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Lancaster University’s own Anna Lee is running for a post in the National Union of students.
The current FTO Welfare and Community is making history as the first openly trans woman to run for National Women’s officer. If she’s successfully elected Anna, who describes herself as “a queer trans disabled lesbian woman” will be the representative of every woman in higher and further education across the whole of the UK for a 12 month period.
The Facebook page ‘Anna Lee for National Women’s Officer’ contains a full manifesto, or ‘Annafesto’, outlining her key goals and priorities if she were to be elected. These include ‘free and liberated education’, greater focus on ‘relationships and consent’ and increasing the number of women in leadership roles.
“Passionate” about equal rights, Anna said in her Facebook post, ““There is no such thing as ‘the perfect feminist’ and we need to go much further in opening the Campaign, both nationally and locally, to those so often excluded from our movement.
She continued by explaining that “trans women’s issues are consistently side-lined within the feminist movement, and trans women’s issues are being increasingly side-lined within the trans community. My experience as a campaigner covers a huge diversity of people and puts me in a perfect position to push things forward for all women.”
Her determination for the role can clearly be seen and she says that 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, not only ensuring the campaign is proudly trans inclusive, but that our campaign is a place where feminist activists can thrive – whether they’ve been involved for five years or five minutes.”
In her manifesto Lee pledges to “fight for a de-colonised curriculum with the Black Student’s Campaign’ and to implement “mandatory consent workshops for all attending NUS events” because “there is no democracy if we are unsafe.”
Lee already has an impressive list of achievements to her name when it comes to student politics and activism. She has held the post of NUS trans representative to the Women’s Committee since 2014 and is currently the VP Welfare and Community for LUSU. She also received an award for ‘Campaign of the Year’ from the NUS in 2014.
Lee has told SCAN she feels that being a member of the NUS Women’s committee has given her “loads of experience of representing students and campaigning on a national level.” In her role as VP Welfare and Community she has believes that she has gained invaluable experience by being an FTO and this has taught her “how to manage [her] time to best support students and lobby institutions to the betterment of students.”
Lee’s campaign has already received national attention. Along with having articles written about her NUS bid in the HuffPost and the Independent she has also received an official endorsement from Jo Gowers, the current NUS-USI Women’s Officer.
Gowers has said that “the UK Women’s Campaign has to make every effort to be wholly inclusive of the nations, especially as devolution draws key issues for the campaign away from Westminster. Anna recognises the gravity of the challenges facing Northern Ireland and Scotland in relation to abortion legislation and importantly, how this challenge will cascade to Wales and England. I’m proudly backing Anna for NUS UK Women’s Officer.”
The election will take place between the 5th and 7th April this year at the NUS Women’s Conference.