• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Interview with EUSA Trans and Non-Binary Officer Candidate, Robyn Woof

ByDeniz Yalçın

Mar 8, 2022
Trans and Non-Binary Officer Candidate Robyn Woof.

Robyn (she/her) is a Civil Engineering student and she is running to be Edinburgh University Students’ Association’s next Trans and Non-Binary Officer. The Student interviewed Robyn to learn more about her campaign.

Why are you running to be the next Trans and Non-Binary Officer? 

I am running because I love my beautiful trans/enby community, and I am really outraged at how they are being let down by the university. I want to improve the way the University treats us, I want to advocate for individuals when they have issues, I want to run social events for us and allies and I want to reach out to the cis students and educate them. Many of our problems are intersectional and I really look forward to collaborating with the other liberation officers and the sabbatical officers. 

How is campaigning going so far? 

I have really enjoyed campaigning; it is certainly tiring though! It has been great to meet the other candidates for the role I am running for. Although I obviously think I am the best choice, both of my competitors are amazing, strong, inspirational figures and if either of them wins I will support their campaigns 100 per cent. It has also been great to meet so many of the other liberation officer candidates, several of whom I have discussed potential collaborations with already. I am blown away by the range and quality of sabbatical candidates I have met while I have been out campaigning, so many passionate people with great visions for the Students’ Association.

Finally, it has been really rewarding to speak to many cis students. Although there are many knowledgeable allies there are lots of cis people who do not have any knowledge of the challenges trans and non-binary students face at Edinburgh and more widely. Only by educating the cis community and gaining allies will we achieve liberation. Most cis people have never spoken to a trans person, and those who have are far more likely to support trans rights.

What is your most ambitious manifesto point and how are you planning to implement it? 

I am really upset and angry that not only does the university employ a number of academics who are vocal terfs, but some trans students have also been assigned them as personal tutors. Imagine if a trans student was harassed in the toilet and then went to a personal tutor for support who is campaigning against their right to even use the toilet! This is a clear breach of the equalities act; every student should have the same access to a supportive personal tutor and assigning trans students to transphobic personal tutors is not providing equal service. If it is impossible to resolve this with the university then this situation will inevitably result in legal action.  

Do you have any collaboration plans with other liberation officers for Trans and Non-Binary students with intersecting identities? 

Yes! I have had exciting conversations with women, LGBT+ and disabled students’ officer candidates about my campaign to make sure period products are in every accessible and gender-neutral toilet on campus. This is already university policy, but it is not being implemented consistently. This is obviously an intersectional issue; cis women also use gender-neutral toilets, and it is shocking ableism to neglect to provide period products in many of the accessible toilets. Obviously, I will also be lobbying to provide period products more widely, but it would be a good start if the university at least stuck to the policy they have already. Almost all the issues that face trans and non-binary students are intersectional! Black and minority ethnic (BME) members of our community face so many challenges, as a white woman I will take my lead on these from them, and I would work with the BME officer to hold the university and student body to account.  

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

I have two messages, firstly to my own community, many issues and challenges have been brought to me during the campaign which I was unaware of. There are so many problems to deal with! Once I win, I really need you to come to me and let me know everything which is going on so that I can deal with problems beyond the ones I have covered in my manifesto (tinyurl.com/votewoof). 

To the cis community, please do reach out. Only by gaining strong allies in the wider university population will we be able to make progress. I will be putting on events and I will also welcome messages and emails from cis students with questions. The most common problem is not hostility but ignorance! We are all here because we love to learn. 

Make your voice heard! Vote for your EUSA representatives here

Image Courtesy of Robyn Woof