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Liverpool Hope University has launched a new guide for trans and non-binary students – with the authors proudly promising that ‘hate will not win’.

Spearheaded by Jack Evans, part-time officer for Trans and Non-binary students, the idea is to signpost university-goers to all of the ‘inclusive, nurturing’ establishments and organisations across Liverpool.

It includes everything from non-gendered barbers and ‘safe space’ eateries, to bars and clubs with a diverse crowd, and even sports teams such as the LGBT+ ‘Mersey Marauders’ football club.

The guide also lists all the available support for trans individuals, whether that’s in the form of counselling and sexual health advice, or hormone therapy and referral to a Gender Identity Clinic.

An introduction to the guide reveals: “It’s very daunting moving to university, and this can be even scarier when you are a Trans student coming into a new city.

“We are providing a guide of fun and safe spaces across the city of Liverpool and additional resources for students who identify as Trans, Non-binary or something else in and out of the gender spectrum.

“Trans students are welcomed at Hope – you have our full support and are a valuable member of our student body!

“We will always aim to foster an inclusive, nurturing community at the University, Student Union and within the greater community of the city of Liverpool. We take pride in our Trans students and community leaders!”

Project leader Jack Evans, a Philosophy, Ethics & Religion student, this year celebrated his first International Trans Day of Visibility as an openly visible trans individual. He wrote about his experiences in a moving blog.

And here Jack talks about the motivations behind Pink, White & Blue Liverpool, and what he and the Students’ Union hope to achieve with it:

How did the guide first come about? And was it in response to the anti-LGBT+ hate crimes reported in the media earlier this summer?

“When I came up with the idea for the guide, it was originally just to make sure that any transgender students coming into the city had an easy-to-read, compact guide of all of the safe spaces in Liverpool. However, the attacks in July did fuel my motivation to create the guidebook, and I made sure I put my best effort into getting it together so that no student felt worried or scared about coming to Hope. I had some conversations with prospective students around the time of the attacks, who did express concern about the safety of Liverpool. But I hope this project gives any new students the reassurance that we will not let hate crime win, and will continue to protect members of the LGBTQ+ community at Hope.”

How has the city responded to the LGBTQ+ community since the summer?

“Clearly, hate crime continues to be a problem nationally. However, it has been lovely to see the community in Liverpool really come together as one to fight and to make noise to show that we will not sit back and let hate happen. Protests and campaigns have put pressure on the authorities to implement changes that can be made ASAP. And, personally speaking, I have lived in Liverpool my whole life and, in general, I would say that the city is very diverse and inclusive. It’s a shame that uneducated people are ruining that atmosphere.”

How did you go about compiling the list of establishments and organisations that feature in the guide?

“I did lots of research for this project, such as getting in touch with LGBTQ+ organisations in the city, and asking questions in online forums. I also had some of my friends help me out with the research aspect, who offered their opinions and experiences with safe spaces in the city. Every suggestion I received, I made sure to check it myself to ensure it was safe and trustworthy for the guidebook. I didn’t want to overwhelm students with a really long booklet, so I cut the list down to the places which I felt best fit student needs, and which were easily accessible.”

The guide makes it clear that trans students – or anyone else for that matter – are welcome at Liverpool Hope – have you found that yourself?

“I will be going into my third year of study in October, so I have spent a lot of time at Hope. Overall, I would say that Hope is a very inclusive space. When I was elected as the transgender part time officer in November 2020, I wanted to make sure that any problems faced by transgender students were tackled immediately, and being transgender did not become a barrier to education. My campaigns and ideas have been welcomed and supported by staff and students, and everybody seems very willing to learn and educate themselves on trans issues. We have some fantastic support and opportunities at Hope, and I really think it is a lovely place to study. I’d like to specifically mention the welcoming and positive environment of the Students’ Union. They have really helped me immensely with my projects and I couldn’t have done it without their amazing support.”

You can download the Pink, White & Blue Liverpool guide here: