Intranet.

If you would like to get advice or find out more about the work of Rainbow Bridge before booking an appointment, please call 0300 3031 982, email rainbowbridge@victimsupport.org.uk or https://www.reporthate.victimsupport.org.uk/rainbow-bridge/ or email the Wellbeing and Counselling service: wellbeingandcounselling@cardiff.ac.uk.

South Wales Victim Focus

If you have suffered transphobic abuse or any kind of hate crime, the South Wales Victim Focus Team is available at the Student Support Centre (50 Park Place), on the second Tuesday evening of every month during term-time between 5pm and 7pm.

The Team offers free, one-to-one, confidential support for direct victims, witnesses and anyone indirectly affected by crime, including hate crime. There is no time limit to the support received and the crime does not have to be reported to the police to gain support.

Appointments are bookable by slot on the Student Intranet.

If you would like to get advice or find out more about the work of South Wales Victim Focus you can also call 0300 30 30 161.

 

CU Pride

The LGBT+ Society, CU Pride, and the elected Student LGBT+ Officers are also here to provide advice and support. CU Pride welcomes everyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. To join their mailing list anonymously, please send an email to lgbt@cardiff.ac.uk

For any additional help, advice about university policies regarding LGBT+ issues, or for information regarding upcoming campaigns please visit the Association Facebook Page or contact one of the current LGBT+ Officers

 

Equality and Diversity Unit

Advice and support for students on transitioning or for students experiencing harassment, bullying or discrimination as a result of their trans status, is also available from the University’s Equality and Diversity Unit.

 

Wellbeing Champions

If talking to a member of staff is something you are not sure about, why not chat to one of our Student Wellbeing Champions. They are trained student volunteers who can signpost you to support or provide a non-judgemental ‘Peer Ear’.

Best wishes,

Jo, Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Team.

Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & MoneyCareers & EmployabilityCounselling, Health & WellbeingDisability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.

The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.

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