Gender Equality and Trans Rights – London Student Sustainability Conference 2024

Jules, a QMUL student studying for their MSc in Astrophysics will be one of the student presenters at the London Student Sustainability Conference. Their presentation is focused on the fifth UN SDG, ‘gender equality’ and will focus on how trans rights fits into this goal.

London Student Sustainability Conference (LSSC) is an annual student-led conference jointly hosted by various universities in London. This year, Queen Mary is one of the organisers. The event is an opportunity for students conducting research related to any of the 17 UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) to present their findings.   

This event is a wonderful opportunity for students to broaden their knowledge of the challenges and solutions to sustainability issues and to network with other students, academics and professionals from Universities across London.  

Jules, a QMUL student studying for their MSc in Astrophysics will be one of the student presenters at the conference. Their presentation is focused on the fifth UN SDG, ‘gender equality’ and will focus on how trans rights fits into this goal.  

Jules joins other QMUL students sharing their research at the event on 21 February. The conference is completely free to attend in-person at Imperial College London from 10am-6pm. There will also be a livestream of the event. After the conference there will be a one-hour networking session and poster exhibition open to all attendees.  

Sign up to attend the conference via the link below.  

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See below an overview of Jules’ research and their personal reflections on the findings.   

Why did you choose to research and present this topic?  

“I have several roles related to trans inclusion and gender equality: I am the LGBT+ rep for the SU, I am the Trans Rep for the Pride network at my workplace, I am on the LGBT+ committee for London & Eastern at my work union, I have a TikTok account that features prominently trans-inclusive feminist topics, and I am also a volunteer for the charity Maths4Girls and soon to start more involvement into the charity. So, while this research isn't really related to my degree, it is something that I am very passionate about and that is relevant to various roles I hold.  

Gender equality and reducing inequalities are two of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (UN) but in my opinion, the gender equality goal focuses almost exclusively on cis women and girls, and the goal to reduce inequalities is mostly about economic inequalities. I think this is a miss, trans people have become a key scapegoat to a lot of political discourse in the past few years in many countries around the world, and I strongly believe this is a stepping stone for attacking the larger LGBT+ community and eventually also rolling back women's rights. While obviously trans people deserve to live equal and dignified lives on their own rights, ignoring the battle for trans rights, as the UN Sustainable Development Goals do in my opinion, is a massive blind spot when it comes to gender equality and yes, even cis women's rights. I am hoping my presentation can help shed some light on this blind spot and hopefully help reverse the anti-trans machine.” 

What are some key takeaways from your research? 

“Trans people face a lot of discrimination and violence. Many of those are similar to the discrimination and violence faced by cis women and girls (pay gap, bodily autonomy, access to spheres of power, etc). Therefore, consciously including trans people in the fight for gender equality is productive and would lead to better outcomes for trans people and cis women as well, as attacks on trans rights also threaten women's hard-fought rights.” 

Any facts/stats that you/others may be surprised to hear? 

“Trans women lose about a third of their income after transitioning at work. Trans men however have a small increase of 0.5% of income after transitioning at work. I believe this is a powerful stat that shows that misogyny still plays a big role in the salary people are given. 

Additionally, a third of U.K. employers have admitted in a 2018 survey they wouldn't hire a trans person. This shows as well the importance not just of having laws in place banning anti-trans discrimination, but also to change the hearts and minds of people with regards to trans inclusion.” 

How do you feel now that you have completed this research? What are your hopes for the future of gender equality? 

“I am very worried about the future of gender equality. I believe the current political trend has very much shifted against gender equality but is often presented as being for the benefits of (cis) women. It is very clear the world is not on target to achieve gender equality by 2030 as the UN would like. Not only is trans equality even further behind, but under the guise of "protecting women and girls", politicians are actually actively fighting against women's rights. I believe there needs to be a drastic change in policies in the very near future to avoid catastrophic damages not just to trans folks but to women and girls as well.”  

 

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