An OUSU council motion allowing students to wear sub fusc of either gender according to personal preference was passed on Wednesday, abolishing the former rule requiring them to dress according to the gender listed on their student record.
The motion was put forward by Jess Pumphrey and seconded by Seb Baird on the basis that, whilst the sub fusc is “a significant part of our identity as Oxford students”, transgender students who believe the gender listed on their student record is wrong can only dress in the sub fusc of the opposite gender via directly contacting the proctors to ask for special dispensation.
The council noted that not only are transgender students often unaware of this procedure, but that they are often dissuaded from pursuing it by the possibility that it might not succeed.
The next step involves OUSU’s LGBTQ rep Jess Pumphrey writing up the proposed changes and presenting them to the university.
The wording of the motion, to “remove references to gender” could also allow men and women to wear neck-wear of their own preference, whether a ribbon or bow tie, a possibility welcomed by some male students, with one second year Whadamite, who wished to remain anonymous, commenting: “Often while I have sat in the lofty exam halls of the university have I looked around me with a biting jealousy at those majestic ribbons that adorn with such frailty and delicacy the female members of the university and have thought to myself that if only the dictatorial constraints imposed upon me by this University were slackened I would cast aside the cumbersome bow-tie and replace it with one of them.”
Jess Pumphrey described the proposed change as “a small one that will make a number of students’ exam experience significantly less stressful by eliminating the need for transgender students to cross-dress to avoid being confronted by invigilators or disciplined during their exam.”
She added: “It shouldn’t affect anyone else. I am hopeful that the university will adopt the proposal, especially since it will be supported by OUSU.”