The purpose of the campaign is to
- Increase Tech awareness and knowledge of transgender experiences;
- Initiate a cultural shift towards increased allyship and support for transgender communities;
- Create the space for campus wide dialogues about what authentic inclusivity means and looks like;
- Help provide tools and resources for a safer and more inclusive campus for transgender students, faculty, and staff.
Participants of the campaign are making a butterfly with their hands. Butterflies are a symbol of the transgender community and are a representation of transformation. On one “wing” you will see the transgender flag. On the other “wing” you see one word that represents the campaign participant. Finally, each participant briefly discusses their trans or allied experience and how Tech can be more inclusive of our trans community.
The Georgia Tech Strategic Plan strives to “…recruit, develop, retain, and engage a diverse cadre of students, faculty, and staff with a wide variety of background, perspectives, interests, and talents, creating a campus community that exemplifies the best in all of us—in our intellectual pursuits, our diversity of thought, our personal integrity, and our inclusive excellence." Our commitment to progress and service for all, includes the voices, minds, and talent of transgender students, faculty, and staff at Tech.
Why spotlight transgender and nonbinary inclusion?
If you do not identify as transgender or nonbinary it may be difficult to understand why there is an emphasis and spotlight on creating more inclusive, supportive, and safer environments for our transgender and nonbinary community members. The UCLA Williams School of Law reported data from the 2017 and 2018 National Crime Victimization Survey, found that:
- Transgender people are over 4x more likely than cisgender people to experience violent victimization
- Transgender people (16+) are victimized over 4x more often than cisgender people.
- Transgender women and men had higher rates of violent victimization (86.1 and 107.5 per 1,000 people, respectively) than cisgender women and men (23.7 and 19.8 per 1,000 people, respectively).
What are transgender and nonbinary students at Tech saying?
During the fall semester, the LGBTQIA Resource Center conducted several focus groups with different LGBTQIA communities. One student, in the trans and nonbinary focus group, expressed "Sometimes, like if I enter a space that I know that they might not be accepting. I usually have maybe one or two pins that show who I am, I'll just take them off...” Another student expressed “I think another barrier that I and probably lots of people have faced is with healthcare and Tech, both mental and physical.” Additionally, the Spring 2022 Campus Climate Assessment for Students found that students who identify as nonbinary are less likely to agree that GT is a generally comfortable and inclusive environment.
How can you support our transgender community at Tech?
There are many ways to shift practice to ensure that your inclusive excellence is supportive of our transgender communities at Tech. Here are other ways:
- Attend the Trans 101 workshop hosted by the LGBTQIA Resource Center
- Speak up against transgender exclusion and/or discrimination
- Learn about the history and impact transgender communities have had on culture and society
- Do not assume someone’s pronouns, respect the names and pronouns provided to you
- Include your pronouns in all your introductions
- Build a genuine relationship with someone who is transgender
- Ask questions to understand and support, not to harm or hurt
- Recognize that supporting and being inclusive of transgender identities creates room for authentic and inclusive synergy by embracing difference!
Want to learn more?
Visit our Transgender Resources page.
As a trans student, I have experienced plenty of love at Georgia Tech. I have also experienced plenty of confusion or worse from others. I wish Georgia Tech would make the entire community more aware of practices like introducing ourselves with pronouns or knowing clothes have no gender, which benefit not only trans people but also anyone gender non-conforming, regardless of identity.
My experience as a trans student at Georgia Tech has been very welcoming with the help of the LGBTQIA Resource Center. I feel that I have made valuable and supportive connections with other trans students and found a great community here at Tech. I would love to see more discussion of trans issues on campus with other students outside of the LGBTQ community, perhaps with campus-wide events or other initiatives that non-queer students might not otherwise be exposed to.
It took me a second to understand my gender identity, and it’s definitely been helped by making friends at Georgia Tech who are also out and queer. I think allowing our names to be updated within the systems at Tech and how our names show up on Canvas and other correspondences will be a big step in furthering the supportive and open environment.
As a Tech student I've felt that support for trans students always felt like a miniscule mentioning for the sake of showing inclusivity rather than properly embracing it. There is the mention of resources for trans and queer students, however, there is often a lack support that is actively shown by students or faculty. As a university, I believe Tech should make it a priority to highlight that students are allowed to live as themselves free of judgment on this campus, and this should be highlighted not only in the code of conduct for students but also for faculty.
The feeling of belonging that the trans community has transcends any other community that I've been in. They all make you feel that you belong here and you are accepted for who you are. The way that Tech can help improve them is to give resources that can help people be themselves, no matter if they are closeted or not.
As a nonbinary student and friend/ally to many trans students, I greatly appreciate the effort and programs of the campus LGBTQIA Center. However, Georgia Tech as a whole still has a long way to grow, especially in terms of academic and institutional culture. Some primary issues include hiring more queer and trans faculty and increasing the number of gender-neutral and accessible bathrooms across campus.
All I really know to say is its been full of some highs and plenty of lows. I feel like the main reason for my ease through college has been passing and not coming out. The world is a tough place for us right now, and for better or for worse the Institute reflects the world around it.
There is a mental health disparity that comes with being trans. These disparities are only enhanced when trans students are in an academically rigorous institution like Georgia Tech. I would love to see more of Tech’s time and resources go towards mental health care for students, whether that be an increase of the number of therapists available on campus for individual therapy or even more student organizations and groups that offer peer to peer support when it comes to mental health.
My time here has felt unseen – everywhere I go I feel ignored or avoided by the professors or peers that claim to be open-minded and accepting. The moment they are faced with someone outside the gender binary they avert their eyes and lose all sense of inclusivity. I would love to see Georgia Tech making the effort to educate and enforce respectful practices out of professors and making it easier for students to communicate with professors about things like preferred names or pronouns cause professors rarely read them in Canvas – perhaps offering beginning of the year questionnaires for any student who wants to tell the professor but is embarrassed to have to write an email every time they don’t want to get misgendered.
At Tech, I don't have to be who I was raised and socialized as. I can be me, in my totality, with my chosen name, with my chosen gender. All I ask is that people treat me as me, not as an other. I will never be ashamed to be me, ever.
As a trans ally, sometimes it's the small stuff that matters. Always asking for people's pronouns and correcting yourself when mistaking people's pronouns is important. It can make a huge difference and it helps our fellow trans students feel welcomed.
Continuous active work and support would create a safe and supportive environment for all Georgia Tech students, regardless of their gender identity, such as using inclusive language (gender-neural pronouns or asking students which pronouns they prefer) and providing training for faculty and staff on how to create an inclusive environment, particularly for trans students.
Georgia Tech has always been very accepting of me as a trans student. I've been affirmed and recognized by my professors and by faculty, but on a systematic level, acceptance isn't the same thing as support. Tech has a very competent and accepting psychiatric service, but will not write HRT letters, has plenty of places to enter your chosen name, but still shows your legal name in plenty of unnecessary places, has counseling, but not real therapy. If Georgia Tech wants its trans students to succeed in a world fighting against us, acceptance is not enough; we need it to take real responsibility for our well-being.
Over the past three years, as a transgender man at Georgia Tech, I have faced challenges related to housing and have also encountered instances of discomfort and transphobia on campus. Despite these challenges though, I have found support and strength in connecting with other members of the queer and trans community on campus. I believe there is room for improvement in terms of inclusivity and affirmation of trans students at Tech. To address this, I would like to see official programming and events that raise awareness about trans issues around Georgia and the United States as well as celebrate the contributions of trans students and faculty on campus. Additionally, I believe all faculty and staff members should receive training on trans-affirming language to create a more welcoming environment for trans students. Overall, my experience at Georgia Tech has definitely not been flawless and while there is room for improvement here, I am grateful to have found a community that has been supportive and affirming.