Why do I need this information?
More trans students are transitioning prior to entering college than ever before, which means that there is a greater need for transgender inclusive policies. For people who identify with the gender they were given at birth (referred to as “cisgender,” the opposite of transgender), it can be difficult to envision what sorts of barriers exist for transgender and gender non-conforming people as they navigate campus.
Here are some statistics about trans college students.
- Trans students feel unsafe at school, secure lower GPA’s, miss more school days, and experience symptoms of PTSD more than their non-trans peers.
- In the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 65% of trans participants experienced sexual assault.
- 25% of trans college students reported sexual assault since enrolling in college.
- 51% of trans participants were harassed or bullied in school (K-12), over twice the rates of nontrans students.
Most of us don’t have to give much thought as to whether an appropriate restroom will be available at an event or if we’ll be addressed by the wrong name or pronoun in class or at a meeting, but for our transgender students and employees, these are factors they have to consider every day. Some may avoid going to events or spaces altogether if they’re not sure they’ll be made to feel welcome. While college life produces anxiety for most new students, even the seemingly simplest of tasks can become daunting if the proper inclusion measures are not in place.
How can you make this campus more inclusive to trans students and employees?
The best way to learn about inclusion is to sign up for a Trans 101 training with the LGBTQIA Resource Center where you can learn appropriate language, skills, and resources. In addition to attending a training, here is a checklist of practices you should consider implementing in your classroom, student organization, residence hall, or workplace
Other questions about LGBTQIA inclusive practices?
The LGBTQIA Resource Center is happy to help; just email the director to set up a time to chat. Staff at the Center can offer guidance on how best to support a trans employee, friend, student, or colleague. The Center offers consultations on how to proactively create a supportive living, working, or studying environment for transgender people, how to support an employee who is transitioning in the workplace, and how to respond to bias incidents or concerns.
- Add your pronouns to your email signature, business card, and online bio/profile.
- Include your pronouns in introductions at meetings and events. (For example, “My name is David and I use he/him/his.”)
- If creating an application or registration form or a survey, only ask about gender if it’s essential to your data. If you must ask about gender, the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals recommends posing the question this way: Gender Identity: _______________________
- Sign up for Trans 101 training and post your card in your office, residence hall, or lab.
- Use the name that a person goes by at all times; calling a trans person by their birth name is called “deadnaming” and it is a harmful practice that should be avoided. Similarly, do not ask a trans person about their birth name.
- Misgendering someone by using the wrong pronouns can be disorienting and hurtful. Always respect a person’s right to self-identify by using the pronouns that they go by.
- Correct others when they use the incorrect name or pronouns to refer to someone else.
- Do not out a trans person to other people, and shut down speculation among friends or colleagues about another person’s gender identity.
- Avoid asking a trans person about their transition, medical status, or anatomy unless you are a healthcare professional who must know this information in order to treat them.
- Remember that mistakes happen! If you accidentally use the incorrect name or pronoun, correct yourself immediately. Pretending the incident didn’t happen is even more hurtful than the mistake itself.
In the Classroom: Tips for Faculty, TAs, and Instructional Staff
- Before the semester begins, refresh yourself on trans-terminology, such as the basic concepts and vocabulary.
- Become familiar with the LGBTQIA Resource Center so that you can direct students there if they want to get involved or are in need of assistance.
- Revise your syllabi so that it uses inclusive language and pronouns.
- On the first day of class, include your pronouns in your introduction to the class. Explain why you are doing so.
- Call students by their last name if taking roll on the first day of class. When students confirm that they are in attendance, ask them what first name they go by and add this to the roster if it’s different from the name listed. You can also ask them to state their pronouns at the same time so that you can make a note of these.
- Attend Trans 101 and Safe Space and add that you have completed these trainings to your online bio.
- Add a statement about your commitment to creating an inclusive lab on your lab’s website.
- Challenge transphobic remarks made by colleagues or students.
- If teaching GT1000, invite the LGBTQIA Resource Center to present to your class or include the Center in your Getting to Know Georgia Tech project.
Tips for Student Organizations
- Create a non-discrimination policy that includes gender identity and gender expression.
- Encourage members of your organization, especially the leadership, to go through Safe Space: Peer Education and Trans 101 training.
- On your organization’s OrgSync profile, state which officers have completed SSPE or Trans 101 training.
- Consider making an LGBTQIA or trans organization the beneficiary of a fundraiser or service project that you do.
- Incorporate discussions and workshops about LGBTQIA topics into your meetings and programs. For example, bring in a guest speaker to talk about LGBTQIA issues, host a movie night with a queer-themed film, or make sure that queer voices are represented on panels.
- Avoid doing business or partnering with organizations whose policies, values, marketing, and practices are discriminatory.
- Plan events and meetings in buildings that have gender-inclusive restrooms. If your building doesn’t have one, you can make a sign to stick over the existing bathroom signs that identifies that bathroom as gender-inclusive for the duration of the event.
- If doing introductions at the start of a meeting or event, include your pronouns. For example, “My name is Chris, my pronouns are he, him, and his, and I’m a CS major.”
- Avoid events that promote, require, or imply adherence to gender norms or a gender binary. For example, speed dating, men v. women competitions, or events with gendered dress codes can make trans and gender non-conforming people feel excluded.
- Be prepared to challenge instances of transphobia when they arise. If a member speaks or acts in a way that is harmful to trans people, practice allyship by speaking up, calling that person in, and reaffirming your organization’s inclusive values.