YOUNG VOICES

National Union Of Students To Hire Transgender Officer In Historic Fight For Equal Rights

'Our movement has finally given trans students what they desperately need.'

19/12/2016 11:06 GMT | Updated 19/12/2016 11:28 GMT

The National Union of Students made history last week after it announced it was hiring a full-time transgender officer to lobby for equal rights. 

The NUS is the first organisation in Europe to introduce a full-time elected trans officer role, which will be filled in March 2017. 

NUS LGBT+ officer Melantha Chittenden described the decision as “momentous”.  

Melantha Chittenden
LGBT+ officer Melantha Chittenden said the move was 'momentous' 

“Today has proven that you genuinely can change hearts and minds with hard work and commendable arguments,” she said. 

“Having a dedicated trans officer doesn’t mean that the fight is over though, it doesn’t mean that trans people now miraculously have equal rights, access to education or adequate support.”

The NUS estimate that there are 28,000 trans students in the UK, while 2014 research found that one third of this group have experienced bullying or harassment on campus. 

More than half of transgender students have also considered dropping out of university, it was reported. 

“I felt invisible, stupid and misgendered and there were no staff who fully understood my situation on site,” one student told researchers. 

While specifics of the role have yet to be released, the officer will be dedicated to “defending and lobbying for trans rights”.  

“Our movement has finally given trans students what they want and deserve but most importantly what they desperately need,” Chittenden added.  

The motion to create the role was passed with more than 75% of the vote, with many NUS members sharing their support for the move: