What it’s like to be trans at Royal Holloway

“The lack of gender neutral toilets on campus hurts non-binary people”


RHUL has a very and present LGBTQ+ community on campus, largely earning the nickname of "Hollogay" because of this. I spoke to Charlotte Edmondson, the LGBT+ Society President here at RHUL, about her experiences of being a trans person at Royal Holloway in the past two years that she has been a student. She shares her thoughts on how the University are supporting members of the trans community on campus, and some areas that they should probably improve on.

1) Gender neutral toilets

"The lack of gender neutral toilets on campus hurts non-binary people: yes, they're accessible but they're not in buildings where lectures happen. Sometimes I get anxious about how I'm perceived, and having more access to gender neutral toilets in key locations would help me feel more comfortable on campus."

2) Lack of guidelines/information for trans students

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"The university has been sitting on drafts of guidelines for trans students for a while now. It took a lot of searching but I did eventually figure out what to do to change my name with the university."

3)The Health Centre

"The health centre has been useful for keeping on top of certain aspects of transitioning, but they have the leeway to do a lot more to help students within NHS guidelines. This is where a lot of people are really working out who they are, and the Health Centre could provide bridging services to trans students to really help them out emotionally and financially."

4) There is an open LGBT+ community and society on campus

"Being the president of the LGBT+ Society has allowed me to campaign for positive change around the university, as well as putting me in a position where I can help others directly."

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"The sabbatical officers have provided very good support for campaigns from a different angle to what the society is capable of."

5) Access to sports clubs and teams

"Access to sport here is good and people are reasonable, I've not had any issues with the Cricket club and that's been a sport I've missed playing. Though I think it could be clearer what guidelines the university uses for access to sport for trans students."

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Steff Milne, the Sports VP on campus, commented on trans access to sport on campus saying:

"One of our core values at the SU is ‘Inclusive’, so all of our clubs focus on this in their activities. Whether that’s in a recreational setting or competitive setting. BUCS has its own set of Trans guidelines which are available on their website and prioritise equality and inclusion within all BUCS Sports. They state that all member institutions should “enable and encourage transgender students' participation in competitive structures”. This is facilitated by the BUCS inclusion board and the BUCS Take a Stand campaign."

6) The amazing Media Arts Department and the support they give

"The Media Arts department at Royal Holloway has been very supportive so far, with lecturers being compassionate and respectful, as well as providing a diverse curriculum for students."