The UCUs general secretary Jo Grady spoke at this year’s conference and said:
“Trans people are threatened, intimidated, attacked and dehumanised, often by people who should know better. … The issues and challenges facing working people have never been greater. The UK has never been more unequal. Yet we are constantly drawn into right-wing territory. Divide and conquer. This is a repeat of how gay people have been treated. And this is a repeat of how black people have been treated. As trade unionists we should never engage in the oppression of others. … Let us tackle the reality of issues faced by trans people, not as they are imagined by people who do not face them.”
Today we want to take the opportunity to reaffirm our support for our trans siblings to ensure they feel safe and supported on campus. As a branch we stand with our most marginalised colleagues and comrades. Trans people are currently the focus of a manufactured moral panic. The public discourse on trans rights often focuses on the theoretical and abstracted, forgetting that real people are at its centre. This discourse very rarely includes trans voices yet since 2014 transphobic hate crime has increased 332% (Pink News) with 4 out of 5 trans people experiencing transphobic hate crime within the last 12 months (Galop). As a union we do not forget that real people are suffering as a consequence of a so-called debate. Universities have a duty to ensure staff and students can work and study in safety and without harassment and they must be held accountable if they fall short. The UCU stands with trans people and stands up for trans rights.