YUSU Elections 2016: LGBTQ Officer(s) – Andrew Macaulay
Details about the candidate:
Andy is a second year Law student in Langwith College. He’s an active member of the LGBTQ network, a member of Law Society, Bar Society and Mooting Society. He volunteers at Open Minds, a mental health charity, and will soon be talking in schools to years 9-11 about mental health. He will be representing the University at an LBGT Moot at the London School of Economics in March and is very excited about this.
What inspired you to run for the role?
I’m passionate about student politics and I believe in making uni life better for all LGBTQ students, whichever letter(s) of the acronym you self-identify with. The LGBTQ Network here needs to be better promoted and integrated with other areas of the university. Not all LGBTQ students are out or feel like they can approach the Network here as it’s quite isolated and I’d like to make students feel comfortable when coming to university. Leaving home, living independently and working on a degree are all incredibly daunting and that’s only made more so if you’re struggling with your sexuality and/or gender identity so I’d like to make students aware of all support available to them to help them feel happy, accepted and free to be who they are. There wasn’t any information for LGBTQ students in my fresher’s pack so I’d like to make sure there’s a list of all network conveners for each sexuality and gender identity, who to contact, how to get support and how to get involved with LGBTQ present in freshers packs so all first year LGBTQ students know what’s available to them.
Why do you think you are the best candidate for the role?
I ran for this role in my first year and as of week 4 this term, my policy of promoting HIV testing beyond just LGBTQ students to help reduce societal stigma surrounding it, has been passed, as the most recent YUSU, university wide email promoted MESMAC’s on campus testing to all students. That’s the level of forward thinking activism I feel is necessary for this role and is what helps drive positive change. I’m a friendly and approachable person, and if elected, I will be officer, friend and spokesperson to all LGBTQ students at the university.
What are your main policies?
Promote the current ‘secret facebook groups’ for gay, trans*, asexual, lesbian, bisexual, queer and questioning students who want a safe space to meet fellow LGBTQ students without the pressure of attending LGBTQ network or social. Get all the college LGBTQ officers to signpost the groups and for the list of conveners and groups to be included in Freshers’ packs and college newsletters.
Twice termly safe sex events, support for sexual assault victims, information about where to get tested and a push for sexually active students to get their Hepatitis B vaccination. Also, free, discreet, on-campus HIV screenings.
Encourage conversation about mental health awareness, run events with charities such as MESMAC and Trans Health.
Campaign against the blood ban for Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) and the difficulties of bloody donation for trans people through discussions and cooperation between liberation networks and all across campus.
Who if anyone are you backing for YUSU President?
I think each candidate has their own appeal. I still haven’t made my decision but I do think they all have positive ideas. Any candidate who could honestly work on better integration with the liberation networks, and a greater promotion of mental health awareness would get my support.