LGBT+ housing campaigns
LGBT+ students face specific struggles both living in student housing and also in campaigning for better conditions. With a political environment that is becoming more hostile towards LGBT+ people, it is essential that housing and rent activism involves LGBT+ students in their campaigns, and develops specific campaigning proposals to fight for a better environment for all LGBT+ students in halls and private accommodation.
Building intersectional campaigns
Making sure your cut the rent and housing campaigns are accessible to LGBT+ activists is vital. We want to create an environment where LGBT+ campaigners feel safe and are comfortable to introduce demands to the campaign which meet the needs of LGBT+ students and renters. To make your campaign spaces transparent and accountable, using frameworks of transformative justice can be an important step to ensure that any harmful behaviour or inadvertent offence can be dealt with in a manner which respects the needs of LGBT+ activists. See our page on intersectionality for more details on building campaigns that are intersectional and inclusive of LGBT+, BME and disabled activists.
LGBT+ housing activism
All demands in your campaigns should be seen as equally important. You don’t want to be in a situation where management think they can give you one demand as long as you sacrifice another. Among these can be demands on LGBT+ housing rights. Some ideas for your intersectional campaigns could include:
- Helping to educate LGBT+ students and renters about their housing rights, including developing financial and legal literacy, and help advertising to people whether their university has a guarantor scheme (a guarantor scheme can be crucial to help LGBT+ people who have bad or no relationships with parents and guardians get access to housing).
- Linking with NUS LGBT+ to establish a guarantor fund for LGBT+ people, with NUS LGBT+ acting as a guarantor.
- Raising awareness to students and university management of issues around ‘proving’ estrangement, the need to introduce and promote guarantor schemes, and indeed to expand these schemes where needed.
- Better wellbeing and counselling support for LGBT+ students who may be closeted or estranged. This could be through improving community support groups and LGBT+ networks, and giving them a role in formulating policy to help vulnerable LGBT+ students at university.
- Making sure that any local tenants unions are aware of LGBT+ specific issues they need to address.
- Looking into following the example of Sheffield Students Union and developing LGBT+ only flats on campus. These are not segregated accommodation as they are placed within halls of cis and heterosexual people, but providing accommodation for vulnerable LGBT+ students to feel safe and accepted in the university environment. Getting your SUs to commit to safe LGBT+ housing campaigns is an important step.
- Making sure that all university staff have training in tackling homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.
Of course, your campaigns can build demands around particular issues which are relevant to your campuses and the best way to meet the needs of LGBT+ activists and students on your campuses is to engage, bring on board and hold open, transparent processes for generating campaign demands.
Supporting LGBT+ students and helping all activists to grow and learn about issues that impact LGBT+ students and campaigners will not only create an intersectional cut the rent group and an intersectional rent strike, but will be a first step in creating a university environment where we are growing together.