LGBT+ Students’ Caucus – Discussion Topics

We will run a conference via Skype for each of the five campaign caucuses. There will be a debate on campaign priorities, run like a formal conference debate and chaired by the Steering Committee. This will take place on 27 May.

Following the policy ballot which closed on Friday 15 May at 12 noon, we can now reveal the topics you chose to be discussed at NUS Liberation Conference. The topics you selected are:

  • Mental and sexual health support
  • LBGT+ conversion therapy
  • Collaborative campaigns. 

Click here for a full description of each of the topics to be debated or find summaries below.

Below are summaries of the topics that were proposed by students and students’ unions for discussion at the caucus.

Ally Schemes

Allies are important. An ally can merely be someone who is supportive and accepts the LGBT person, or a straight ally can be someone who personally advocates for equal rights and fair treatment. They aim to use their position as heterosexual and cisgender individuals in a society focused on heteronormativity to counter discrimination against LGBT+ people. 

Schemes to promote allies’ need to be encouraged, they are important and vital to progress of LGBT rights and acceptance in every day life.
This proposal suggests education schemes at institutions and students’ unions written by LGBT+ people and steps to make changes in staff culture through education and training.

Collaborative campaigns

While much has been won for LGBT+ students, there is a question on what is next for LGBT+ societies and students generally in the fight for liberation. This proposal argues that the key issues remaining cannot be tackled in student-only silos, but in collaborative campaigns involving local and nation groups, social and political. This proposal would see LGBT+ students approach the remaining issues not by withdrawing into student-only spaces, but by working widely and in solidarity.

For this to succeed, LGBT+ students and LGBT+ societies as SU bodies must be more collaborative and regional-focused in organising. It calls for more LGBT+ students engaged in local activist and social LGBT+ groups as well as engaging with national groups.

Gay Men committee places in societies

This proposal argues that some LGBT Society Exec Members do not just exist to provide representation for underrepresented. Although gay men might not face oppression within the LGBT+ community, a gay men’s officer might still be beneficial to the Society as a figurehead or ‘point of call’, or to work on issues that might be more specific to gay men - eg men’s mental health. It encourages LGBT+ societies to have a separate committee place for Gay Men.

LGBT+ conversion therapy

This proposal argues for continued support to bring an end to LGBT+ conversion therapy in the UK and to increase our efforts on pressure towards the government to put their money where their mouth is with equality and diversity. 

The LGBT+ campaign has discussed this at the 2018 conference. Since then there has been little development on this front, and the issue has come to light again. Therefore the proposer believes that the campaign should continue supporting the LGBT community, and improve their efforts in making conversion therapy illegal as the issue has gained attraction again.

Mental and Sexual Health Support

There is currently a significant lack of mental and sexual health support for LGBTQ+ students; this is having a major effect on the health and well-being of students, especially as LGBTQ+ students are at a greater risk of suffering mental health issues within the population as a whole.

Solutions to this include ensuring that there are support staff and services available that are trained/have experience with LGBTQ+ specific issues. Universities and other educational institutions should make every effort possible to provide regular sexual health and sex education services on-campus and should ensure they are able to offer support and appropriate signposting in emergencies

Safe Spaces

University is an experience that allows all students to find and express their true identities but is proven to be more difficult for LGBT+ students to do so. The normalisation of discriminatory attitudes towards the LGBT+ community encourages students to disguise their gender and sexual identities out of worry.

Whilst universities across the UK are increasing representation of their LGBT+ students on campus, this cannot be done alone. If we can include and create more LGBT+ alliances on university campuses, we can educate the non-members of the community and continue to decrease discriminatory attitudes towards LGBT+ students.

Possible solutions include creation of safe spaces for LGBT+ students, encouragement of reporting, extra training for societies and information for non-LGBT+ students.