Regent’s Park JCR will change the name of its LGBTQ officer to ‘Sexuality and Gender Officer’ after a successful motion in a recent meeting.
Will Tomsett, LGBTQ Officer, told the meeting that he felt that “the current name excludes many gender issues which people might feel are not being catered for.”
“By making this change, there will appear to be fewer stigmas in seeking the LGBTQ Officer. Changing the name will increase the scope of people who can talk to them,” he said.
JCR members were receptive to the proposal, with some suggesting that the change of name would make the position sound less politically charged. Some JCR members pointed out that the change would make the new name longer than the current five-letter “LGBTQ”.
However, supporters of the motion said this was simply another reason to have a “more all-encompassing name”.
Most college JCRs have an LGBTQ Officer, but Regent’s is believed to be one of the first to alter the name of the position.
Suggestions that the name of the officer be shortened to the ‘Queer Officer’ were unsuccessful because JCR members believed this would be exclusionary.
Tomsett said he felt the change to “Sexuality and Gender Officer” was “necessary”.
“The term LGBTQ excludes a lot of non-heterosexual people, such as pansexual, asexual or intersex individuals, and places a lot of stigma around going to see the LGBTQ Officer for heterosexuals, so I felt a change in the terminology was necessary.”
He also claimed the motion would include heterosexual people with “non-normative” sexualities, such as those “on the BDSM ‘scene’ or fetishists, who often are not given enough information about safe sexual practice, as no one is assigned to represent them.”
“So the suggestion was made to change the name of the officer to include anyone who wishes to discuss sexuality and/or gender, without necessarily needing to put labels on to people seeking support which they may feel uncomfortable self-identifying as,” he added.