You may have noticed that UK students are pretty damn angry right now. Protests over rising tuition fees and massive cuts to education budgets for both further and higher education have taken place across the country during the past few weeks. Thousands of school children, college students, university students, teachers and lecturers are taking to the streets.
The student protests demonstrate the vast power held by ordinary people. It shows that we have the power to set a media agenda, to shut down the streets of a major city, to pressure our elected representatives, to outwit brutal police set on violence, and to cancel a conference before it even takes place. The education cuts are just the tip of the iceberg, but the student protests show that we can fight back against ideologically-driven attacks upon our public services.
As trans people, we are very much at risk from the cuts. We cannot possibly organise on a scale comparable to the student movement: we are too few, too scattered, too divided. But what we can do is unite with the student movement and other anti-cut alliances. We can call upon our elected representatives on a local level and our trade unions to take action. We can petition, we can write letters, we can attend meetings and protests.
Mostly importantly, we can be a part of the student movement. I’m involved as a student myself, but I’d contribute even if I wasn’t currently studying. The movement welcomes all support from those who wish to protest in solidarity; in return, it offers the possibility of defeating the government itself. This is an unlikely outcome, but one which is becoming increasingly possible as the Liberal Democrats buckle under pressure.
If you want to safeguard treatment for transsexed people on the NHS, defend police attempts to actually enagage minority groups rather than treat us like dirt and beat us up, support public sector measures to ensure equality and express solidarity with other minority groups who will be disproportionately impacted by the cuts, support the student movement. A victory for the students is a victory for us all.