Trans rights come to the fore at Student Pride 2015

 

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The Independent Online

The 10th anniversary of Student Pride took place at the University of Westminster in London last weekend weekend and the LGBT community celebrated in style with masses of pink clothing, live music and tonnes of candyfloss.

A mass of music, dancers, bright costumes and genuine positive vibes made the event one of it’s biggest yet. From activities throughout the day to a Mean Girls themed club night at G-A-Y Heaven, a sea of stalls, games and information points filled the building with new opportunities for LGBT students.

The main stage was graced by Paris Lees, a Student Pride ambassador and past number one on The Independent's annual pink list.

“When you give trans people the help and support they need they can go on to flourish and prosper as everyone should be given the chance to do,” she told the crowd.

"We need to encourage trans talent in TV and film; my personal belief is that its more authentic for a trans actor to play trans character."

Newsnight's Evan Davis hosted a Question Time style debate, with author and journalist Owen Jones, the deputy leader of the Green Party, Amelia Womack, Labour’s Lord Michael Cashman, Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes and Conservative MP Mike Freer making up the panel.

The panelists all took to the main stage to debate issues such as the gay marriage bill, why students should vote and the topic of gay men giving blood.

Justice Minister Simon Hughes pledged the to pass the legislation to pardon those convicted of being homosexual before the May general election. Mr Hughes announced it would be part of the Liberal Democrat election manifesto if not.

Secondly, and arguably more popular, a talk focusing on LGBT in TV and film. Hosted by the editor of Attitude magazine Matthew Todd, the panel featured Oscar-winning "Milk" screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black, and Dominic Treadwall-Collins, the executive producer of Eastenders. The main issues discussed coming out within the industry and the lack of transgender actors and characters that exist within film in TV, both in the UK and in Hollywood.

Treadwell-Collins revealed that he is set to create a trans storyline for the iconic British soap. He told a packed audience: “I am planning to [write a trans storyline]. Pen hasn’t hit paper yet but research is in the planning.” He also said he would want to cast a transgender actor for the role.

Much progress has been made on issues that faced LGBT students 10 years ago, and the positivity radiating from the attendees to the stewards to the stallholders was inspirational. Speaking to past students returning to the event, the mood was far more upbeat compared to when they were studying. "We never had anything remotely close to this,” said one.

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