Students’ Association Gender Affirming Fund recognised at NUS Scotland Awards

May 7, 2024

The NESCol Students’ Association was recently shortlisted for a National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland Award for its Gender Affirming Fund. Nominated in the Liberation and Equality Award category, former and current Students’ Association Presidents attended the ceremony in Stirling at the end of March.

The Students’ Association introduced the Gender Affirming Fund in 2022, following a proposal by student, Zoey Autumn, who leads the College’s LGBTQ+ society. The fund provides support to gender-diverse students, including those who are transgender, gender queer, non-binary or exploring their identity.

Students can utilise the fund to purchase gender-affirming care items or experiences such as binders or deed poll costs. The Students’ Association hopes to improve students’ wellbeing by reducing gender dysphoria: the discomfort and distress caused when someone’s gender identity does not align with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Carrie Beaton, Students’ Association Regional President, NESCol, said: “I was proud to see our Students’ Association shortlisted for an NUS Scotland Award. The Gender Affirming Fund is just one of the initiatives at NESCol that helps to create a supportive, inclusive and nurturing environment for all of our gender-diverse students.

“Feeling confident and comfortable in your gender expression could be the difference between staying on your course or dropping out.”

The most recent fund saw 22 students apply and receive up to £35 towards their gender-affirming products. The Students’ Association also works in partnership with NESCol’s Hair, Beauty & Complementary Therapies team to provide complimentary haircuts and make-up or skincare lessons to those exploring their gender.

Carrie said: “Unfortunately, not all of our students are supported in their personal lives when it comes to their gender identity. It’s crucial that college can be their safe space for gender discovery and expression.

“Alongside the LGBTQ+ society, we strive to create an empowering community at NESCol, and we’re on hand to help where we can. It could be something as small as allowing students to send their gender-affirming purchases to us at College if they don’t feel comfortable ordering these to their own home.”

Viktorija Nikitina and Emma MacIsaac have recently been announced as the new Students’ Association President and Deputy President for 2024/25, and will take over on 1 July.

Coming to the end of her tenure, Carrie said: “I look forward to seeing where the new Presidents take the Gender Affirming Fund in the future. Zoey will also be moving on to pastures new after the summer, and it’s great to see her legacy continue to help students at NESCol.”

About the Students’ Association

The Gender Affirming Fund has closed for this year, but the Students’ Association is here to help students all year round. You can get in touch via email, social media or face-to-face.

Find out more about NESCol’s Student Association.


Pictured: NESCol Students’ Association Presidents at the NUS Awards. From left to right: Viktorija Nikitina and Emma MacIsaac, Regional and Depute Presidents 2024/25; Nicole Matthews, Regional President 2022/23; Carrie Beaton, Regional President 2023/24; Kirsten Koss, Depute President 2021/22.