Lincoln JCR’s voting procedure is set to become more inclusive for people who do not identify as men or women.
A motion to change the JCR constitution was passed unanimously at the second general meeting of term last Sunday.
The changes mean that those not identifying with a binary gender position can now vote on posts that are gender independent. In previous JCR elections different ballot papers were provided for men and women, since only those of the represented gender were eligible to vote for the post of men or women’s representative.
Lincoln LGBTQ representative Marco Alessi commented: “I’m really glad the motion was put forward and this was brought to attention so that members of the JCR don’t feel uncomfortable by being asked to choose between the forms.
“A couple of JCR members mentioned that they hadn’t really encountered the idea that sex and gender were distinct until that meeting, and have since brought themselves up to speed, which is great,” he added.
The meeting also agreed to change the role of the LGBTQ representative to include those sexual orientations implied but not included in the acronym. The constitution now states: “The LGBTQ representative will act as a permanent contact in college for anybody who is of non-traditional gender, romantic or sexual orientation, or has uncertainties about their sexuality.”
Ben Carter, who proposed the motion, said the move shows “that College acknowledges and accepts” genderqueer people.
“By explicitly having a ‘neither’ option, not only does it directly give an assurance to genderqueer people that the college acknowledges and accepts them, it also makes clear to people that ‘man’ and ‘woman’ aren’t the only two options,” he said.
“A lot of people simply don’t consider that, or even don’t know about it. Visibility helps with prejudice, and it can help people realise things about themselves. So that was the second reason for it, though I have to admit it wasn’t the one I presented the motion on.”
Rachel Jeal, Lincoln’s JCR President, said the vote “shows that Lincoln remains active in ensuring that the JCR is a place that caters to all.
“I feel that the motion is incredibly uncontroversial and this is substantiated by the fact that it was passed with a unanimous vote in its favour.
“The general feeling is that of support for the motion and approval that it has been passed, there was no opposition at the meeting in form of question or votes, so the atmosphere remains one of content,” she added.
A Lincoln second year (who wished to remain anonymous) spoke to the OxStu, saying: “This seems like a positive step in the right direction. Lincoln has always strived to be an inclusive place and these small but important changes will hopefully only cement that ethos.”