OUSU Council will debate this week over whether to bind NUS delegates to “vote in favour of a full time trans officer” for the NUS.
The proposal, put forward by Wadham student and LGTBQ Society Trans Rep Rowan Davis, also states that “The actions of many cis delegates around [the motion], blocking trans people from having a voice, should be condemned” and that “It is up to trans students to decide what our liberation looks like not majority cis”.
Seconder to the motion Henry Holmes (also from Wadham) said: “Motion 705 was overwhelmingly supported by trans people. Its falling at the NUS conference was the result of the terms of our liberation being dictated by cisgender people who seem to only pay lip service to our struggles when it benefits their own ends. The debate was a shambles; it was argued that this was a decision that should be left up to the LGBT conference when the LGBT conference had argued the equivalent motion down by saying such a decision should be left to the main conference. Arguments about the apparently unfeasible cost don’t hold up when the NUS is spending tens of thousands of pounds on Labour propaganda in the form of anti-Lib Dem billboards and the CEO is paid £100,000 a year (when this was pointed out in the debate there were threats of an early shutdown of the entire conference).
For the past two years there’s been almost unanimous support for this motion in the NUS Trans conference and the Trans caucuses of the Women’s and LGBT conferences. In addition to this, in a straw poll of trans students at Oxford, every single student asked was in favour of the motion. This information was all supplied to our NUS delegates along with the numerous arguments in favour, but still not all delegates voted in favour of the motion. Our delegates, and in particular Annie and Louis, did excellent work at the conference to promote Motion 705, but our motion secures the delegates in future to actually vote in line with the people they are meant to represent.”
A motion to appoint a full time Trans Officer for the NUS was unsuccessful at this year’s NUS conference, held 21st – 23rd April in Liverpool. Although support for the motion gained a majority, it failed to gain the necessary 2/3rds of votes it would have needed to be passed.