How to Promote Gender Inclusiveness on Your Campus

Posted by Katie Brown on 11 October 2016 |

gender inclusivenessCampuses strive to ensure their communities are welcoming to all students, providing equal access to the same level of education and experiences. Just as higher education administrations implement or adapt policies around disability or diversity inclusion, campuses are making strides with gender and LGBT inclusion as well.  

While recent legislation has propelled universities to focus on gender inclusion initiatives, campuses have reacted quickly to expand their commitments to inclusion for all students, regardless of gender, race, disability or age.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the recent Title IX guidelines, its impact and what campuses are doing to create more inclusive environments for the LGBT community.

New Title IX Guidelines in Effect

The Department of Justice released a letter on May 4, 2016, confirming that Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, prohibit gender discrimination against transgender individuals.

Since its inception, Title IX has specified that people should not be excluded from, discriminated against or denied access to education based on their gender. With this recent clarification to Title IX, federal law requires that higher education institutions must:

  • Include gender identity as part of sex-based discrimination
  • Treat transgender students consistently with their gender identity
  • Provide bathrooms that don’t prevent people from use based on gender identity

Implementing Inclusiveness Initiatives on Campuses

Campuses across the country are taking action to implement gender inclusiveness and promote gender-neutral language into their education and activities.

Gender Neutral Restroom Map

To assist students in locating gender neutral restrooms, graduate students at Western Michigan University created a map that showed every building or resident hall on campus with a gender neutral bathroom. Today, approximately 150 campuses offer some sort of gender-neutral bathroom and over 200 provide some type of gender-neutral housing.

Additional Gender Identity Options

On college applications for the University of California systems, students are now able to choose from six gender identity options, including male, female, trans male/trans man, trans female/trans woman, gender queer/gender non-conforming, and different identity. Additionally, students are able to note their birth gender and sexual orientation.

While some question the intent of the adding these options, Shelly Meron, a spokesperson for the UC Office of the President, says the questions are voluntary and won’t impact admission decisions. She notes that they were “added in response to legislation passed in 2011 that requested the system provide students, faculty and staff an opportunity to report their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression on forms used to collect demographic data.”

Additional Examples of Inclusion

Additional examples of ways campuses can better educate faculty, staff and students include:

  • Online training for faculty and staff on how to practice gender inclusiveness
  • Assisting the campus community in understanding transgender students’ rights
  • Providing gender-neutral language and tips for avoiding misgendering
  • Outlining best practices for bathroom policies
  • Tips for managing gender transitions
  • Explaining new laws impacting transgender students

Conclusion

As new regulations take effect and campuses implement new gender inclusive guidelines, it's important for campus administrators and leadership to educate their communities.

For more information and education on how to improve inclusion on campus, Campus Answers provides both diversity and inclusion training and a transition to respect training course.

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