The LGBT Officer is responsible for representing all students who self define themselves lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, asexual and/or unsure/undecided or anyone who self-defines as experiencing homophobia, biphobia and/or transphobia for not fitting into heteronormative society. The Officer leads a delegation on behalf of the Students’ Union to the NUS LGBT Conference, and works with the Union to improve the student experience of LGBT students. The LGBT Officer also chairs the LGBT Students’ Network.
Abi Alcock credits the LGBT network with “having made [her] university experience” thus far. She has been Campaigns Officer for the LGBT Network since September. During this time she has run campaigns for World AIDS day, proposed motions to the SU council, and begun preparing an LGBT awareness campaign for the end of the year. If elected representative, she would bring experience from her medically based degree to campaign for LGBT health awareness, including the training of staff at Cripps Medical Centre. She would also set up a website to link the LGBT network in university with the equivalent in the city. Alcock’s passion for the LGBT network is undisputable, and her health prerogatives admirable, however, the feasibility of such plans will hopefully be addressed further during her campaign.
Elliott has the credentials of being LGBT Social Secretary as well as having experience in budgeting and admin. He also has Welfare Training from the Nottinghamshire Rainbow Heritage and has supported issues such as the ‘Donation not Discrimination’ campaign at SU council. Elliott explained: “LGBT helped me personally when I first arrived at University, so now I want to give something back and help future and current students”. He would like to conduct a survey to discover what people want from the network and to see why more people do not join. Elliott also believes that campus halls are particular problem areas that need to be tackled: “Homophobic chants are banned but this isn’t enforced. Staff should be given better training on the issues affecting LGBT students and students need to know where to go if they do encounter discrimination”. He pledged to do more in publicising key issues year round and ensure that a high standard in all LGBT campaigns, welfare provisions and social events is maintained.
Burns’ first priority is to improve the welfare of LGBT students. One initiative that she hopes will achieve this is her plan to reintroduce Gayline, “It used to exist at this University” she told Impact, “Essentially it’s a system run jointly between LGBT and Nightline to provide support to LGBT students”. She went on to reason, “Nightline is not necessarily trained on LGBT issues, so the network could have a lot more input into this, as they know what is relevant for LGBT students”
Also important to Burns is improved feedback from LGBT students about how the network serves them. At the moment, she admits, “[the LGBT committee] does not have a lot [of feedback]”. By means of surveys and more open committee meetings she hopes to achieve this. “It is really important for everyone to have a say in how the network is run”
Images by Helen Miller