Freshers’ Helpers from all four student bodies have been given training in the usage of gender pronouns for the first time. The Glasgow University Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer Plus society (GULGBTQ+) supplied the training to over 400 helpers as part of their ongoing Pronoun Pledge campaign shortly before the beginning of Freshers’ Week last month.
The Pronoun Pledge training aims to create a better understanding of transgender issues, making the University a safe and welcoming environment for transgender students. The training included advice on not assuming an individual’s gender, as well as basic definitions of trans terminology.
Training was delivered by GULGBTQ+ committee members, Megan Snedden (president), Mat Wilkie (trans/intersex officer) and Dylan Beck (non-binary officer). Following the sessions, Snedden told The Glasgow Guardian, “It was overall a very successful strategy to educate the wider student population on trans people. We received a lot of positive feedback from helpers across all of the bodies and as an SRC helper, I noticed many SRC helpers throughout the week taking on the advice we had given them about not assuming people’s gender and pronouns.”
Wilkie said: “It was great to have the opportunity to chat to large numbers of people about some things they could do to help trans freshers feel more welcome at the university.”
SRC Vice President of Student Activities Mhairi Harris said: “I think the training went great and I am very happy this was started this year. We received good feedback from our helpers and I will be encouraging the next Vice President to run this workshop next year.
“The SRC stands for equality for all. I see us as an important body in helping to facilitate this type of education at our university. It has been a student-led initiative and I commend GULGTBQ+ for creating this with approachable training.
“I think it is definitely something which could be expanded throughout campus. A lot of students are uneducated within this area and it would be great to educate the wider student population. I would encourage this training to be rolled out to our staff and I am happy to see this starting to take place.”
QMU president Jack Smith also welcomed the training, he said: “It was informative and helpful and I think the way they delivered the training deserves a lot of praise. They were fun and engaging and made it easy to get on board. Our helpers were very glad to receive the training and it got them talking about and being more sensitive to trans issues. I personally think that the wider student population would only benefit from the information and training being offered around campus, and I think they would appreciate it too.”
The pronoun pledge campaign was started last year by GULGBTQ+ and has already been taken by a number of student societies.
In future GULGBTQ+ aims to continue delivering their training sessions to clubs and societies, as well as to University employees. On widening the training, Mat Wilkie said: “In the future it’ll be great to be able to talk to more students and staff members about the small things they could do to make the university a better place to study as a trans person.”
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