My name is Jamie, my pronouns are they/them, and I’m very excited to be volunteering with TrAC over Summer 2018! I’m a recent English Literature graduate from Cardiff University, on a work experience placemen with TrAC through GoWales. I’m going to be writing periodic updates on the project on this blog, running the TrAC twitter and helping out with workshops and public engagement during the next few months.

Alongside my English Literature degree (where I wrote about gender and sexuality wherever possible!), I served on the LGBT+ Association committee as disabled students’ rep during 2016-17 and transgender students’ rep in 2017-18, and on the Welfare Exec committee (supporting VP Welfare) for 2 years. My most significant achievements as a committee member have included advocating for trans students against a change in Registry’s policy surrounding name changes, and setting up an LGBT+ mental health event. Personnel changes in the university Registry department and an ongoing plan to rewrite our advice policy for trans staff and students led to Registry making its name change policy stricter. I’m very proud of the fact that by working together with the trans rep from Enfys, the staff LGBT+ network, we successfully got Registry to reverse the policy change, ensuring that trans students can go by their chosen name at university without requiring a deed poll. Supporting my fellow trans students to ensure that whether or not they are “out” at home, they can safely and easily use their chosen name at university, was an incredibly rewarding experience.

To further support the mental health of LGBT+ students, working both as the disabled students’ rep on the LGBT+ Association and the LGBT+ rep on the Welfare Exec, I organised the university’s first LGBT+ mental health fair. This brought together a range of internal and external support services to let LGBT+ students what support is available in Cardiff for them, and was so successful that is has been repeated twice this year by my successors on the Association committee.

While I’m volunteering with TrAC, I’m looking forward to getting to understand the needs of a different demographic of the trans community than the students I have been working with during my time at university. As a young, disabled trans person, understanding some of the social and healthcare needs of older trans people is particularly important to me. I’m interested in potentially pursuing a career in social work or the charity sector, so being able to work on this project is giving me a valuable insight into some of the kinds of work that is being done in those sectors, and what further work needs to be done to support the trans community in the future. I look forward to sharing some of my experiences and what I learn with you in future blogs!

June 1st, 2018

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