Panel: LGBTQ+ and survivor activism

Meg John-Barker also wrote a blog piece reflecting on the session – you can read it here.

Kes Otter Lieffe (she/her)

Otter Lieffe is a working class, chronically ill, femme, trans woman and the author of a trilogy of trans feminist novels—Margins and MurmurationsConserve and Control and Dignity. Otter is also the author of the colouring zine, Queer Animals, published by Microcosm, which will be made soon into a full colouring book.

A grassroots community organiser for over two decades, Otter has worked and organised in Europe, the Middle-East and Latin America with a particular focus on the intersection of gender, queerness and environmental struggles. 

Since publishing her first novel in 2017, Otter has been building networks to counter the systemic oppressions faced by working-class trans women. In 2018, she helped establish Books Beyond Bars, a trans/LGBTQIA prisoner support group in the UK and in 2019 she launched her new organisation, Trans Feminism International organising to meet the material needs of trans women.

Suriya Aisha (she/her)

Suriya Aisha is Co-Director for Colours Youth Festival, is founder and Director of QTIPOC group UNMUTED in Birmingham, and involved in the Sickbabe project, exploring living with invisible health conditions and disabilities.

Meg-John Barker (they/them)

Meg-John Barker is the author of a number of popular books on sex, gender, and relationships, including graphic guides to Queer, Gender, and Sexuality, How To Understand Your Gender, Life Isn’t Binary, Enjoy Sex (How, When, and IF You Want To), Rewriting the Rules, and Hell Yeah Self Care. They have also written a number of books for scholars and counsellors on these topics, drawing on their own research and therapeutic practice. They work as a writing mentor, creative consultant, and trainer alongside their writing and work with the media.

MJ blogs at and has a podcast at

Sabah Choudrey (they/them)

Sabah Choudrey has been with Gendered Intelligence since 2014 as a proud trans youth worker, and in 2020 became Head of Youth Service, supporting young people of all ages and young people of colour (co-leading GI TPOCalypse).

Sabah is passionate about building solidarity across trans communities, youth empowerment and making friends with cats. Outside of GI they are training to be a psychotherapist and writing about inclusive practice for trans people of colour. They are one of the founding members of Trans Pride Brighton (2013) and Colours Youth Network (2016) for LGBTQ POC youth workers and young people across the UK.


Amy Rushton (they/them)

Amy Rushton is an NSUN Trustee and an interdisciplinary researcher and writer on mental distress, critical thinking and creative work. Their professional background is in academic research and teaching in UK Higher Education; they are currently a Lecturer in English at Nottingham Trent University and have taught at universities across London and Manchester.

Amy is a long-term mental health service user-survivor and uses their platform as a researcher and teacher to advocate for mental health-related rights and justice. As a queer person, Amy has direct experience of how mental health services can emphasise ‘normalcy’ and cause further alienation and distress. Their current research project investigates how current writing by user-survivors around the world questions and resists the dominant story about the ongoing global mental health ‘crisis’. To date, they have published three peer-reviewed research papers as part of their new project and leads the World Literature Network’s research cluster on World Literature and Mental Health.

Tuesday 24th November, 2.00-3.00pm