Lancaster trans student aims to make history

Anna Lee.

Anna Lee.

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A Lancaster University student is set to make history as the first openly trans woman to stand for election for a top national role.

If successful, Anna Lee will become the National Union of Students (NUS) Women’s Officer representing all female students across the UK.

Anna, who describes herself as “a queer trans disabled lesbian woman” recently gained national attention by campaigning for gender-neutral toilets at Lancaster’s students’ union-run nightclub the Sugar House.

She also won the NUS Women’s Campaign of the Year award for setting up the Lancaster University Run Against Domestic Violence and gave evidence at the Parliamentary Trans Enquiry led by Maria Miller MP.

Anna is currently vice-president (welfare & community) of Lancaster University Students’ Union.

She first ran in a student election four years ago and said she was “driven by anger”.

“I was angry; really angry about how badly I had been treated when I came out,” said Anna.

“In my five years in the student movement, I have changed a lot - in fact, some might say it’s been a transformative experience!

“Over these years, I’ve had space to grow and develop my own politics, and my passion has become unstoppable.”

Prior to her current role, Anna was a part-time liberation officer and union councillor.

“I never believed that running to be national women’s officer was a possibility,” she said.

“I felt that I had hit a glass ceiling.

“Now, I find myself in unchartered waters, and some shards of that glass ceiling will undoubtedly hit me.

“I know the Women’s Campaign is ready. I know NUS is ready. I’m not convinced that the rest of society is.

“But - when the transphobic ‘feminists’ come and try to tear me down, I will just fight harder and with the help of amazing activists we will show them, together, that the NUS Women’s Campaign demonstrates a progressive approach to inclusive feminism.

“Mainstream feminism constantly forgets about trans women, let alone a queer trans disabled lesbian woman. But the NUS Women’s Campaign should be fighting for educational, community and social spaces that all women can be part of, not just a few.

“We need to start tackling rape culture at an earlier age and teach people consent in intersectional statutory sex ed.

“We need to build the movement and make sure no one is excluded.”

Anna’s campaign aims include to improve education around statutory sex education including sexual consent, challenging Government cuts that disproportionately impact women and making steps forward in increasing the number of diverse women in leadership roles.

The election will take place at the NUS Conference at The Brighton Centre in Brighton in April.