Hat-trick Star Award win for GCU’s LGBT+ Society

Fri, 28 May 2021 18:19:00 BST
Committee Members attending Glasgow Pride 2019 (left) Liberation Offer River Gowans with Star Award trophy (right)
Committee Members attending Glasgow Pride 2019 (left) Liberation Offer River Gowans with Star Award trophy (right)

After another successful academic year of implementing new polices on campus and bringing The University’s LGBT+ community together, GCU’s LGBT Group have been crowned Liberation and Representation Group Of The Year at the annual GCU Students’ Association Star Awards.

The award for Liberation and Representation Group Of The Year has been awarded to the society for three years in a row.

Final year Forensic Investigation student and LGBT+ Liberation Officer River Gowans discussed the society’s work that led to their third consecutive win.

Congratulations! Can you introduce yourself for students who don’t know you already?

Hey, I’m River, my pronouns are he/they, I’m LGBT+ Liberation Officer for 2020/21 and 21/22, and I’m a non-binary trans person. I’ve just finished 3rd year of Forensic Investigation so I’m going into 4th year in September.


The LGBT+ Society have now won The Star Award for Liberation and Representation Group Of The Year for a third year in a row! How does that feel?

I’m honestly so proud of our little society. Over the last three years we’ve done so many things for the university to make it more inclusive, and inclusivity is the main thing I’m passionate about. I’ve been involved with the committee since about half way through my first year so I’m just super proud that we’ve won the award for all three years that I’ve been here.


What activities and/or initiatives has the society been involved with in the lead up to being nominated for the award?

Our major win this year was working with Suzi to implement gender neutral toilets throughout the Glasgow campus. It’s something that doesn’t cross a lot of peoples’ minds, but as a non-binary person, finding a toilet to use in public safely can be daunting. On top of this, we’ve held events throughout the year to raise awareness for less considered causes, such as the virtual meeting we had with QuTo about the importance of queer sober spaces, and talking a lot about the disproportional violence against specifically trans women of colour. Not to mention, we still held our annual Glitter Ball virtually, with entertainment from the fantastic Lady Rampant!


How has the year been for the society during lockdown, facing restrictions and being unable to physically meet up and socialise?

I think this year has been tough on everyone. I know that I myself have been exhausted from constantly being on my laptop in meetings, so the meetings for the LGBT group have been pretty tiring. The other thing to consider is that for people who are not out to people they live with, it may not have been safe to attend LGBT+ group calls. I’ve also missed meeting up with people after the meetings to get a Purple Rain and a portion of cajun fries out of Speakeasy!



What’s your plans or hopes for the future of the society, particularly if we are able to physically return to campus at some point?

As always, I want to focus on activism, and sometimes talking about difficult subjects online is even more tiring, so being able to get a range of guest speakers such as ones we’ve had in the past , including the Rosie Project and HIV Scotland is definitely on the cards. Something I’ve been focused on this year is queer sober spaces, so hopefully with restrictions easing, we’ll be able to go to some of these places that are opening up.


What’s your advice for students wanting to get involved with the society?

My advice, especially for first year students, it just to jump right into it. I was kind of terrified when I was in first year, contemplating whether or not to go to the LGBT+ bar crawl but I am so glad I did. I’ve made amazing friends, I’ve learned a lot, and everyone is super friendly and welcoming. We’re also going to be looking for another few committee members for next year since I’ll be in 4th year, so keep your eyes peeled for that opportunity!

Keep up to date with the committee’s projects and find out how to join via their Facebook, Instagram pages or their official sign up page.

Find out more about the STAR Awards winners on the GCU Students’ Association website. 

By Rebecca Meechan

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