My 2018 New Years resolution was simply ‘be kinder‘, and so I refuse to begin this entry with self flagellation and pithy remorse about how terribly inconsistent I was in updating this blog last year. I had a really busy year and it wouldn’t have done me much good to be piling on extra deadlines and duties – so I hope you’ll forgive me for that.
Instead, I want to talk about what I’ve done, what I’m doing and what’s coming up!
August 2017: Between Sisters and Cisters: Trans Women, Feminist Identity Formation, and Online Exclusions. This was the rather catchy (!) title of my MSc dissertation which I completed in September, wrapping up a wonderful year of studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
The dissertation itself was an incredibly challenging, eye-opening and emotive piece of work to complete, and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the brave women who volunteered to take part. They will, of course, remain anonymous – but thank you.
A number of people have asked whether they can read the paper, and I’d be delighted – at the moment I’m attempting to find time to extract a publishable journal article from the dissertation (which would certainly make for better and more accessible reading, I promise) but time is, as always, a bit of an issue. Bear with me on this, and feel free to gently nudge me if nothing appears in the next 6 months.
September 2017: Appointed as Equality Projects Officer at Bath Spa University. Yep, that’s right – I’m now officially part of the full time working world. So long studenthood (for now), hello amazing new job and a regular income. It also has the most beautiful campus ever.
I won’t bore you all with an in-depth job description, but suffice to say that I’m charged with developing and delivering equality initiatives, events and policy across all levels of the university, and with engaging staff and students about all things equality, diversity and inclusion. Plus, I get to work with some amazingly lovely, talented and smart people.
Since September, some of what I’ve been working on includes:
- BSU’s institutional Athena SWAN application: a charter established and managed by the British Equality Challenge Unit in 2005 that recognises and celebrates good practice towards the advancement of gender equality.
- The new Equality Objectives, which include addressing issues around BME representation, student attainment, and developing female leadership at all levels across the university.
- Annual Equality Week, which happened in October and was so much fun. We were lucky enough to welcome some amazing speakers, including Simon Fanshawe OBE (co-founder of Stonewall UK), Omar Khan (Director of the Runnymede Trust) and Chella Ramanan (games journalist at The Guardian, board member of Women in Games and BAME in Games).
- Talking Men’s Mental Health, an event for International Men’s Day. I organised an open conversation about stigma, mental health, and personal experiences. The amazing Panel consisted of: Councillor Will Sandry (Oldfield Ward), David Ryder (Director of Bath Samaritans), Danny Whitebread (BSU Students’ Union VP Activities), Rob Black (BSU Mental Health & Wellbeing Service Manager) and Andrew McGrath (BSU student).
I’ve also used my time so far to help get a couple of staff networks off the ground, including Sonder (staff LGBTQ+ network) and the Women’s Leadership Network. Although it’s early days with these, each group is seeing a great turnout at meetings and there’s already friendships flourishing – it’s great to see.
November 2017: Gender non-conforming and gender-questioning kids discussion: I was invited to talk to a number of trainee teachers about my campaigning work, and to then oversee an informal discussion about the issue of gender-nonconforming and gender-questioning children in early years/primary education. The students were incredibly perceptive and on the mark, and every question they asked was brilliantly astute (yet utterly empathetic) – I was so impressed.
December 2017: Graduation: I totally did it! I didn’t think I could, but I did. Boo yah. MSc (Distinction) Politics and Communications from the LSE.
January 2018: Conversations With Future Educators: Last week my manager and I gave a presentation at the University’s Big Education Day. Our address focused on the importance of incorporating diversity into lessons from a young age, and the need for representation. I spoke about being a queer kid growing up in the wilds of West Wales – yesteryear picture included!
Feb 2018: LGBT History Month: I’m currently in the midst of putting together a programme of events for #LGBTHM 2018. The lineup so far is looking sweeeeeet but more info to come on that…
Feb 2018: The Vision of Empowerment – Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny: Super excited to be attending this lecture at the LSE by the ineffable Professor Sarah Banet-Weiser. Get in touch if you’re thinking of going too and let’s have a glass of wine.
March 2018: International Women’s Day: It’s coming up to that time again! I’m working with the newly-created BSU Women’s Leadership Network and our Dean of Education to make sure there’s plenty happening this March 8th.
Ongoing: Recharge and Resist: If you’re not yet following my latest campaigning project, Recharge and Resist, now’s the time to start!