Studying at university can pose a unique set of challenges for trans students. This week, 13th to 19th November, marks Transgender Awareness Week and we would like to provide some information to help you, your friend or course mate navigate the student experience at LSE.
LSE Students' Union Help
At the SU, we are run by students, for students, with the aim of supporting you through your time at LSE via a range of methods including developing social communities, hosting events and providing an opportunity for campaigns and projects to drive change.
The LSESU Pride Alliance is the society for students who identify as LGBTQ+, as well as allies. The society provides a welcoming community where you can meet like-minded individuals to socialise, get involved in their campaigns or join the committee. No-one understands students better than students so you may find this a useful group to engage with!
As an organisation, we are led by elected students. We have a number of part-time officers, including an LGBT+ Officer who is responsible for listening to and voicing the concerns of LGBTQ+ students at LSE. If you would like to speak to someone within the organisation about your experience as trans student, they would be a great contact. They have also pulled together a fantastic guide for LGBTQ+ students, which covers a wide range of issues and can be found here. There are four full-time Sabbatical Officers who cover different areas of student support: General Secretary, Community and Welfare, Education and Activities and Development. Our Education Officer, Bali, is campaigning for LSE to provide better support for trans students. It is worth keeping an eye out for communications about progress on this throughout the year. If you have ideas about this, they would love to hear from you!
LSESU Advice Team
Our advisers in the LSESU Advice Service will be more than happy to speak to you about any concerns you are having and may be able to offer suggestions or point you in the right direction for who you could consider speaking to. We also administer the Hardship Fund which can provide financial support to students who are facing difficulties affording their basic living expenses as a result of unexpected circumstances.
LSE is committed to trans equality and does not tolerate bullying or harassment of any form, particularly when it is based on gender identity or sexual orientation. If you are facing such discrimination, there are a couple of options for you. You can choose to report instances of concern via the Report It, Stop It tool. This can either be done anonymously or you can share your contact details if you wish to be contacted. There are also a number of Safe Contacts at LSE, who are trained staff volunteers across the school who can provide confidential support to any student who has experienced bullying, harassment or sexual violence.
The School Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying Policy can be found here and the Complaints procedure here. Both of these documents are useful sources of information if you are experiencing difficulties at LSE. They are both quite lengthy so if you would like to discuss them in more detail or would like some clarity, our Advisers in the LSESU Advice Service can help you navigate them.
You can change your personal details, including gender title and preferred “known as” name on LSE for You. The staff at the Student Services Centre will be more than happy to support you with any official name changes (such as would show on your transcript), currently official documentation is required for this.
LSE Student Counselling Service
LSE has a number of trained professional counsellors who work in the Student Counselling Service. They offer a private and confidential space where you can discuss any concerns with your mental health and personal life. They are based on campus (although currently operating mainly remotely due to Covid-19 social distancing measures) and can provide up to six free sessions. As well as running one-to-one sessions, they also put on a range of workshops throughout the year on topics like anxiety and mindfulness.
All of the above services operate in a confidential manner, however you may feel more comfortable speaking to someone external to the school.
Switchboard: Switchboard provide a confidential support service, run exclusively by volunteers who self-identify as LGBT+. They have a dedicated helpline and live chat feature, as well as providing email support. As we as acting as a listening service, they can also signpost you to support groups, provide you contact details for trans-friendly therapists and give you guidance on how to access support and information.
Galop: Galop is a charity providing support services to LGBQT+ individuals who are experiencing hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual violence. They run a dedicated Trans Advocacy and Community Development Service which offers confidential advice and support if you are experiencing any form of transphobia. They can be contacted via email, online form or phone helpline.
Stonewall: Stonewall is a LGBT+ rights charity which provides a fantastic amount of information and support. You can speak to their information line or search their website.
There are also a range of charities who specialise in other specific issues, such as suicide prevention, carers, alcohol/substance abuse, mental health, sexual violence or more. The NHS has a useful list of these here.
Every support service operates within a confidential framework. This means that anything discussed remains private and is not shared with anyone outside of the service (such as your department or family) without your consent. The only exception to this is if there is if something of an exceptional nature is disclosed, such as if there is a concern that there is a serious risk of harm to yourself or other people.
Blog written by Declan Katwala.
Declan is the Student Advisor in the LSE Students’ Union and a member of the Advice Team.
The LSESU Advice Team
Impartial. Supportive. Confidential.
The LSESU Advice Team is based on the 3rd floor of the Saw Swee Hock Building and we provide free, independent and confidential advice to all LSE students on academic and housing matters. We also administer the Hardship Fund, the Childcare Fund and the Graduation Gown Support Fund (GGSF).
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation we will not be on campus for Michaelmas Term. However, we are still open and can instead be accessed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book a telephone or Zoom appointment with an adviser through Student Hub.