The NUS Women’s Campaign passed a motion at its annual national conference today to ensure that it never again offers a platform to transphobes.
The clauses ensuring this read are copied out below in full.
That the women’s officer or members of the committee shall not share a platform with Julie Bindel or others transphobic speakers.
The NUS Women’s campaign shall not offer a platform to a transphobic speaker, nor shall it officially support any event that does.
The motion makes an example of Julie Bindel, a journalist who has frequently written articles attacking trans people, amongst others. A couple of years ago, the NUS Women’s Officer found herself in the difficult position of sharing a platform with Bindel at the rally following London’s Reclaim The Night march. The new policy means that similar incidents should not happen in the future.
The motion, entitled “T is NOT for Tokenism”, also calls for a broad discussion with trans students about how best to advertise NUS Women’s events in a trans-inclusive fashion, and ensures that the NUS Women’s trans caucus is open to FtM spectrum individuals who “experience discrimination rooted in their having been assigned a female gender role” or “their being perceived as women”.
The NUS Women’s Campaign is already inclusive of trans women. Policy passed in 2007 ensured that campaign events are open to all women on a self-defining basis. There is a trans representative on the Women’s Committee elected by members of an autonomous trans caucus at the campaign’s annual conference. This year’s event featured a workshop exploring links between LGBT activism and feminism, and another discussing the role of trans people in women’s spaces.
Other significant policy passed at the conference included a call for greater representation of black women within the campaign (the vote for which followed a dignified protest the previous evening by most of the few black women present at the conference), a condemnation of sexism from student marketing “specialist” NUSSL, and continued support for pro-choice organisations, sex workers’ unions and groups fighting against the exploitation of women’s bodies in the media and Student Unions.