OutSTANDing Stories: Rob Fitzpatrick, UCD

OutSTANDing Stories: Rob Fitzpatrick, UCD

OutSTANDing Stories: Rob Fitzpatrick, UCD

outstanding stories episode 3

17th July 2021

 

 

Listen to the third episode of OutSTANDing Stories on the following platforms:

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The following is the transcription from our new podcast series ‘OutSTANDing Stories’ by Emily Savage + Conor Courtney
 

 

EMILY: [00:00:00] Welcome to the STAND Student podcast, where we dive into important social, political, economic, and environmental issues at home and around the world. STAND is an initiative for third level students and recent graduates across Irelanad, supported by Irish aid. My name is Emily Savage and this episode is all about the experiences of transgender students in universities across Ireland. On this podcast, I’ll be joined by Rob Fitzpatrick, a UCD student and current auditor of the L&H society. So, Rob, if you’re comfortable, can you introduce yourself with your name, your pronouns, and tell us a bit about your college degree and what you’re doing in college?

 

ROB: [00:00:37] So my name is Rob, my pronouns are he/him, and I’m doing a degree in social science, specifically social policy and sociology in UCD.

 

EMILY: [00:00:47] So can you maybe tell me a bit about where you were at with your identity when you started in college, and maybe a bit about how that has changed as you’ve progressed throughout your degree?

 

ROB: [00:00:59] I started my degree in 2019. I’ve just finished second year. When I started out in 2019, I, like, wasn’t out to anybody. My whole situation was that I came in on the first week of college and I knew myself that I was like, trans. I knew that I was a trans man, but I had told like a couple of people I had tried to come out to my parents, but I felt like it had gone really terribly. So I hadn’t like, taken any steps towards transitioning. I still went by my like, old name, I still presented as a woman. And I came to UCD, I think on the first week, I think it was orientation week presenting that way and talking to people that way. I didn’t know, like, how I was going to keep on going to college the way I was going. I didn’t know how I was going to talk to people. I felt like I was completely alone. All of those things that, like, a lot of people feel when they start college, but particularly a lot of trans people.

 

ROB: [00:01:55] And after that week, I didn’t go back to UCD actually for three weeks because I just couldn’t face it, I couldn’t do it. And in that three weeks, I started coming out to people. I think that, like, I went to one Gay Soc meeting or one LGBT Soc meeting during orientation week in UCD and I was like, ‘hmm, this is actually fine, maybe I will go for it’. So I like got a haircut and bought clothes and like took the stick or whatever from my family and decided to just present that way. And ever since then it’s sort of like, accelerated that one step. Actually deciding to do that, allowed me to do things like access health care and access like therapy services and accessing a lot of things that like, otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. And so, throughout the journey of like my degree, I think that like, the support that I’ve got in college and the support that I’ve gotten from my friends in college and just the ability to like see, new people in UCD and stuff has been really instrumental in like, how I’ve progressed with my transition and…

 

EMILY: [00:02:59] Obviously you weren’t out when you started college and came out during your degree, did that change then bringing about issues or opportunities for you within college?

 

ROB: [00:03:09] I think it definitely did, because before I came out I was very involved in like, sports. So I was playing rugby and I was playing like, women’s Gaelic football. And I thought that once I came into college, that was something that I would like, continue doing. And that was probably like, how I would make friends or how I would like, find a social group or something. So I think coming out and presenting as a man made it difficult for me to access those kind of things. But in terms of opportunities and accessibility, I think it also just made me so much more competent. Like I don’t think I would still be in college if I hadn’t come out and if I hadn’t started to like, present as a man or transition or just talk to people as like who I am or whatever the usual cheesy line is. I think that what I lost out on wouldn’t even have existed if I hadn’t come out. So I feel like the opportunity to even like, be college and get to where I am now and make friends is all dependent on the fact that I did that. I think that might be different for everyone, like maybe some people for like, a while, they don’t have the ability to come out. Maybe they’re not as lucky as me in the situation that they’re in or whatever, but for me, definitely it was really important at that time period that I, you know, take that opportunity to do that because for like, a long period of time, like I had dropped out of like two different secondary schools because I had like mental health reasons and I never knew why until I like it suddenly clicked for me or whatever. And then I knew that’s what I have to pursue in order to, like, gain any more opportunity in my life.

 

EMILY: [00:04:37] And so I guess then obviously, you know, you came in thinking that you’d be able to continue in the sports that you were playing and then being unable to do that and getting involved then in societies you already told us about, you know, getting involved in the LGBT society. Can you maybe tell me a bit then about getting involved in the L&H society and how your experience was there?

 

ROB: [00:05:01] Yeah, absolutely. So the L&H is a debating society like it does lots of stuff, it holds house debates every week where we get like, guest speakers in and we send people to competitions. We get guest speakers in, who are really cool, like we’ve gotten like, Imogen Heap. We’ve gotten like, Al Sharpton, and all of these really cool people in. But the main part of the L&H that I think appealed to me was sort of like this weird family aspect, well it’s not weird, but this family aspect thing that it has going on where, like, everybody works very hard for each other because there is so many things that we do in schools competitions. And so when I came into UCD, I knew someone who was on the L&H and they told me to like, come along, and I decided to come along. And at this point, like I had been, I’d missed a good first chunk of college because I had taken a lot of time out in order to, like, re-evaluate whether or not I wanted to continue going to college or whether or not, like, I was just gonna, I don’t know, give up on it because like, I couldn’t handle my first week. I couldn’t handle how I presented and stuff like that until I decided to sort of like, take those first steps. So when I came into college after those three weeks or after that month, I felt very like, ‘oh, no, I’ve missed the boat, I’m never going to make any friends.’ And so when my friend told me to come along to the L&H, I came along and got involved immediately. It was something that I knew I enjoyed because the people there were just all so like, lovely, and such an inclusive atmosphere.

 

ROB: [00:06:29] And it was like a situation where I had never been in a space that wasn’t like an exclusively gay space, that was so welcoming and was so nice and was so understanding. And who didn’t really care about anything. And the like, the people who were in charge when I was in first year were so accepting, they never questioned anything about me really. All they were interested in was like, what I could bring socially or like my personality or whatever. But also they like, accepted people from whatever type of like, social aspect that they brought. So like whether or not you were really loud or quiet or whatever. They were fine with that. And they like really made me feel at home. And if you were having any difficulty, that was something that they really tried to like, talk to you about or help you with. And because they were older students, it made it that little bit easier to adjust to college life, especially when I missed out on so much or I felt like I missed out on so much in those first three weeks. So slipping into that was really good for me and getting the ability to, like, do so many things because there are so many activities that the L&H runs as well. But I think it’s the same for like, any society, like, the L&H is just the one that I happened to end up in. And I’m really thankful for the L&H and everything, obviously still here. But there are like, I think that generally, once you find something that you’re interested in or find people that you click with, college societies are so good for making people feel welcome and making people feel like they belong.

 

EMILY: [00:07:56] In an earlier episode, I spoke to the current auditor of the LGBT society and you know, about how he kind of settled in and stuff like that. And it’s interesting to hear that it isn’t just within one society, that it spreads across others and that there is this air of acceptance among UCD students.

 

ROB: [00:08:17] I definitely think that there is like an air of acceptance among a lot of UCD students. I think obviously there is like, always that caution that you feel or something or that’s like, sort of fear that you feel. I think my general experience with societies has been like, pretty positive. No matter what society I’ve try to get involved in gay soc or LGBT Soc, I call it ‘gay soc’ a lot of the time… force of habit. But like, I was involved in that a lot and that was great, but also not exclusively LGBT societies like, I would work a lot with like Law Soc as well.

 

EMILY: [00:08:52] Moving away from the social aspect. Did being trans shape your own academic trajectory?

 

ROB: [00:08:59] Oh, absolutely. When I was like, picking what course I wanted to do, even when I was, because I did a PLC and when I was choosing what degree to go into, it was always in the back of my mind or I thought anyway that I would be like incredibly unemployable because I’m trans. So I was like, I have to go into something in which they value that diversity rather than something that I actually might want to do. Or I thought I might have to go into something where I can help other people to give back, because I don’t want anyone to feel like I fell for the past. And so that really shaped like what I chose to do with my degree. And that’s why I chose like, social policy with the aim of becoming a social worker so I could help people who are in similar positions. And even when I came into college, I still was sort of in that mindset that, you know, I’m not going to be able to succeed in like any of the careers that I actually want to succeed in, because they’re made for like white straight men, cis men, who like, have all of these connections and who are good at talking, can like, network with anyone, and I never saw myself as the kind of person. So I never really thought that, like, I could enter into any of those any professions, like the legal profession or into like, business, or into politics even or anything.

 

ROB: [00:10:21] Not necessarily that I want to do any of them but… I never thought that was even a possibility until sort of, again, with the L&H and speaking to past memories and stuff like that were there like, you can literally do whatever you want, we’ll support you and just sort of the air that you get when you’re surrounded by people who do support you, that you can actually go and achieve those things. So I think that, like throughout my academic journey, I’m always interested in my course. And I love learning about the things that I’m learning about, but I think that I’ve changed my goals since I got into college rather than sort of trying to settle for something that I think I’m supposed to do or think that I should do because of my identity, or I think I should help people because like, I do want to help people, obviously. But I think that it’s also a bit like having your own goals and having whatever you want to do and like making sure that you’re limiting yourself because of what you think is expected of you or what you think you can achieve because of being trans or because of being gay or any of those issues… issues? They’re not issues.

 

EMILY: [00:11:20] You have that support even, you know, academically and you know, professionally from the L&H, because it’s so you know, it’s so important to have that kind of support behind you. And I wonder what kind of supports have you had available to you from the college itself, academically or you know, even personally? And has that improved or changed over the last two years that you’ve been in UCD?

 

ROB: [00:11:46] I would say that I haven’t had any supports that are necessarily different from any other student. Student counseling services – they were like, good, and they got to me quickly based on the fact that I was talking to a student adviser about it. I will say that like, the student advisors in UCD are very good, they’re kind of like the people who will, like, sign off on you asking for an extension or something. And they always, for me anyway, Ciara Maloney in the Social Science Department, will always like, listen to you and always sort of help you out, which I think is really good because a lot of the time when I present the reasons for why I’m asking for an extension or something like on an essay, it sounds like really minimal, for someone who wouldn’t understand but like, it’s nice that they will take you seriously. There is like issues that I have faced in the past year – online harassment, you might call it, where people were targeting me online based on my position and the L&H and just saying like, transphobic things to me. And that was something that I was like, kind of disappointed with the university about their response to. I think there’s definitely room for improvement. But I think, I don’t think that’s particularly related to, like, me being trans. I think that’s just like general welfare policies in general for students.

 

EMILY: [00:13:09] Yeah, like I think that’s something really important that, you know, even in the general sense to, you know, the university needs to have ways to protect students as far as possible.

 

ROB: [00:13:21] Because UCD is such a large university, it can feel sometimes very anonymous if you don’t have other support. So like I said, like, I’m lucky that I fell into a position where I’m in a society, and that is where I’ve made like a lot of very good friends who I could rely on. But if you aren’t able to do that, I think there should be more accessibility for people like I think that student visas are brilliant and like a lot of the people within UCD are brilliant but there should be more connection between the university and their students if people are having issues. Because I know that, like, a lot of people feel that way, particularly when they go into, like, a massive course, they don’t know anybody, that kind of thing.

 

EMILY: [00:14:04] And then, I guess kind of comes to my last question, really, which is: if you could be able to give any bit of advice to trans students who are now starting their degree or those who are already in their degree the way you were and only coming out as trans now, what would it be?

 

ROB: [00:14:25] I suppose try and like, foster connections with people that you like, know that you can rely on or know that will support you. And that’s difficult sometimes because you don’t necessarily know who will support you. But I think that within most colleges, there is either going to be an LGBT society or a gay-straight alliance or even, most debating societies are very gay. Like, most people in most debating societies that I have ever interacted with, because I’ve interacted with societies like across Ireland, in Trinity, Maynooth, but also in England, and nearly all of them are gay. Maybe you should get involved in debating. [Laughing] I know, but like honestly finding an institution or like a society or something within a university that, like, has the mandate to help or have a mandate to serve their students will always allow you to at least talk to people, because I think when it feels so lonely coming into college, when you aren’t able to express yourself, where you don’t feel like you can talk to your family, it’s really important to have sort of like a support network that you can go and just be yourself to, even if you can’t, like, put everything on them, because I wouldn’t recommend doing that either. But even if it’s just people that you can, like, hang out with in this environment who will only ever have known you as that person. I think that’s really valuable. I was talking to one of the people who were, like, in charge of the L&H. She was the vice auditor when I was in first year. And she was like, ‘I didn’t even know you were trans until like the end of the year.’ And I was like, ‘that’s crazy.’ Like, I literally had just cut my hair and come in to be part of the L&H. And she was just like, ‘yeah, man.’ I think that’s really valuable. That was really cool for me because, to hear that. But also it was cool that, like, she found out after and was like, ‘that’s funny, lol.’

 

EMILY: [00:16:26] Thank you for, you know, for giving us that bit of advice. You know, it’s really been interesting. This is the third episode that we’ve done. Each one has had like a bit of advice that almost builds on each other. You know, about joining the LGBT society, getting involved in your SU and getting involved in debating societies who you yourself have said tend to be so diverse and accepting. This has become a debating society, pro-debating society podcast now, I guess.

 

ROB: [00:16:59] Oh, yeah, absolutely.

 

EMILY: [00:17:02] [Laughing] But I think this is going to really help students who are, you know, already in their degree or coming into their degree and maybe they’re only coming out or even those who have been out for years and maybe now with everything going on in the world, need that extra bit of support and don’t quite know where to go for it.

 

ROB: [00:17:22] Yeah, because I think that particularly when you get involved in something like my society or like any society. And there’s so many opportunities that open up for you as soon as you go. Whether those opportunities be making new friends or finding connections with people who are also trans or even being able to, like, go abroad to compete in something, because a lot of the time for me, I felt like I would never, ever play sport again or whatever. And debating isn’t a sport, but it’s still competitive and it’s still like, fun to get your competitive kicks out of, and like, there’s so many opportunities with that, there’s so many opportunities with like, dancing, or like drama, or like band, or whatever. There’s so many cool things that you can do that don’t have to be one particular thing, and those doors are always gonna to be open to you. And if they’re not, in your university, then there’s always somewhere else you can go to. I would just say, like never give up on finding your group of friends or finding, like, what makes you passionate about whatever.

 

EMILY: [00:18:29] Thank you for joining me for this. Thank you to everyone for listening. It’s been really, really great to speak to you and to hear about all this and to hear about your experiences and your advice. And, you know, it is so vastly different to the other episodes that we’ve done, and it’s really interesting to gain that different perspective. So I’m Emily Savage. Thank you, Rob, for joining me today. I really hope we’ll be able to do some more of these.

 

 

 

 

 

Featured photo created using Canva

This podcast was supported and produced by: STAND Diversity + Inclusion Editor Conor & Programme Assistant Alex

 

 

Interview with Sustainable Radio

Interview with Sustainable Radio

Interview with Sustainable Radio (Dublin South FM 93.9)

OutSTANDing Stories Episode 2

Laura Kelly – Sustainable Radio (Dublin South FM)

14th July 2021

 

 

Listen to our interview with Laura Kelly from Sustainable Radio on the following platforms:

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SoundCloud

In this episode Laura Kelly from Sustainable Radio (Dublin South FM 93.9) interviews two guests. The first is Ken from the source bulk foods in Rathmines. They talk about how buying in bulk will become the new norm, if the EU is doing enough to ensure we have a plastic-free future and their global donation of 45,000 to Support Shepard’s. Then, Laura interviews our Marketing Coordinator, Madeline, to discuss our organisation and our campaigns. We talk about the pressure young people have to be the catalyst of climate action, the #ConsciousConsumption campaign and how we can get involved to bring about change.

 
 
 
You can learn more about the Dublin South FM here.
To take the pledge and read up about our #ConsciousConsumption campaign visit 10000students.ie

 

 

 

This podcast was hosted by Laura Kelly from Sustainable Radio

 

 

OutSTANDing Stories: Robert Brennan, TU Dublin

OutSTANDing Stories: Robert Brennan, TU Dublin

OutSTANDing Stories: Robert Brennan, TU Dublin

OutSTANDing Stories Episode 2

6th June 2021

 

 

Listen to the second episode of OutSTANDing Stories on the following platforms:

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Spotify

Google Podcasts

Anchor

Castbox

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Overcast

Radio Republic

 

 
 
The following is the transcription from our new podcast series ‘OutSTANDing Stories’ by Emily Savage + Conor Courtney
 

 

Emily: [00:00:03.50] Welcome to the STAND student podcast, where we dive into important social, political, economic and environmental issues at home and around the world. STAND is an initiative for third level students and recent graduates across Ireland supported by Irish Aid. My name is Emily Savage and this episode is all about the experiences of transgender students in universities across Ireland. On this podcast we’ll be joined by Robert Brennan, a student from TU Dublin. So, Robert, if you’re comfortable, can you introduce yourself with your name and pronouns and your college degree?

 

Robert: [00:00:37.53] Yeah, sure, my name is Robert, my pronouns are he/they, I’m a non-binary trans man and I am doing a general science degree in TU Dublin. My degree actually changes next year, so I find out in September what my actual degree is.

 

Emily: [00:00:56.43] It’s always fun.

 

Robert: [00:00:57.60] Yeah, a good old general year where they just kinda put it in a lucky dip and you see what you get.

 

Emily: [00:01:04.89] So you being a college student, can you kind of tell me a bit about where you were at with your identity when you were starting college and how did that change as you progressed throughout your degree?

 

Robert: [00:01:17.07] So by the time I started college, I was already like out, I had all the legal work done. I was very comfortable myself. So when I started college in first year, so when I started college like I was already in a point in my transition that I was like, you know, here I am. I’m trans. Hello. So I was openly trans throughout the entire year and my identity hasn’t really changed over my first year. So I’ve been doing college from nearly entirely from my bedroom. So it’s, it’s been a wild time to say the least.

 

Emily: [00:01:57.30] Obviously then you’ve been out in college, even if also that did end up being through online, have you find that this has brought about any issues or has it maybe given opportunities throughout your college life?

 

Robert: [00:02:10.20] And I joined my college’s LGBTQ society within a couple of weeks I ended up being their trans rep so it kind of gave me a lot of opportunities. But also, like with lecturers. So we use an online, like virtual classroom called Bongo and with Bongo most people don’t turn their mics on or they don’t have the cameras on so we use a chat box. Whenever I do have to turn my mic on for something, some of the lectures always be a bit taken aback by my voice because I don’t exactly have the most deepest voice in the world. So they’d be taken aback and be like this is Robert right? I’d be like, yeah, yeah, this is Robert. So but that was mainly the only issue that’s come up. I did, I did go into campus a couple times for lab work. And it was, I didn’t have any issues then, but, yeah, it was quite strange to have to confirm my identity to my lecturer.

 

Emily: [00:03:18.73] And so has that, you know, having to affirm your identity and, you know, kind of defend yourself in that way. Has that led to any differing or is it helped you to shape your academic trajectory? Has it made you want to change what you’re doing or has it given you a new lease to what you are doing and to kind of change things?

 

Robert: [00:03:42.37] My college, it’s fairly like trans accepting. I kind of want to do more to so that like what I get in-person things will change, and I expect that I might be misgendered a bit more because like it’s not just me in a chat box 90 percent of the time it’s going to be in face-to-face settings looking like this, me in my free testosterone self just, you know, walking around campus, you know, I expect I’ll be misgendered a lot by lecturers, especially when we’re like, especially when the masks are off because the mask kind of makes me look more androgynous than I thought I would without. So. So I expect that by the time I’m on campus I’ll be experiencing this more kinda makes me want to fight more. So like I joined the student counsellors in my college’s SU, and I actually a couple of days ago, I was awarded best fresher I didn’t think they had many freshers to choose from who were this active.

 

Emily: [00:04:49.21] Yeah, well, congratulations on that.

 

Robert: [00:04:52.10] Thank you.

 

Emily: [00:04:53.92] And I guess that kind of brings around like a really important and interesting conversation at the moment of, I know you haven’t really been on campus, but do you find that there is a difference about the way you are perceived and your identity is perceived based on having been on campus and compared to when you are doing classes online?

 

Robert: [00:05:18.01] Yeah, so like when I’m on campus, people don’t see the full me, like I don’t hide my queerness whatsoever. Like I have several articles of clothing that are just straight up rainbows. I just like I wear them and you know, people are like you could obviously tell I’m queer, it’s channelling my gender which is the difficult part. I kinda love that, kinda the people who are like they’re queer but who are what are they? I kind of love that for me, but like, yeah, I’ve only interacted with a couple lecturers and with a couple classmates and classmates have been grand. But the lecture obviously, the lectures we had, when we’re doing our labs were mostly not the ones we were having for our online lectures. They are just ones who are running the labs. So I feel like my lectures who haven’t seen me are going to be in for a bit of a shock, especially for the ones that have never had mics on. I’ve only turned my mic on a couple times, probably less than five.

 

Emily: [00:06:28.90] I think that kind of brings that around the question of what kind of support do you think lecturers need to give to their trans students and what do you think that lecturers and tutors can do to support their students to make things easier for them in the classroom and for in terms of submitting assignments, all that kind of stuff?

 

Robert: [00:06:54.67] Yeah, I feel like I’m coming to this from a privileged perspective because I’ve never had to worry about my name. Like, nobody in my college really knows my dead name. That’s fine. That’s great. But I know for a lot of trans people that isn’t the case. I think lectures need to put a lot of effort into people’s names and pronouns like pronouns are an issue because I sound like this and it’s not exactly like my voice is higher than the Burj Khalifa, that kind of thing. So like, you know, try to make sure that you don’t put out assumption of the students like that, assumption of gender on the students, and making sure that you put a conscious effort into making sure you’re addressing your students correctly. And when it comes to being trans, you’re open to a lot of hate. I’d recommend that lecturers listen to trans people, they might have a difficult time and to explain that difficult time and possibly have the empathy to give extensions, because I know that, like, I’ll experience more hate incidents once I’m on campus because before this pandemic I’d be out in town often and I’d be harassed often. When I get back on campus I’m going to be in town often and I have a feeling that that trend is going to continue with harassment and that could be a bit overwhelming at times. I will be requesting assignments extensions at some point because I’ll be dealing with all of that. So I just hope they’re empathetic that it’s not just someone shouting something at you on the street. It kind of it like hurts deeper than that.

 

Emily: [00:08:46.60] What sort of supports, if any, have been available to you from the college to help you with issues like this or to help, you know, maybe students who are coming in who aren’t sure about their identity yet?

 

Robert: [00:08:58.09] So our college offers free counselling service and I’ll avail of that. It has been absolutely brilliant. The counsellors are just so nice. It’s all it’s always a joy to go on to call with them and speak to me. Even when you’re going through some pretty serious stuff, I’m always looking forward to it, which is like really, really nice. I know that the SU is there to help anybody and the Welfare  and Equalities Officer. They’re always there to help anybody who has any issues. And I feel like there is strong supports in my college. It’s just making sure that the lecturers understand because the lecturers are on the ones that you interact with every day or every couple of days, every week, you know, so making sure that they understand the gravity of the situation.

 

Emily: [00:09:52.96] And so what extra supports do you think colleges should be able to provide for their students in terms of maybe support both for the students and information to be given to lecturers in order for them to support the students?

 

Robert: [00:10:07.69] Students at colleges should do a mandatory trans one-on-one with their professors. I don’t know if my college does not or doesn’t, but it would be useful anyway. I think my SU are setting up a trans fund so that like trans people who are in financial difficulty can request money from the fund in order to support themselves, which is very good because it’s expensive to be trans. It is so expensive to be trans and even more expensive to be trans and a student, a broke college student. So I’m really glad that this is something that’s going to be happening because it just takes that financial burden of transition off of students. It’s mainly for social transition and for like garments and stuff like that, not for like medical transition. But even then, it still takes off a huge burden.

 

Emily: [00:11:05.38] It’s really interesting, actually, to hear you talking about the trans fund, because in the last episode of this podcast, I spoke to Jayson Pope from UCD, he also spoke about how he’s been working with the SU in UCD so that they can make a trans fund as well.

 

Robert: [00:11:21.19] Yeah, I also know that DCU are doing a trans fund and I think it’s absolutely great that SU’s across the country are like going in and saying that we need to support our trans people, not just superficially, we need to support them financially. And I think that is absolutely amazing.

 

Emily: [00:11:42.07] Yeah, it really is. It’s really great to see so many student unions coming forward and putting so much support into their trans students, valuing them as much cis students and making sure that everyone can be living a comfortable college life and be able to be themselves without fear of how they are trying to portray themselves, without having to put any kind of financial burden that other students wouldn’t have to face.

 

Robert: [00:12:10.69] It could be small increments of financial burdens, but adding up it, it just it like piles on top of you. Like, I owned a couple binders, some of them are second-hand, some of them I bought myself for like forty quid each. Like, that’s expensive and I’ve got about five of them. That’s like I should, I should be able to do maths. This is the part of my degree. But like it, I think it’s nearly two hundred euros worth of binders that break down in about six months. You know, I’ll have to constantly be replacing them. And it’s, it’s so much money.

 

Emily: [00:12:46.24] It’s a lot for students to be trying to put out there when, you know, trying to pay for your degree and your living expenses. And I think to have that extra bit of support from the SU so that that’s one last thing you’re worrying about, but something that’s equally as important as paying for your degree or your living expenses.

 

Robert: [00:13:07.90] Yeah. Like, your transition can cost more than your degree, and I think that’s wild, that’s mad, and like degrees in this country are so expensive already. So I’m like, oh my God, I’m really glad that SU’s are taking the initiative to support their trans students. So it’s going to make a huge difference.

 

Emily: [00:13:31.09] It’s really, really great to see. And I hope that in the next while we’ll see more SU’s following in the same thing. I think then kind of after hearing a lot about your experiences through college, I’d kind of like to ask then if you could give any bit of advice to trans students who are maybe now starting their degree or those who are already in their degree and just now coming out as trans. What would that piece of advice be?

 

Robert: [00:13:59.20] Join your college’s LGBT society. If your college has one, contact your, your student union’s equalities officer. If you if they have one, contact your counselling service if you have one and just be authentically you, because, you know, it just makes it more difficult when you’re not being authentically yourself. Everything is just so much more difficult when you have the burden of trying to hide yourself, if you can. I would recommend getting as much people on your side as possible because they are going to stick by you, especially your college’s LGBTQ society. Likelihood is they already have trans students in there who are also willing to help you through your transition through college, maybe contact people from other colleges like there’s TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland). There’s BeLonG To. There’s all these organizations who are out there to help you get to because many people on your side who are willing to advocate for you, that is very important because you don’t want to have to just advocate for yourself. I remember when I was in secondary school for a lot of time, I was advocating for myself and I was absolutely draining and I don’t wish that on anybody.

 

Emily: [00:15:23.54] Thank you for agreeing to come here and speak to me about all this. You know, as I was saying with Jay in the last one, I think doing these interviews and hearing this advice and the experiences and all the supports that are out there, I think it’s really going to help students who are just coming out now and their degrees or the students who are coming into college and they don’t know what to expect. And having this advice is going to be really, really helpful for them. And I think it’s equally going to be helpful for SU’s and LGBT societies. And as you said, lecturers that they have this advice and they can know how to help their students. Thank you to everyone for listening. I’m Emily Savage, and I’d like to thank Robert for joining me today. It’s been really, really great to get to speak to you and to hear about your experiences and hear your advice for our next episode. I’ll be joined by Rob Fitzpatrick, auditor of UCD Literary and Historic Society. I make sure to find out more about the work of STAND and check out STAND.ie.

 

 

 

 

Featured photo created using Canva

This podcast was supported and produced by: STAND Diversity + Inclusion Editor Conor + Programme Assistant Rachel

 

 

COVID-19, Mental Health and the ‘Blame Game’

COVID-19, Mental Health and the ‘Blame Game’

PODCASTS

COVID-19, Mental Health and the ‘Blame Game’

"no one is illegal"

12th May 2021

 

 

Listen to the second episode of Shauna + Orla’s series ‘COVID-19, Mental Health and the ‘Blame Game’ on the following platforms:

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The following is the transcription from Shauna + Orla’s episode “COVID-19, Mental Health and the ‘Blame Game'”
 

 

Shauna: [00:00:01] Welcome to the STAND Student podcast, where we dive into important social, political, economic and environmental issues at home and around the world.

 

Orla: [00:00:08] STAND is an initiative for third level students and recent graduates across Ireland supported by Irish Aid.

 

Shauna: [00:00:15] My name is Shauna.

 

Orla: [00:00:16] And my name is Orla. And this episode is all about students’ mental health.

 

Shauna: [00:00:22] So, yes, today we’re going to talk about the mental health specifically, I guess, students, because that’s where we’re coming from. And also we thought we would start off by talking about students in the pandemic.

 

Orla: [00:00:35] But I definitely, I definitely feel like we’ve drawn the short straw in this whole situation. And I don’t know if that’s me feeling sorry for myself or

 

Shauna: [00:00:44] Victimizing yourself or is it actually just the, I mean, I think I saw a title so long ago now what it was saying, describing students as the scapegoats of the Irish pandemic. And that has to be said, students definitely have involved themselves in a lot of things, you know, a lot of things that maybe didn’t help out the rest of the country, but so did a lot of people. So did a lot of age groups. So did a lot of different types of people.

 

Orla: [00:01:15] Yeah, definitely. Like even I seen, when I was working, we have kind of a work Facebook thing and it basically was praising us all for getting the numbers down and how well we are doing at work. And it came up and it just made me so angry because it was like the rise in cases that came in September when all the college students moved back to Galway. And I was like, I literally don’t leave my house.

 

Shauna: [00:01:42] Yeah, that’s, that’s another thing. It’s they’ve forgotten, in all the narrative, all this they’ve forgotten about the students that have stuck by it and the young people, many of those students, just the young people in general that have stuck by it, but yet are still blamed.

 

Orla: [00:01:57] At the start, there was this whole rhetoric of togetherness. And as we’ve progressed within the pandemic, you know, stories of students have definitely pinned students against the rest of the country. And they always said that they couldn’t solve this unless there was unity.

 

Shauna: [00:02:12] I mean, I can understand maybe in journalism and when newspapers are looking for the catchy new thing, you know, in every crisis, someone has to be blamed and someone always is. But I think I remember actually when we had an incident with students and I remember the few days after that going to Tesco or whatever I was doing. And people would look at you like you were there, like they had pictures of you. Me. Yeah. Knew that I would. I avoided it at all costs again. Because you were a student, I don’t know, looking like a student. People immediately thought you were causing the trouble or whatever it was. And then all the blaming and shaming of students, they never, ever mention that students are the ones packing your bags with the like Tesco students are the ones, you know, working. And what these students are the ones doing all these jobs that run throughout the pandemic. When everything else was closed, these businesses were open and no one was saying, oh, well, don’t tell the young people there. No one was ever getting credit there.

 

Orla : [00:03:23] And I definitely think it’s negatively impacted students mental health. I think we’ve had a hard enough year where you are in the prime of your life and you’re so used to seeing so many people and all got taken away. And then we spend three grand on college where we’re sitting in our bedrooms and which we’re paying six hundred euros a month for. I definitely think that the whole scapegoating thing is trying to justify the whole spread of the pandemic, but it’s going to create a different health issue in the long run if needed.

 

Shauna: [00:03:58] Yeah, I think the, you know, the lockdown’s are necessary. I understand. But going in and out of lockdown, I think it’s been like the most detrimental thing to people’s mental health. I think that it’s just like wrecked people’s, like hope, because every time we’ve come out of it, we just go right back in and everyone forgets, especially third level, it’s like college students. People have forgotten about them, like people have just decided, not mentioned once, not mentioned once on the news, unless doing something bad.

 

Orla: [00:04:24]  Exactly. And there’s been no help. There was no event leading up to college. We didn’t know whether we should move in or not. You know, we all did think that we would get some on campus time.

 

Shauna: [00:04:39] Yeah. What our college told us, it was a blended learning and told us the best thing you can do is probably just move down. And obviously that’s not the case because we have not been on campus since 2019. Obviously we had a different story, but we haven’t been on campus all year for our final year. So the promises made there was another mistake.

 

Orla: [00:05:02] I definitely think that it’s going to take a lot to build up the trust again between students and the management of higher education institutes. That’s definitely something that needs to centre their approach. There definitely needs to be reform of phase because there is no way that parents or students can continue to pay three thousand euro for people to live in their box and roll in and out of their bed onto their desk.

 

Shauna: [00:05:29] The blaming of like it’s not even just been the blaming on students on the pandemic. I was saying it earlier. There was an article about blaming students for being on the pandemic payment because they had lost their jobs. And that was somehow.

 

Orlan: [00:05:47] As if we live on thin air. I think that there is this mindset that parents pay for everything, but in reality, that’s a very, you know, a reality for a very few.

 

Shauna: [00:05:58] Yeah. And also but it’s like if they lost their job like everyone else, why are they, again, just taken out of the group and just shown as students doing this? It’s students that are racking up all this is students that are going to make us go into a new recession, are going to break the economy because they’re on these payments the whole time when it’s like students are not the only ones on the payments. And they if they have a right to be, if the system allows them to get the payments, I don’t understand these articles that are just deciding to like, take students out of a group. And again, it makes people feel so bad that they’re on the payment. It makes people feel so bad about them. You know, in the article, it says they’re just sitting around doing nothing when, you know, obviously a lot of them are full time college students and also that they’re not being productive enough in the pandemic. Like we can’t be productive enough to be staying at home, are meant to be trying to look out for people. Like it’s almost like what do they, what do you want them to do? Because I don’t think they’re realizing these articles that are coming out. I don’t think they’re realizing how harmful they are to students’ mental health. Students’ mental health is at an all time low. And obviously we’re not trying to exclude other forms of people. I’m not saying that only students have mental health problems. I’m not saying that only young people. But from, you know, the perspective of those who are students now, that’s all that we can talk about and that’s all that we know. And they are people who are suffering a lot with their mental health. And there is no consideration in publishing these articles, how impactful they are to the mental health of students.

 

Orla: [00:07:40] Yeah, it’s definitely, I think, affecting students, particularly young adults. Obviously, there’s mature students as well, but young adults have the responsibilities of adults, but treating them as children, you can’t win that way. We don’t know where we stand, what we’re meant to be doing.

 

Shauna: [00:07:56] Obviously, mental health has been such a big, big fight in Ireland, like I think only now and I don’t even know now are we even comfortable by talking about it, because I don’t think we are, especially the older generations. I don’t think as an open conversation as it should be, the pandemic has been so isolating and so it’s not going to positively, you know, like I was saying this, there’s two, there was two types of people going in and coming out of the pandemic. There’s people that took the time who realized, oh, maybe I should work on myself, improve my mental health, all this on the other. And then there’s people where it got worse for them. And then there’s people who have never had mental health issues at all. But going into such isolating circumstances, they’ve you know, they’ve now developed them or they’ve now, it’s now triggered something in them. One of the biggest ones you kind of said it was that integrating students back into campus, obviously, but also like the social anxiety that is going to come from the pandemic, I think is going to be massive. You know, like I’ve forgotten how to socialize. I just don’t know how to like, I don’t know how to talk to someone new. First year going into college and a big, big thing of them not experiencing college at all and went back online.

 

Orla: [00:09:21] If it goes online next year, they’re two years out there. Three years. Yeah. They’re not going to have the same college experience. And I definitely feel as though, you know, I went into college just because everyone else was and I didn’t know what to do. But through engaging with other people with the same interests me, you know, through society, through volunteering, through going out and meeting people. Yeah, I’ve really developed a sense of myself and who I want to be and who I am. And I think like, that’s impossible to do from your bedroom. Online college just isn’t about the learning, doing the readings or studying this is definitely a lot more. And they haven’t got any of that experience. So I can’t imagine how hard it is for them.

 

Shauna: [00:10:02] Yeah, I think that I could not imagine me going into first year when I was eighteen, not being able to see anyone because, you know, I didn’t know anyone when I moved down here. And you’re just in a class on Zoom and you have to try to make friends on Zoom like they don’t. What they’ve missed out on, if that makes sense, they don’t know that there is a whole new side to college that is so good for them that

 

Orla: [00:10:30] It’s so important.

 

Shauna: [00:10:32] It’s so important. It makes, I think, first year. I mean, I think of, you know, and we are different people.

 

Orla: [00:10:38] We are. And I don’t think it’s because of the things I learned in classrooms or tutorials or labs. It’s definitely things I figured I as I’ve lived on my own, as I’ve separated from my parents and things like that,

 

Shauna: [00:10:50] All of it, you know, kind of makes you and shapes you so that you can, I guess, handle the world when you leave college. You know, like you have a bit of a backbone. You have a bit of common sense.

 

Orla: [00:11:03] I also recently, just today, seen an article going around saying basically saying that marijuana was the biggest threat to young people’s mental health. Number one, I think everyone’s living with their parents at the minute, like there’s a, there’s a housing crisis. How can you move? I know there’s, like it’s impossible for young people to move out and they’re living with their parents, you know, and not to mention the fact that we have the imminent danger of climate change. We’re living through a global pandemic. Yeah, and we are bombarded by social media. But it’s marijuana. Yeah. It’s like your six month waiting on a psychologist appointment. Any time you get sent to these mental health charities, which should not be charities, they should they…

 

Shauna: [00:11:56] Should not be.

 

Orla: [00:11:57] Mental health services. And you get sent to them and they have certain religious ethos behind them

 

Shauna: [00:12:04] Or a certain number of sessions. Again, you know, and then where do you go?

 

Orla: [00:12:09] You get six sessions within, like, the university. And I know that there’s a lot of students to deal with, but you get six sessions. You know, these are the student services that you’re paying with your three and a half grand and then on top with your shit and then you get like six sessions and then you’re sent away. And if that can help what not, it might help some people. And I’m sure it does. And it’s not the fault of any one of the brilliant people that work in the student counseling service. Yeah, but it’s just that I think mental health is definitely ignored anyway. And without having the services, there is just going to get increasingly worse and it’s just going to be passed down through generation to generation because or people know how to deal with their mental health, know how to practice mindfulness, something that you can let your anger out on from a young age, not when it becomes a problem. It shouldn’t be a cure. It should just be a practice that’s embedded in your life.

 

Shauna: [00:13:08] Learn about healthy eating in school. Food dudes come along if you choose healthy eating. We learn about fitness in school PE. And yet it’s always, always. There’s just this absence of like, teaching yourself how to take care of your mind, like how to take care when you feel things just aren’t right, you know.

 

Orla: [00:13:28] Yeah, definitely. And there always has to be like, this bigger problem, this bigger underlying problem, why you have mental health issues when sometimes you actually just don’t know how to deal with college stress.

 

Shauna: [00:13:43] Yeah, yeah. A global pandemic would do it. And I think also like there’s such a, I guess, misunderstanding with mental health that people think it’s either triggered by trauma or you are going through a stressful time. But like it it is literally physically a chemical imbalance. And sometimes nothing can happen in your life and you just develop a mental you just like it, you just have it. And there’s not anything that could have stopped it. And there’s nothing that, you know, like there’s so it’s just a misunderstanding that people only get it if they have a bad life, which I just think we should be over this by now. We should have known and should know this.

 

Orla: [00:14:27] I do wonder, has it, like, changed, you know, anywhere else? Is it that we’re just so far behind or is the same story everywhere?

 

Shauna: [00:14:36] Yeah, and I hope that in this, you know, like there’s a lot of talk now of we’re getting students back on campus. We’re making sure that the Leaving Cert is next year is all going to be sorted. You know, we’re making sure all these students are going to be well taken care of by next September. I hope that in those plans there is a big plan for the amount of issues that are going to come out of the pandemic and the amount of people that are going to need help. And they’re going to be struggling because they’re already struggling. But people are having them. Wait, wait a bit. It’s still a pandemic. Wait a bit. A lot of people can’t wait.

 

Orla: [00:15:12] You know, I suppose with all the negativity that this podcast has brought to all of our listeners is definitely. Important thing, I think it’s important to say that, you know, there are brighter times ahead if you are struggling with your mental health. There are people out there that can help, you know, reach out to your friends, make sure that they’re doing OK. Having a bad day doesn’t mean that you’re you know, you’re not doing well and that healing is not linear.

 

Shauna: [00:15:45] And you don’t let these articles or these opinions ruin what you’ve got going on.

 

Orla: [00:15:53] You know, don’t know. And if you are struggling, do not forget to text 50808 for any help that you may need.

Shauna: [00:16:04] Thanks, everyone, so much for listening. This has been Shaunaand Orla, and if you want to find out more about the work of STAND, check STAND.ie.

 

 

 

Featured photo created using Canva

 

 

OutSTANDing Stories: Jayson Pope, UCD LBGTQ+ Soc

OutSTANDing Stories: Jayson Pope, UCD LBGTQ+ Soc

PODCASTS

OutSTANDing Stories: Jayson Pope, UCD LBGTQ+ Soc

"no one is illegal"

6th May 2021

 

 

Listen to the first episode of OutSTANDing Stories on the following platforms:

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Google Podcasts

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Overcast

Radio Republic

 

 
 
The following is the transcription from our new podcast series ‘OutSTANDing Stories’ by Emily Savage + Conor Courtney
 

 

Emily Savage: [00:00:00] Welcome to the STAND student podcast, where we dive into important social, political, economic and environmental issues at home and around the world. STAND is an initiative for third level students and recent graduates across Ireland supported by Irish Aid. My name is Emily Savage, and this episode is all about the experiences of transgender students in universities across Ireland. On this podcast we will be joined by Jayson Pope, Auditor Elect of UCD LGBTQ+ Society, and BeLonG To volunteer.

 

Emily Savage: [00:00:30] Jayson, if you’re comfortable, can you introduce yourself with your name and pronouns and your college degree?

 

Jayson Pope: [00:00:36] Yeah, my name is Jayson. My pronouns are him/he and I am a final year social policy and sociology student majoring in social work and social professions.

 

Emily Savage: [00:00:47] Can you tell me a bit about where you are at with your identity?

 

Jayson Pope: [00:00:51] Yeah. So I came out of quite a number of years before I started college. I came out as trans when I was 14. I was still in second year in secondary school, so there was quite a number of years there. I was in the process of transitioning and kind of exploring my identity in myself before I even started college. By the time I had started college, I was already like out to everybody in my life. Everybody knew I was trans. I had already completed my legal transition, like I had changed my name. I had changed my legal gender marker. I had a new birth cert and all that jazz. So in that sense, I was very much kind of done. The hard parts were done. I had also been able to fortunately and like for the privilege to do so, I’ve been able to access like medical transition. So I had already been on testosterone. I’d already had top surgery. So by the time I started college and a lot of ways I was very like and I say this kind of in quotes, I was very post-transition, because obviously transition is something different for everybody. For me, a lot of the major milestones were over. And, so I was at a point where I was happy that I could kind of go into college and feel like I didn’t need to worry about being trans, not because I guess like, not because not because I don’t like being trans or because I didn’t want to be open about being trans, but just because I had been carrying a lot of, like stress and anxiety about like the process of transitioning.

 

Jayson Pope: [00:02:35] And I wanted to be able to leave that behind and just be confident and happy. So when I started, I was already, I was three months post-top surgery, which is hilarious to think about because. Oh, my God, why would I want to do so many stressful, stressful things in the space of like Leaving Cert, have top surgery, go to college. Clownery from me but over the course of my degree, I guess I, I guess my identity hasn’t really changed per se or kind of moved a whole lot. But I have been in that kind of shift from being a person who’s kind of early in their transition, who’s still kind of exploring their experiences as a trans person and to becoming somebody that other people look at as like what they want to achieve from their transition. And becoming somebody is less, I guess, seeking support and more providing it to people around me.

 

Emily Savage: [00:03:37] So as you said, you were, in your words, post-transition. Were you then out in college, did the people around you know that you were trans? And did this bring about any issues or opportunities for you in a social setting or an academic setting?

 

Jayson Pope: [00:03:56] I guess the best way that I would describe it is I like I certainly not stealth. I make no attempt to hide the fact that I’m trans. It’s not something that I try to keep secret or to keep private per se. But at the same time, because of the point that I was out of my transition, nobody was assuming I was trans on site unless they already knew me or had seen me at some kind of like trans related thing. And nobody was assuming that I was trans and I wasn’t in a position where I had to, like, disclose that I was trans to be respected, which I was really grateful for. But I would say that, like different people would know and different people wouldn’t, like it wouldn’t come up with all of the people of my course, they wouldn’t all necessarily know but, for example, people in the student union would probably know from me being a class rep, me talking about like trans related stuff in council or obviously people within the society would know because I talk about trans related stuff within society, people would know that there as well. So like, there’s some people who would be aware. Some people wouldn’t be. Some people might find out. I don’t know. At the end of the day, I don’t purposefully go out of my way to hide or necessarily tell people, unless it kind of comes up, I say that in terms of like opportunities or issues. Academically, I think it’s been a positive for me in a sense that I, within my course, because of the nature of it, there’s a lot of opportunities to talk about queerness, about gender, about trans identity.

 

Jayson Pope: [00:05:40] And I’ve really taken those. And I think that’s made the academic work that I produce in my course a lot richer and a lot more engaging. And it makes it that bit more unique, keeps me kind of interested and allows me to produce better work because it’s something that’s so engaging for me. And I think as well, because of kind of the academic path that I’m on towards becoming a social worker, it’s also been beneficial there. I think that, like, transness is part of what encourages me towards that in terms of like empathy and care for older people. And socially as well I feel like it’s positive because I have the society, I have my friend groups around me. Most of the people that I’m close with are also queer. Most of them also trans. So it’s very much part of my day-to-day life of my normal kind of average experiences and in a much more positive way than it was when I was still stressed putting up with all of the complexities of trying to transition. And it’s a much more positive way for it to be present in my day-to-day life. I wouldn’t say that like it’s caused me any particular issues in college, which I’m grateful for because it certainly did before I was in college. And I think that is in large part because I don’t have to tell anybody. I don’t have to deal with justifying myself to people. It’s really a privilege to have that opportunity to not have to disclose or not have to deal with it when I don’t want to deal with it.

 

Emily Savage: [00:07:26] And so then I guess that kind of leads onto the next question, which is, did your being trans, has that shaped your academic trajectory in any way?

 

Jayson Pope: [00:07:37] Yeah, definitely. Like I said, I’m finishing my course this year and I will be starting his professional master’s in social work in September. So I knew I wanted to be a social worker before I even left secondary school. And I think that was definitely in part motivated by experiences of like queer, but especially trans youth activism and the way in which the like we can help each other. We can provide each other with support, especially like older people providing that support to younger people, even within a youth space, you know, young adults providing that support for teenagers and stuff like that. And really kind of highlighted to me, made clear to me that I wanted to provide support. I wanted to be in a position where I was enabling people to have the best life that they want to have and to solve their own problems rather than having them solved for them by somebody else. So that definitely affected my, like, decision to go towards social work but even with, say, for example, sociology and social policy, by the time I was leaving secondary school, I was already familiar with, I guess, a lot of basic sociological stuff because I had been in these circles where people are talking about like oppression and privilege, when people are talking about systemic prejudices and stuff like that. There are a lot of these kind of social issues and social dynamics that I have become familiar with through my identity and through learning about queerness and transness in the wider world. So I think I would have, even without the desire to participate in social work, I would have still been pushed towards a course like the one I’m doing now, because it has that element of looking at the world, looking at what’s wrong with the world, and then looking at how we fix it and how we change it.

 

Emily Savage: [00:09:49] Obviously, there’s, you know, as you say, about supporting trans people and stuff. Obviously, there’s a lot of supports that are needed for these students. Do you have knowledge of what kind of supports and if any were available to you from the college, from the time that you’ve started? And has that changed recently at all? Has there been improvements to those supports?

 

Jayson Pope: [00:10:14] I think the like obvious, albeit biased answer is that the biggest support for students in UCD is the society. And I know I’m saying that as somebody who is the secretary and is about to become the auditor but, I think that because of the nature of the society, even though we are not professionals, even though we can’t solve people’s problems, the provision of a space that is created by, that is cultivated by and that is specifically for LGBTQ+ people, that provides students and especially trans students a place where they can feel safe, where they can feel legitimate and recognized, and where they can feel kind of comfortable exploring potentially their identity if they’re not fully certain how they feel yet and even when they are kind of certain in their identity, allows them to explore safely how they would like to proceed beyond realizing that they’re trans. And I think that, like, I know it’s, it is biased because I like the society, obviously, but I think that that social space is undeniably impactful, even though it’s not kind of a purposefully therapeutic space, for example. I know that outside of that does have a gender identity and expression policy, which I know that they were reviewing, not because it was dreadful or anything, it’s because it was quite fine, but more so because it was clear to them that students were not fully aware that it was there. Students weren’t aware of what the provisions were, and as well as staff who should have been aware, weren’t aware of how it was meant to work.

 

Jayson Pope: [00:12:17] So they were reviewing my policy this year as well. There is obviously like a lot of support staff and you said not specifically for the trans community, but there is the student health staff, there is student counseling staff, there is the student advisors. And from most accounts that I have heard of, those different services, they are generally positive, not necessarily the most super, extremely aware people, but people with genuinely positive intentions. The most recent kind of change, I would have said is that there is a push currently to provide some financial support to trans students in UCD and like some other universities have already. And that’s currently an ongoing process. It’s by no means guaranteed. It’s by no means set in stone. But there is a push there from the student union, from ourselves in the society to have the university provide a bit more financial support because it is expensive to be trans. And it is frustrating that there are students out there who can’t afford a binder or can’t afford to change their name or their gender marker because they just don’t have enough money. And that makes your college life harder in and of itself because people are disrespecting your name or your pronouns. People are not gendering you correctly because you can’t afford that stuff. 

 

Emily Savage: [00:13:58] What other supports if there are additional loans that you think there should be. And do you think colleges should be able to provide for their students?

 

Jayson Pope: [00:14:08] There is, there’s a lot of stuff I would change about how colleges support trans students, as young people, as though everybody in college is not young. And but there’s a lot of there’s a lot of things I would change. I think that off the bat I would make sure that policies like gender identity and expression policies that pertain to how you would change your name or your gender marker, they need to be easily accessible. Students need to know they’re there. Students need to be able to have some flexibility with those, and, for example, some students might not be out to the people they live with. How can we work around that? And how can we make sure that they’re respected on campus without outing them to other people as well? Sort of like making sure that there’s always non binary inclusion in that kind of policy, because even if somebody can’t legally change their gender marker to be non binary in Ireland, they should still be represented in their academic institutions regardless of that. I also think that a lot could be changed in terms of more health focused supports.

 

Jayson Pope: [00:15:17] Like on a broad level, UCD’s counseling service is not fit for purpose solely because they don’t have enough people to provide for the number of students that UCD has. But on a deeper level, that is going to disproportionately affect queer and especially trans students who are in need of mental health support at a higher rate than the average person and won’t be able to access it through the student counseling service. As well say for example, with student health, I think that student health services like GPS and stuff like that need to all be extremely trans aware, and need to be supporting and pushing for trans students to have access to the transitional related health care that they need on a local informed consent basis. They could be such strong allies going forward in pushing for improvements in trans health care if they step up to the plate really and take that on. And I would hope to see that some of those changes would come to pass and that there would be that more kind of ingrained support and respect for trans students from the get go.

 

Emily Savage: [00:16:28] My final question is that, you know, obviously being so far into your degree and having so much experience in the college and knowing and seeing that there’s more trans students coming in, that, you know, some of them are coming in and they’ve been out for years. Some of them are in college and only starting to come out, if you could give them any bit of advice, you know, about their degree,academic support, social support, anything like that. What advice would you give these students?

 

Jayson Pope: [00:17:03] I think the two biggest pieces of advice that I would give to trauma students coming into college now would be that first and foremost, build up your support structure around you. Obviously, a lot of, a lot of people’s trans experiences include losing support from people in your life or being afraid of losing support from people in your life. So find those people who will support you, find the friendships, the relationships, the professional connections and the health connections that will support you throughout your transition and won’t kind of leave you in the dust. And just because you trans, make sure that you have those people who are able to listen and understand and support, support you where you’re at at that point in time. The other big thing I would say in this goes, I think especially for students or school leavers, anywhere coming like straight off the back of the Leaving Cert, you’re at that point in your life as you kind of you know, you’ve left school, you’ve become an adult, you’re going into college, you’re at that point in your life where you have to learn more and more to take care of yourself as an adult. And part of that is having a strong ability to advocate for yourself and failing the ability to advocate for yourself, to ask for help. You’re at a point where people won’t necessarily provide help and support in the same way that they would have when you were younger.

 

Jayson Pope: [00:18:43] There isn’t going to always be somebody who can speak up for you and cultivating that ability to be confident, to be assured and to say this is what I want, this what I need, this is important to me, that matters a lot as you become an adult in college and as you go through college, especially as a trans person, when there are people who will disregard your needs and will not care about what you want. And when that self advocacy fails or when you struggle with that self advocacy, knowing that there are people who you can ask for help from and knowing that there are people who will be willing to give you the help and relying on them and working with them so that you can get what you need. Because it’s, it’s a shame to me to think that any trans student will be put in a position where they are denied the respect and autonomy that they deserve, especially when there are people there to help. There are people there to support them in that. And there are people there who want to show them how to kind of really strongly advocate for themselves and for other trans students.

 

Emily Savage: [00:19:56] Thanks very much for that, Jayson, and thank you for agreeing to come on and speak to me. I think this will really help students who are just coming out now while they’re already in their degree or students who have concerns about starting in college. And I think that advice can be very helpful for them.

 

Emily Savage: [00:20:17] Thank you, everyone, for listening. I’m Emily Savage and I’d like to thank Jayson Pope for joining me today. For our next episode, I’ll be joined by Robert Brennan, TU Dublin student and committee member of TU Dublin LGBTQ+ Society. Make sure to find out more about the work of STAND and checkout STAND.ie.

 

 

 

 

Featured photo created using Canva

 

 

STAND Student Podcast: Democratic Republic of Congo Series Episode 5

STAND Student Podcast: Democratic Republic of Congo Series Episode 5

STAND Student Podcast

STAND Student Podcast: Democratic Republic of Congo Series Episode 5

Young Greens outside the Dáil

Listen to the fifth episode of this series on the following platforms:

iTunes

Spotify

Google Podcasts

Anchor

Castbox

Breaker

Overcast

Radio Republic

Welcome to the fifth episode of our podcast series on the Democratic Republic of Congo, the entirety of which has been researched, produced and edited by TCD Student Maria Salto Galdon.

In this week’s podcast, we’re sharing the second part of an important interview on African economics, international trade, and supply chains.

We are joined again by Dr. David Nyaluke, UCD Proudly Made in Africa Fellow in Business and Development at the UCD School of Business.

David gives us incredibly valuable insight into one of the biggest issues facing modern day Africa – its international trade system. Join us as we journey  through its unfair history and current day situation .

When you’re done listening, make sure to connect with Proudly Made in Africa in whatever way you can:

www.ProudlyMadeInAfrica.org

www.linkedin.com/company/proudlymadeinafrica

www.facebook.com/proudlymadeinafrica

www.twitter.com/ProudlyMIA

Follow us on Instagram @stand.ie for updates and links to future podcast episodes.