On Wednesday, a motion was submitted to the General Meeting asking for students to vote on the use of pronouns within Brookes Union. The motion was submitted using the standard procedures, and was in line with our democratic processes. The motion provides clear steps for how we can make Brookes Union a more trans-inclusive space, and affirms our commitment to supporting the rights of trans students.
The General Meeting is how we decide what is and what isn't Union policy. The only way to ensure that topics like trans rights are not up for debate amongst the student body, is to pass policy democratically through General Meeting. By passing this policy, students have now enshrined that trans rights are no longer up for debate in the Union.
Students voted overwhelmingly in favour of this motion, with over 200 students voting in support. By passing this motion, Brookes Union is committed to working proactively to be trans inclusive in all areas of its work. The normalisation of the use of pronouns across the board is just one very small action that individuals can take to make it less likely that students will be misgendered. We hope that this is only the beginning of students using our democratic processes to transform the Union into a more welcoming space for all marginalised students, and we welcome further policy that advances the rights of LGBTQ+ students.
We are a member-led organisation - this means that it is solely up to you - the students! - to decide how the Union works, and what we campaign for. That’s why at the General Meeting students also passed policy in favour of paying students at the Oxford Living Wage, and campaigning to secure a partial tuition fee refund in light of changes to online teaching!
For clarity - we do not think all sides have equal weight in this so-called ‘trans debate’; by proposing and passing this motion, students have shown solidarity with trans students, and committed the Union to using its resources to protect and extend the rights of trans students. Now that we’ve taken a policy position, we can get to the hard work of transforming the Union and the University into a more diverse and inclusive place for trans and other marginalised students.
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