Press Releases
Mills College & Mount Holyoke College Break the Glass Gender Binary by Admitting Trans Women! PDF Print Email

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mills College & Mount Holyoke College Break the Glass Gender Binary by Admitting Trans Women! 

Contact: jen self, Publications and Communications Chair, pubcom@lgbtcampus.org

September 8, 2014

New York, NY: The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals wishes to hail the decisions of Mills College and Mount Holyoke College the first of the 119 “single-sex” campuses in the U.S. to admit trans* women. While Mills College’s policy explicitly opens admission to trans* women and allows for the continued enrollment of trans* men, the policy does not open the door to the admission of trans* men who have legally changed their gender markers to “M.” Mount Holyoke College pushed the boundaries of gender a bit further by creating a policy that allows for the admission of any trans* person. According to Mitch Kellaway of the Advocate, The only people unable to apply and be admitted to Mount Holyoke, under the new policy, are “cisgender men — those biologically born male [who] identify as men.”

Mills and Mount Holyoke College have thrown down the gauntlet for the remaining “single-sex” campuses, in particular the remaining six of the Seven Sisters (Smith College, Bryn Mawr College, Wellesley College, Barnard College, Radcliffe College, and Vassar College). Smith, in particular, was under public scrutiny last year when they rejected the application of Calliope Wong. Smith’s Dean of Admissions, Debra Shaver has since indicated that the policy is under review and Smith has temporarily ceased rejecting the applications of trans* women.

Please join the Consortium in congratulating Mills College and Mount Holyoke College for their leadership in operationalizing the reality that “gender identity is not reducible to the body” (Kellaway, 2014).   

 

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Shared Vision and Mission Statement

To critically transform higher education environments so that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, faculty, administrators, staff, and alumni have equity in every respect.

Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals

280 Madison Avenue Ste. 912  - New York, NY 10016-0801

www.lgbtcampus.org

 

 

 
Consortium to George Fox University ~ Support & Affirm all gender identities PDF Print Email

Consortium to George Fox University ~ Support & Affirm all gender identities 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Jen Self, Publications & Communication Chair, pubcom@lgbtcampus.org

George Fox University, a small Quaker college in Oregon, has recently made the decision to prevent a student from being housed in a way that affirms his gender identity. In July, the university clarified that their sex-segregated housing policy is based on anatomical sex rather than on gender identity. George Fox has also sought, and received, a religious-based exemption to the Title IX guidelines that would otherwise require the college to respect this student’s gender identity. The Consortium is concerned about two main dimensions of this case.

First, physical sex is an insufficient measure upon which to make housing decisions. While some transgender individuals do undergo gender confirmation surgery in order to align their bodies with their gender identities, for many trans* people surgery is prohibitively expensive, medically unwise, or otherwise undesirable. Requiring a young transgender person to undergo surgery before they are prepared to do so could be harmful to that person, and is a practice specifically condemned by the World Health Organization. Moreover, defining housing under a strict interpretation of genital status ignores the existence of intersex people, who often find themselves left out of normative definitions of sex. While there are many factors that go into making a safe and educational housing environment, genital characteristics should be the least of these considerations.

Second, we are concerned that exemptions to Title IX guidelines weaken the power of this law. Title IX protections have helped many LGBTQ high school and college students successfully challenge harassment, discrimination, and inequitable treatment. The Department of Education has been very clear that Title IX protects transgender people. Selectively allowing certain institutions to withdraw from these protections will lead to a negative climate for LGBTQ people. And now the George Fox Title IX exemption appears to have influenced at least two other colleges, who have now been granted permission to expel a student or fire an employee simply for being trans*.

While George Fox may have made a decision in the case of this particular student, we urge all institutions of higher education to consider ways to be supportive of transgender students. For guidance on this, please see our document Suggested Best Practices for Supporting Trans* Students. We believe that all students should be treated with equity and respect. Towards that end, we support and celebrate the work of Safety Net, an organization devoted to supporting LGBTQA people at religiously-affiliated colleges. LGBTQA people of faith deserve to be able to pursue educations that support their spiritual convictions, gender identities, and sexual orientations. We encourage all colleges and universities to join us in working to protect the rights of LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty.

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Shared Vision and Mission Statement

To critically transform higher education environments so that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, faculty, administrators, staff, and alumni have equity in every respect.

Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals

280 Madison Avenue Ste. 912 - New York, NY 10016-0801

www.lgbtcampus.org

 
Suggested Best Practices for Supporting Trans* Students PDF Print Email

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Suggested Best Practices for Supporting Trans* Students 

Contact: jen self, Publications & Communication Chair, pubcom@lgbtcampus.org

The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals’ Trans* Policy Working Group, in consultation with national student affairs associations, developed best practice recommendations to assist colleges and universities in providing services and support to trans* students. In February 2014, the Consortium charged Dr. Genny Beemyn, chair of the appointed eight person, multi-regional working group to devise trans* policies and practices. Building upon work with AACRAO (the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers) the Trans* Policy Working Group analyzed and developed suggested best practices in eight areas, campus records and documents, housing, recreational sports and locker rooms, campus facilities, sororities and fraternities, Deans of Students/Campus Conduct Offices, campus health centers, and campus counseling centers. 

While schools will vary in the resources they can offer and their ability to implement the recommendations, the practices set a bar of competency for which institutions should strive in addressing the needs of trans* students—students whose gender identity and/or expression challenges binary notions of “male” and “female.”  The Consortium recommends that relevant national associations adopt these policies and practices.

On May 19, 2014, the Consortium Board voted unanimously to approve the suggested best practices and proceed with encouraging adoption by universities, colleges, and national organizations. Among the suggested best practices are the following: 1) have all  [area] staff attend a trans*-focused ally training; 2) enable students to use a name other than their legal first name on campus records (courses, rosters, directories, etc.); 3) enable students to change their gender marker on campus records upon their request (i.e., without letters of support or a legal change); 4) develop and publicize a trans*-supportive housing policy; 5) develop a policy for trans* students to compete in intramural athletics; 6) aim to have gender-inclusive restrooms in at least half of the administrative and academic buildings on campus; 7) include “gender identity” in your campus’ general nondiscrimination policy; 8) Hold a regular trans* health clinic to provide trans*-specific health care services; 9) counseling centers appoint a client advocate or have a visible procedure for trans* students to report concerns and instances of poor treatment; and 10) create a fair equitable process for hiring, training, and maintaining trans*-identified and trans*-knowledgeable staff in all areas.

The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals champions trans*-equity (across a non-binary gender spectrum) for students, faculty, and staff on college campuses. The best practices are available for download here.

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Shared Vision and Mission Statement

To critically transform higher education environments so that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, faculty, administrators, staff, and alumni have equity in every respect.

Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals

280 Madison Avenue Ste. 912 - New York, NY 10016-0801

www.lgbtcampus.org

 
The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at USC Upstate PDF Print Email

The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals believes in the value of gender/sexuality studies and we support the professionals who do this work. Gender/Sexuality Studies programs and centers have historically been difficult to establish in many parts of the U.S., particularly in the Southeast. As such, we find it both appropriate and courageous that the Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina (USC), Upstate has made a 16-year, consistent commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans educational initiatives among its many programs related to gender and women’s lives.

Last week, on May 12, 2014, Interim Senior Vice Chancellor John Masterson explained that as part of budget cuts, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at USC Upstate will be closed starting July 1, 2014. According to their website, The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at USC Upstate serves students, faculty, staff, and community members through academic courses and co-curricular programming. Co-curricular programming encourages students to become more engaged in their studies. Often students come to gender and sexuality centers to process how their academic studies affect their personal lives. This point is driven home by the CWGS herstory web page image of a young woman holding up a sign saying, “I need feminism because it allows me to have a voice that society does not want me to have.”

Resource centers support academic programs, just as the academic programs enlighten and empower students. Such centers provide oases of refuge, community, and safe spaces within colleges and universities that can at times feel hostile, unsafe, or isolating. While the minor in Women’s and Gender Studies has not been eliminated, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at USC Upstate that supports that minor, now is. A faculty member told the Charleston City Paper, “the center was a sign of a positive and progressive workplace for faculty and staff and a safe haven for students, gone now with no input from the faculty, staff, and students it served.”

The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals supports and advocates for the creation of sustained Gender, Women, Sexuality, and Cultural Centers as well as job security and academic and employment equity for all LGBT faculty members, students, and staff.


 

 
Title IX protects trans* students PDF Print Email

The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals applauds the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Education on its recent clarification of Title IX provisions to clearly include and enumerate claims of discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression (GIGE), and non-binary expressions of gender.

This Title IX guidance came as a part of a larger set of clarifications of Title IX implications regarding campus’ responses to sexual violence. Alongside clarifying the reach of Title IX protections to include gender identity and expression, the supplemental document unequivocally affirms the obligations of educational institutions regarding responses to harassment and violence based on perceived sexual orientation and gender identity/ expression.  It also acknowledges the disproportionate effects of harassment and violence on LGBT students.

The full text of the guidelines can be found at the Department of Education website:(http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/qa-201404-title-ix.pdf)

“Where trans* inclusive policies are in place, education and outreach must follow,” added Consortium co-Chair Warren Scherer, Director of Inclusive Excellence Center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “It is not only Title IX compliance offices that need to be aware of these clarifications of Title IX. The knowledge and affirmation of identities across the gender spectrum is part of the work of all higher education institutions.”

“We are ready for the Department of Education to further clarify the rights of trans* identified students in higher education,” said Demere Woolway, Consortium co-Chair and Director of LGBTQ Life at Johns Hopkins University. “Access to restrooms, identity recognition within official systems, inclusive health care, and inclusive housing should be available to all members of university and college communities.”

The Consortium has recently charged a Trans* Policy Working Group, chaired by UMass Amherst Stonewall Center Director Genny Beemyn, to work with higher education professional organizations like the American College Health Association (ACHA), Association of  College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I), National Association of College Admission Counselors (NACAC), and others to develop collaborative guidelines and practices for specific areas of higher education. These guidelines will be released to the Consortium membership for review and comment in early summer 2014.

 
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