With a new generation of freshers coming to Stirling, we are reminded that times are progressing, and so must we. The best approach to improving the environment is to start with yourself. Here are five ways we can make are peers feel more included.
Don’t single people out
Just because they are dressing extravagantly, wearing a lot of make-up, or verbally drawing attention to themselves, it doesn’t mean they are doing it on purpose; they could just be stimming. That fresher from ASH is just minding their own business, and so should you. If you see someone behaving in a manner that seems odd to you, don’t point fingers at them. Accept that people are different, and different than you does not mean it’s wrong.
Don’t talk crap about others when you can’t understand them. People are gay, Steven. It’s not their job to educate you on it, the responsibility is yours. We need to remember that we’re all different, and that’s a beautiful thing about humanity. It’s what makes us special. Don’t reject it, embrace it. Learn about why your peer seems to stand out, try to understand them, don’t renounce them for something they might be proud of.
Be nice, not fake
Politeness is key, but don’t force it too much. Instead of pretending to be cool with something, try learning about it. You don’t understand what transgender means? That’s alright, but it doesn’t give you permission to talk behind somebody’s back. Dismissing others with fake niceness and then badmouthing them is toxic and does not belong in the adult world. Prove you’re mature, be open and honest with others without being rude at the same time.
Mind the pronouns
People use different pronouns, and you must respect that. Misgendering is incredibly harmful, even when it’s not intentional. Therefore, even if you’re cisgender, put your pronouns out there – make them seen. Write them it your bio on Twitter. Let’s normalise saying pronouns.
Work together to create a safe space
The university must remain a safe space for everybody. Must. As in non-negotiable. This isn’t high school, there is no room here for petty quarrels. The students and staff cannot feel like they aren’t welcome in their place of education or work. If you notice someone you think is using the ‘wrong’ toilet – ignore it. Don’t tell them off. That’s most likely your transgender peer using all their courage to even walk in there. Don’t discourage someone for being true to themselves.
Featured Image Credit: Schools Week