It is a survey to see what reforms are needed in the NUS LGBT campaign.
It's blimmin complicated, and even I couldn't answer all of the questions - it is designed with those of in-depth NUS LGBT policy knowledge to fill in - however, it includes sections asking who NUS LGBT should represent and who should be allowed to attend events.
Currently, as my blog testifies, individuals who identify as LGBT only are represented and able to attend. If you refuse to define, are queer, asexual, pansexual, anthrosexual or other sexual identities - you are not allowed to go to conference because you 'do not experience the same issues and experiences of discrimination as self-defining LGBT people'.
I beg to differ.
These are my responses to that section:
1. Who do you believe our members to be?
Anybody who feels at home and believes in the rights of people who are not heteronormative in relationships, gender expression, gender, orientation or similar.
2. Who should be eligible to come to our events?
Everyone who is respectful. In terms of conference, everyone who is respectful and aims to honestly represent the views of those effected by the legislation.
If we insist upon keeping straight people out, then we should include a rule that is inclusive to all those who sometimes or always are oriented towards having sexual and/or romantic relationships with those who are not cisgendered members of the opposite sex, and those who do not identify as cisgendered.
It is ridiculous that queer people are not allowed to go to conference because they choose a name to describe themselves that is political or a name that fits them better than LGB or T - who's to say that someone who feels deep romantic attatchment to members of their own sex but rarely experiences sexual attraction is not allowed to go to conference UNLESS THEY ARE CLOSETTED.
It is despicable that queer, asexual, pansexual, anthrosexual etc individuals find the need to simplify or HIDE THEIR IDENTITY to strive for their rights and protection from recognised groups.
It is also poignant that although those who do not define as binary-gendered are welcome, those whose sexual identity supposes a possible attraction to them are not.
I have witnessed NUS LGBT policy become an excuse to DISCRIMINATE against individuals who do not define as LGBT but who are still victim to heterosexist society and homophobia.
I apologise for the capitals but this needs to change.
3. Who are we? What is our purpose or mission?
You are the representatives of those students who identify as oriented towards having sexual and/or romantic relationships with those who are not cisgendered members of the opposite sex, and those who do not identify as cisgendered.
To empower, legitimise, equalise, intergrate and free those who are marginalised in society due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation towards those of the same gender or non-cisgendered gender presentation.
4. Is "The NUS LGBT Campaign" the best name for what we do, or should be doing?
It is a short hand that works. Adding a Q might be a good start, but to avoid alphabet soup, perhaps a simple 'NUS sexual orientation and gender identity campaign' would work. 'NUS SO and GI' is about as clunky as 'NUS LGBT'. I'm sure people will get used to it.
5. Any other comments on the membership or purpose of our Campaign here
Really, really be more inclusive.
I've seen asexual members of my LGBT be made to feel unwelcome, be told they don't count and aren't represented by their group - even though they have partners of the same sex - because they don't identify correctly. Interestingly, one of my university's 'GaySoc' founders in the 70s defines as an asexual lesbian, and is still very vocal in the lesbian community. Just saying.
Queer people have ALWAYS been in the LGBT movement - just as trans people were before the T and B people were before the B. The queer people are there - pay attention to them!
You are losing vital support and people as they become disillusioned; turned away or seeing others turned away because they don't fit hetero or homonormative identities.
If you are a student in NUS-affiliated higher or further education, please fill in this form by the 20th and tell them what you want to change.