Trans and Intersex Coffee Meet-Ups

Name of institution: University of Glasgow

Lead contact: Mathew Wilkie, GULGBTQ+ Society 

Contact details: 




Trans and Intersex Coffee Meet-Ups

Fortnightly coffee meetings (of 2-3 hours) arranged by Mat Wilkie of GULGBTQ+ for trans and/or intersex students across Glasgow's colleges and universities.

Why was the activity established? Was there a perceived need, evidence of issue?

GULGBTQ+ has had informal coffee meetings for a number of years for people of similar identities to meet up in a safer space, both to discuss issues related to identity, to chat, and to make friends. Usually low attendance numbers to these events were boosted in this particular case through networking and specific advertising. It was quickly apparent the need for an informal peer support space, where predominantly younger trans and/or intersex people could come for support, advice and friendship making.

The event was opened to students of other universities as well as trans and/or intersex friends of these people not currently in university – it attracted a group of between 10-20 people each meet, all aged 17-25.

How effective has the activity been?

While a formal impact assessment was not conducted, a number of powerful anecdotal testimonies from attendees have been shared with the organiser, including:

  • Positive impact of strong friendships gained through the group;
  • Effective mental health support network building;
  • Empowerment of younger trans and/or intersex people;
  • Benefit of a regular meeting in which people could exist in a space with fewer mircoaggressions, i.e. not being misgendered, no need to edit historical stories, and being able to explore gender identity); and,
  • Sharing of vital information on healthcare, rights and policy.

Regular attendance of 10-20 people for 2 years was seen to be evidence of the necessity of the meetings.

Any lessons learned or advice for others considering a similar activity?

  • Active, targeted networking is key to high attendance, as the people not currently involved in community based activities will benefit most. Follow up if they didn’t re-attend is also necessary
  • Structured peer support/networking in casual environment fills a gap that youth groups may not be able to accommodate for
  • It’s necessary to have wide-ranging, accurate knowledge of healthcare and transition ‘admin’ in order to dispel myths and be suitable prepared for the events.
  • Continuity is necessary.

Have there been any challenges?

  • Capacity of the organiser was severely challenged. The meetings themselves weren’t too time consuming, but there was a lot of follow up work in emotional and practical support which lead to significant physical and emotional effort by the sole organiser.
  • Other small challenges involved finding a suitable venue (big enough with wheelchair access and gender neutral toilets, for free) and occasional clashes of opinion or personality within the group.
  • Group leader/s must be both friends and supports for group atendees, with the line between the two hard to manage often.

For more information or to get involved, contact GULGBTQ+ Society: