We Are Essex

Taran's story

"One of my biggest goals this year is to let students know what support there is available to them."

I come from a really small town, so it was a bit of a change to come to such a diverse and politically active university. I’d never been able to be part of an actual LGBT+ community before, so I really got stuck in. I was LGBQ+ Officer for the Students’ Union for two years, and LGBT+ issues kind of became the focus of my whole degree; I wrote my dissertation on it and everything!


I’ve had some really amazing moments at uni, things I’ve done that have made me really proud. I’ve been working on a lot of issues surrounding gender inclusivity, such as gender neutral toilets. I also recently got the graduation clothing policy changed to gender neutral, which was a really big personal win for me, because I identify as genderfluid and it was just in time for my own graduation ceremony!


I’ve also been on the exec of the Feminist Society for three years, which has been a real source of pride for me. Last year we held a small gender pay gap bake sale, and it really blew up: we ended up featuring in The Sun, The Huffington Post, even Russia Today! It was a really big thing for us; we were nominated for a National Society Award for Best Campaign Society, and won Society of the Year at Essex.


Now I’ve been elected VP Welfare, which I’m really excited about. One of the Students’ Union’s main priorities this year is mental health, which is really important to me because it’s something I’ve struggled with personally. One of my biggest goals this year is to let students know what support there is available to them, and to ensure the SU is tackling any problems with students accessing mental health proactively. It’s my job to make sure everything we do benefits students, and ensuring they’re at the forefront of all our activities. I want to use my own struggles with mental health to empower myself and everyone else who struggles. I think everything in your life is a tool you can use to empower yourself.


Ideally I want to work in the charity sector, which is why my new role is so important to me. I want to work with disadvantaged LGBT+ people. My dream is to work for a national charity like Stonewall in project management. I want to do something that’ll really help people.

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