Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, an international day held on 20 November to remember and stand in solidarity with Trans people whose lives have been lost due to anti-transgender hatred and violence. Leeds Beckett Students' Union will always stand for Trans rights at Leeds Beckett University, in our community and around the world. We stand together with those who are fighting to have their basic rights respected and upheld. Trans rights are human rights!
We're happy to introduce you to your new Trans Rep for the 2020/21 academic year, Casper Marsh (pronouns they/them) 😀
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Well my name’s Casper, I’m a third year Game Design student and I identify as genderqueer. Sometimes I’ll refer to myself as non-binary or gender non-conforming but at the end of the day all I know is that my gender identity is queer as all heck. In fact queerness is something that defines all aspects of my life because our queerness is more than just our gender identities, it’s a way of perceiving the world the way we want to not just the way we’re shown and it’s about directly and overtly challenging the established norms in relation to gender, sexuality, power and pleasure. Something I invite you to join me in.
Why did you apply for the role of Trans Rep at LBSU?
I wanted to give transgender, intersex, genderqueer, non-binary and all gender non-conforming students a louder voice, because quite often anti LGBTQ+ sentiment can leak into our lives from unexpected places, quieting our concerns or silencing us completely. We all understand what even some of our closest and most supportive cisgendered friends or family simply cannot: the little looks shot our way, a taunting misgendering that we’re too tired to correct, the fears and the risks of simply existing outside the comforting walls of cisnormativity.
This is something we have in common, something we can all discuss and help each other with and eventually transcend together. The old ‘if I’m not getting dirty looks from bigots I ain’t doing it right’ attitude is something I often fall back on to help me cope with the vitriol and violence directed towards me as a result of my gender. However the pseudo vindication of my non-comformativity at the wrong end of a fist is not a solution to the problem but rather a problem that needs a solution...which neatly brings me into the next question.
What do you want to accomplish this year as the LBSU Trans Rep?
I have two different goals in mind: The first is to raise awareness for trans issues, and trans safety. Making sure everyone's pronouns are up to date on our system, sending out every possible piece of information that staff and students could need to contribute towards a safer environment. For staff especially I will push for more training in relation to the trans experience to ensure that students feel more comfortable in teaching spaces, having the support of their tutors. I also want to briefly say that any and all instances of hate towards any members of our community will not be ignored and I will do everything I can to make sure the victims feel safe and that the person responsible, be it student or staff, faces consequences for their actions and that, I cautiously say, is a promise.
The second is to celebrate queerness, and to promote the work and creativity coming from our community. As important as it is to talk about the very real and very serious issues surrounding trans students, to focus only on the negative aspects of queerness is to do our queerness a disservice. I’m planning virtual meetings for our community to meet up in so we can explore and celebrate each other: this could mean showing off an essay you’re proud of, a game you’ve designed or even just to discuss topics that we can pick in advance. I know how difficult it can be as a trans student trying to get yourself out there, and I want this to act as a chance to exist within a space you won’t feel embarrassed to call out in or share work in.
Do you have any advice for Trans students studying at Leeds Beckett?
Yes I bleedin’ well do: please, please contact me if you’re having any problems at all no matter how seemingly small or large. Get in touch if you don’t feel comfortable speaking in class and feel you’re missing out, if you feel that someone is treating you differently or acting out of hate, if you feel you can’t come out or present truthfully or don’t understand your gender identity and are feeling confused, any problem at all be it related to your gender or not is a problem I can help with.
Apart from that I would urge you to get involved, as much as you feel comfortable with, with your course and your community. Try as much as you can to enjoy your time here and if you feel that you can’t because of issues relating to your gender identity (or even if it’s other due to other factors but you’re a part of this community) than you know what to do if you’ve been paying attention: talk to me.
We want to thank Casper for sharing a bit about them on our blog! Get to know your Reps, they are here to support and represent you at Leeds Beckett University.
We also encourage you to look at Galop, the LGBT+ anti-violence charity. They have great resources on their page.
Stay safe, LBSU x