A photograph of a student asking a question at the Annual Members Meeting 2022

Your Ideas

If you bring the ideas, we can bring the tools to make it happen! The new Ideas platform is a digital decision making platform for campaign ideas and union policy proposals.

Want to make change? Got an Idea?

We've got the tools to make it happen! The Ideas platform is the new interactive way to submit topics for discussion, propose policy, and suggest campaign ideas to improve student life here at Arts.

Idea submissions will be taken to the Student Forums and the Annual Members Meeting

Passed ideas (Arts SU Policy Book):

Passed ideas, either via the Ideas Platform (Your Ideas) or via one of our All-Student Meetings are referred to as SU Policy. This means that it is an objective we must focus on at the SU as mandated by our members (UAL students!). Ideas that are passed will be official SU policy for 3 years.

You can read the full list of previously passed ideas via our SU Policy Book!

Passed ideas policy book (Updated August 2023)

Your Ideas

Welcome to The Ideas! This is the way you can submit topics for discussion, policy, and campaign ideas to improve Arts. Idea submissions will be taken to the Student Forums and the Annual Members Meeting

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  • 5 score
    5 Students

    Start a Gender Affirmation Fund

    • Campaigns
    • Democracy

    What is the current situation? (Background)

    Being Transgender is expensive, and often these expenses are things that cis people don’t have to think twice about, from new and updated legal documents, to gender therapists, to HRT, to clothing and basic everyday items. Having a fund that people with Gender Dysphoria can access to help them with their social transition would be greatly beneficial, as it would alleviate mental distress in many aspects of their lives and allow them to focus on their education. It was mentioned at the NUS Liberation Conference this year that many other Universities have this fund successfully in place, and I see no reason why UAL cannot do the same.

    What will be the impact of your Idea? (Why)

    The Gender Affirmation Fund will make it easier for trans students to access basic necessities that alleviate dysphoria, especially considering the expenses students already have with the current Cost of Living crisis. Wherever the University can help marginalised students it should strive to do so, especially when having this weight lifted off student’s shoulders will allow them to become better involved with the University, as so many studies and reports show evidence of and support for. Having to pick between paying rent or buying food, and alleviating an often debilitating mental distress should not be a reality, but at the moment it is for many.

    The list of proposed items this fund will cover are:

    - Binders,

    - Packers,

    - Make-up,

    - Wigs,

    - Trans tape,

    - Covering travel to Gender Identity Clinic related appointments, or embassies to get legal gender markers/names changed, etc,

    - Clothing, such as gender affirming undergarments like boxers/pants/bras, basics like T-shirts and hoodies, trousers, shoes and etc,

    - Nail related things, such as nail polish remover, press-on nails, nail polish,

    - Gaffs / tucking resources, 

    - Razors,

    - Hair brushes,

    - Perfume/cologne/deodorant,

    - Period products, 

    - Sexual health related items,

    And more that are added as seen fit.

    Requests will then go to a panel who will be in charge of approving these requests. The intention of this panel would be not to determine if the request is "necessary'' enough for the student or not, but to determine if anything the student requests can’t be covered within the given budget, or is not appropriate. For example, the SU cannot cover medical operations, legal documents or luxury items, and therefore anything that would be taking advantage of the fund has the capability to be rejected. For instance, if the student requests a bursary for a £100 makeup palette, the panel can suggest and provide a more reasonable alternative that can be gotten for £10 - £20 instead. Another example is clothing, wherein a student requests bursary money to cover a luxury brand single item, the panel can reject this specific request. I, however, have faith that trans students will not take advantage of this, as they know what they need the most, but the panel should be here for moderation purposes.

    Within this panel it is of utmost importance to have trans people on board, and that everyone on board is given the appropriate training to engage thoughtfully and responsibly with trans issues. This is not a judgement of “how trans” or “how bad the dysphoria is” for the student, but to moderate the items that have been requested.

    What action could Arts SU take to develop your idea? (How)

    The University can start by reaching out to other Universities that have successfully implemented a Gender Affirmation Fund to better find out how it might work logistically for UAL, and speak to trans and non-binary students within the SU on how best to implement this. 

    Essentially, students should be able to apply for up to £150 for this Gender Affirmation Fund through the University hardship / Disability fund when they show evidence of Gender Dysphoria. This should be an examination the University does where the student does not need to show evidence of a “formal/medical diagnosis”, perhaps by a member of the Disability team that is trained for this specific role. Should a requirement for an official piece of paper signed by a licensed gender therapist still be necessary, however, the University should provide the resources for the student to go to someone outside the University, since getting a diagnosis can be very long, difficult, and complex (not to mention stressful and mentally draining) ordeal, especially for those in marginalised communities. Easing this process for students that don't have easy access to basic healthcare like a gender dysphoria diagnosis is important, with BIPOC and Disabled students having the least access.

    Once the student is eligible for this bursary fund, they can request up to £100 - £150 for items outlined above through the Disability team – this should be information that is easily accessible to the student body, as making it inaccessible is counterproductive. This request, perhaps in a form or a spreadsheet format, then goes to a panel to review. Again, as outlined above, this panel does not make a judgement of how much the student “needs” a certain item, but to make sure it fits within the specifics outlined above (this list can be reworked and expanded once this proposal is passed). Again, to reiterate a point from above, it is integral that trans delegates/officers/SU members are on this panel, as cis people and administration/finance officers, although they can be sympathetic, often do not understand the intricacies of the trans experience. I want to avoid situations where the administration/finance team rejects a request under the guise of it being inappropriate, when it was quite literally a basic necessity for the trans student requesting it. 

    It is important to note that this cannot be "means tested" -- your parents could be millionaires, but if they’re transphobic they’ll be unwilling to provide proper care and support for their child to socially and/or medically transition. Additionally, it may not be safe for certain students to ask for money from their parents for trans related things, and so by ‘means testing’ this bursary it could ‘out’ them, something that has the potential to put the student in danger.

    Along with this fund, it is important to ensure a period poverty scheme and make it as gender neutral as possible. Providing free period products in all bathrooms on all campuses, not just the womens, is important. A sanitary station outside the bathrooms has the potential to feel humiliating, so this should be inside the bathrooms where possible.

    Overall, the University has a responsibility of care to its students, and reducing the amount of barriers trans students experience in educational spaces by providing funding to alleviate severe mental distress is something that should be encouraged. 

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