student.union@newcastle.ac.uk

Trans Awareness Week is an annual campaign being held this year on the 16th-20th of November.

This campaign aims to amplify the marginalised voices of trans and non-binary people on campus, celebrate all trans people and raise awareness to the trans and non-binary lived experience, both present day and in the past whilst building upon last year’s LGBT+ Officer’s campaign 'Rock the Cis-tem'. Throughout the week, the SU and the LGBTQ+ Society will be hosting events that aim to act as a safe space for trans and non-binary people to discuss their experiences as well as events that remember important trans activists. The campaign page will also act as a central directory of resources for trans and non-binary students.

Using and understanding the correct terminology is important, not only does this help you support the trans and non-binary community it helps promote respect, tolerance, and acceptance for gender diversity. It could be considered the first step in education and tackling stigma and oppression.

Click or hover over a phrase to see the definition:

Gender

Consists of interacting gender identity and gender expression. Gender is not a simple binary (man or woman) but rather a spectrum of identities. Gender is not directly related to sex.

Gender Identity

A person’s inner and deep held sense of their gender. Man or woman is usually seen as the default; however, gender identity is a spectrum which encompasses a wide range of valid identities. For example, people can identify somewhere within the spectrum (i.e. non-binary) or outside it completely (i.e. agender).

Gender Expression

This is the self-expression and presentation of an individual. For example: names, pronouns, clothing and styles, and behaviour. Expression is subjective, changing over time and within cultures. Society has previously identified these characteristics as ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’. However, these cultural manifestations of what constitutes gender ideals and what one person considers ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ could vary by individual.

Transgender

This is an umbrella term for those people whose gender differs from assigned gender at birth. Transgender can also be shortened to ‘trans’. This term is used as an adjective.

Transsexual

This is NOT an umbrella term and can be offensive to some transgender people. This is a much older and typically outdated term. However; some individuals still use this term to identify themselves.

Non-Binary

An umbrella term for people’s gender identity and/or gender expression that falls outside man or woman. There are a variety of non-binary identities, with differences and nuances to these gender identities. Many non-binary people use they/them pronouns or alternative neopronouns. Non-binary is a typically ‘western’ term, however there are cultural alternatives to gender identities, for example Hijra (third gender community in India) and two-spirt (used by some Indigenous North Americans). Finally, not all non-binary people identify as trans.

Deadname/Birthname

This the name previously assigned to a person who has since changed their name. A person should not ask or use a trans or non-binary persons dead name, as this is disrespectful.

Transitioning

This process is a personal journey that is different for many trans and non-binary people. Transitioning can include many different social, legal, or medical steps, depending on the person. For example: coming out, using a different name and pronouns, altering legal documents, hormone therapy, and surgery. Transitioning should not be focused on one or more of these processes as it is based on what an individual feels appropriate for them.

Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS)

This refers to medically supervised process of surgical changes to a person body. These surgeries can form part of someone’s medical transition, however this is not a requirement, some trans people will have some procedures and not others, while others might not feel they need GCS.

Gender Dyphoria

The feeling of discomfort and/or distress associated with a person whose gender identity does not match the gender they were assigned at birth.

This section explores a range of oppressive and prejudicial behaviours that greatly impact the trans and non-binary community. While you might not be personally affected, there are wider societal repercussions. These behaviours increase the incidences of hate crimes, deteriorating mental health and wellbeing within the community, and lack of support with increased intolerance and exclusion.  

Transphobia: 

Transphobia is the intolerance of gender diversity and manifests as prejudice and abuse towards transgender and non-binary people. It stems from the notion that ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are comparable, however, this is not the case. Here are some useful pages from Galop (LGBT+ anti-violence charity) and Stonewall (on reporting hate crime)  

Transmisogyny: 

It is the prejudice, cultural oppression, violence, and discrimination directed towards transgender women, and those that are more ‘feminine’ presenting. It can manifest in invalidating trans experiences, and not viewing transgender women in the same way as cisgender women. It links to the judgment of all women based on a set of societal and cultural standards. 

Cissexism: 

Cissexism is a result of systematic oppression faced by transgender people. It usually refers to a set of acts that privilege cisgender people over transgender people. Cissexism might be less ‘visible’ and ‘subtle’ to cisgender people; however, it is still damaging to the trans community. Furthermore, assuming that cisgender is ‘normal’ and being transgender is the opposite reinforces prejudicial behaviours. 

Examples (TW – cis-sexism and transphobia): 

These are examples of behaviours that can be discriminatory towards trans and non-binary people, these should not be used or tolerated. The first step in becoming a better ally is recognising these and speaking out against them. 

  1. Referring to sanitary products as ‘feminine products’ or expressing that ‘women only have periods’ dismisses trans and non-binary people that use these products. 
  2. Greetings such as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ can make non-binary people feel othered. 
  3. The idea that transgender and non-binary people should fit cisgender beauty standards to be ‘accepted’ by society. 
  4. Invasive questions about somebodies ‘real’ name (leading to deadnaming), ‘pronouns’, or their transitioning process. 
  5. You should NOT use the terms ‘sex-change’, ‘pre-op’ or ‘post-op’. This increased emphasis and suggests that trans people must need surgery to transition.
  6. Phrases referring to ‘biologically’ or ‘genetically’ dismisses trans and non-binary people. This reinforces the concept that gender and sex are comparable. 
  7. Words such as ‘tranny’ and ‘she-male’, THESE ARE DEROGATARY! Not only are these extremely transphobic, they dismiss transgender people completely. 
  8. Referring to cis-gender men or women as ‘real’ not only reinforces sexist and gendered stereotypes, it invalidates and dehumanises transgender and non-binary people. 

Here we will explore combatting ‘normalised’ attitudes and ways that the student body can better support the trans and non-binary community. 

  1. Use the correct name and pronouns. 
  2. Listen to trans and non-binary people and their experiences.
  3. Stop and think about the language you use, self-reflection = self-development! 
  4. Educate yourself rather than expecting trans and non-binary people to do this for you. It’s okay not to know/understand everything, but take steps to help yourself learn more. 
  5. Challenge anti-transgender attitudes in all spaces, including LGBT spaces! 
  6. Being an ally relies on patterns of behaviour, you can’t just brand yourself an ally without doing anything to help and elevate the voices of the trans and non-binary community around you. 

Finally, while you might not understand everything, respect others, and embrace differences. Here are some tips from GLAAD (‘Tip for Allies of Transgender People'). 

LGBT+ Officer Email Ben Campbell. Elected liberation officer representing and supporting LGBT+ students on campus 
Marginalised Genders Officer Email Jennifer Mills. Elected liberation officer representing and supporting students from all marginalised gender groups (women, transgender, and non-binary students) 
Welfare and Equality Officer  Email Elected Sabbatical officer in charge of supporting and advocating for the welfare of all students at Newcastle University
Gay Guide to Newcastle: Link A guide created by your LGBT+ officer that outlines local and national LGBTQ+ support groups and organisations, sexual health services in Newcastle, various societies, and gay bars!
Report & Support  

There is zero tolerance for transphobia and homophobia on campus. If you have been subject to either of these, you can report it either via the university or the students union and access the support that is available to you. 

University Report and Support: 
http://reportandsupport.ncl.ac.uk/  

Students Union Report and Support: 
https://www.nusu.co.uk/support/report/  

Mermaids UK Link Mermaids UK is one of the UK’s leading trans-specific charities, focusing on helping trans and gender diverse children and young people. They offer support and resources for trans and gender diverse young people and their families.
Sparkle – The National Transgender Charity Link Promote a positive message and developing an understanding of the trans community within wider society to challenge stigma
Gendered Intelligence Link Increase awareness of gender diversity and supporting trans people aged 8-25.
GLAAD: Glossary of Terms Link These resources explain a number of terms and what phrases should be avoided. 
Be- North East Link Based in Newcastle upon Tyne. This network helps improve the lives of trans and non-binary people through peer support groups and social events.
Trans Unite Link Trans Unite is an online directory of nearby Trans services and support groups in the UK, with each group added being reviewed and verified. Their mission is to bring trans communities together to foster support and exchange advice.
Gender Kit Link An online directory containing everything you need to know about transitioning in the UK.
Jecca Blac Makeup Assistance Link A cosmetics company that creates products gender-free and offers makeup assistance to trans women and those experimenting with makeup.
Trevor Project 'Coming Out Handbook' Link A handbook produced by the Trevor Project that goes over coming out. Has some excellent information about gender identity and gender expression.
Spectrum Outfitters Link A UK retailer of binders for trans and non-binary individuals. Discount code for Newcastle University students for 50% off a second binder when buying a first. Code: NEWTAW
G(END)ER Swap Link An LGBTQI+ clothing outreach program based in the UK that supports trans and non-binary individuals. Have a free binder scheme that you can apply for (currently closed but keep an eye out!)