Where to find support as a trans student in Manchester
How to change your name, which GPs are trans-friendly and staying safe
Being trans in the UK is still often difficult but as a trans student in Manchester here are my tips to get the best experience possible.
My biggest piece of advice to trans students joining Manchester is to try to make a family of friends. Lots of trans people, unfortunately, avoid going home at the holidays because their families are unsupportive or unsafe, so having people at uni you can rely on is essential.
Try joining a group at The Proud Trust, attending socials with the LGBT Society or going to the Liberation Events run by the SU.
Whether you’ve known you’re trans for a long time or are just trying out different pronouns, names or presentation, having a group of people around you who will celebrate your journey and make you feel safe makes all the difference.
If you need to become financially independent from your parents to avoid transphobia, the Student Union Advice Service can help you apply for Estranged Student Finance. You can drop in on the ground floor of the Student Union building, or email [email protected]
If successful, this gives you access to a bursary, help with housing guarantors and a staff contact for support.
Changing your name
To change your name on the Manchester University system you need to email a deed poll to [email protected]. You need to specify if you want a change of title (Mx is an option). You can get a free deed poll here.
If you are not able to legally change your name via deed poll yet, you can put a preferred name in your UCAS form (which will then be used on ID).
You can change your University email address here. Professors are all trained to respect pronouns and your preferred name.
The LGBT Foundation offers free talking therapy, safe sex packs (condoms and lube), and STI tests.
Many of the trans-friendly GPs listed in this crowd-sourced spreadsheet are based in Manchester. They are able to prescribe HRT on a bridging prescription while you are on the infamously long GIC waiting list.
They can also refer you to Indigo, a pilot partnership between the NHS and non-profit groups that aims to reduce waiting lists.
Even for non-transition related healthcare, it is worth registering with one of these GPs so that your access to general healthcare is not impeded by discrimination.
Like anywhere else in the UK, being visibly gender non-conforming or trans brings a risk of harassment in public.
I have experienced several incidents of verbal harassment and uncomfortable stares in both toilets in the year I’ve lived here.
I try to use the one I think I will be safest in, though it’s impossible to tell. My trans friends all have similar stories. It is society’s responsibility to change this until everyone can feel safe in public. But here are some tips to trans people to protect yourselves:
-Ask a cis friend to go with you
-Complain to management if needed and remind them that gender reassignment is protected under the 2010 Equality Act
-Go into smaller venues for toilets which will have only one cubicle that’s for men, women and disabled people (Costa, small McDonalds)
-Almost all the bars in Gay Village and the SU building have gender-neutral toilets
-Take self-defence or martial art classes