Hello! My name is Jack Douglas and I am your NUS Scotland LGBT+ Officer 2016-17. I'm incredibly honoured to be leading this campaign and cannot wait to do more.
When I went to University, one of the first things I did was look for an LGBT+ society to join. University was a fresh start for me, through terrible experiences at school and in my home town this was a time to go to somewhere different and really try to be myself.
Campaigning and activism were far from my mind when I joined the LGBT+ group, instead I was more focused on finding a group of people that I can properly belong to. That changed when I went along to an activist training day that the NUS LGBT+ campaign did. This was one of the first empowering events I went to, and made me realise that as a queer person I couldn't stand by while there is so much injustice towards LGBT+ people.
At the same time, the opportunity to become convener of my LGBT society arose and, as a nervous first year, I stepped up to the post. Over the course of my time as convener, and later as president of the Students’ Association, I lead campaigns on LGBT+ mental health and equal marriage– including sending over two thousand equal marriage postcards to politicians across the west of Scotland. I also ran a successful campaign to get the issue of the lack of financial summer support recognised that LGBT+ students who are estranged, like myself, will benefit from, and worked on issues affecting other liberation groups too. Nationally, I successfully passed policy to get NUS Scotland LGBT to adopt ‘+’ to its name and structures.
I stood for LGBT+ Officer because I saw a vacuum of leadership in a campaign that was once an incredibly strong mobilising body, a group which enlightened me and made me the queer activist I am, and a campaign that I owe a lot to, but that had declined over time.
This year, working with the LGBT+ committee, my priorities are to:
- Campaign to end the ban on various members of the LGBT+ community from donating blood.
- Make our own structures more democratic and inclusive.
- Create a strong, self-sustaining campaign that works with other groups and organisations to make huge change – like we did with equal marriage.
- Work with the other liberation officers on shared issues, like hate crime, liberating the curriculum, and inclusive education
- Campaign to support the reform of gender recognition legislation.
Soon we will be releasing the NUS Scotland LGBT+ plan of work with further goals and objectives. So if you define please read it, give us feedback and get involved. The committee and I want to make this year one of the campaign's biggest.
LGBT+ equality in Scotland has come a long way in such a short period of time but we can't afford to be complacent. We have so much more still to do.