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

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


Contact: Jen Self, Publications & Communication Chair,

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.


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

Suggested Best Practices for Supporting Trans* Students PDF Print Email


Suggested Best Practices for Supporting Trans* Students 

Contact: jen self, Publications & Communication Chair,

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.


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

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:(

“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.

Count Us! PDF Print Email

The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals is proud to announce that we signed onto a letter with 39 other organizations calling for the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations (NAC) to address the critical importance of including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in data collection efforts.  You can read that letter below.


Ms. Jeri Green

Committee Liaison Officer

Department of Commerce

U.S. Census Bureau

4600 Silver Hill Road, Room 8H182

Washington, DC 20233

National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations


The undersigned organizations are grateful for the opportunity to address the National Advisory

Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations (NAC) on the critical importance of

including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in data collection


The Census Bureau (Bureau) has taken a leadership role and has been making excellent progress

at improving data collection associated with same-sex cohabiting couples. We applaud the

Bureau’s recent decision to no longer recode same-sex spouses as unmarried partners in public

data sources derived from the American Community Survey (ACS) and to include same-sex

spouses among federal statistics that identify married couples. We urge the Bureau to build on

that progress by immediately updating the “relationship to householder” question on appropriate

surveys, developing an inclusive plan to include sexual orientation and gender identity in a

broader range of federal data sets, and explicitly including gender identity in its Equal

Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy.

I. Changes to the “Relationship to Householder” Question Should Be Implemented


We applaud the Bureau’s efforts to develop a “relationship to householder” question for surveys

like the ACS that will explicitly identify same-sex husbands and wives, same-sex unmarried

partners, opposite-sex husbands and wives, and opposite-sex unmarried partners. We understand

that these changes will significantly improve the quality of same-sex couple data and,

correspondingly, will significantly improve development of policy concerning married same-sex

couples and their families. We are grateful for the decision to implement these changes on the

Survey of Income and Program Participation and on the Current Population Survey.

However, we are concerned about delays in making these changes to the ACS, and we strongly

encourage the Bureau to accelerate their implementation. As the questions have been

successfully implemented on other national Census data collection efforts (e.g., Canada, United

Kingdom), and the Bureau has conducted its own study of the question wording, we believe that


there is sufficient scientific evidence to support implementing these questions immediately onto

the ACS.

II. The Bureau Should Develop a Plan to Include LGBT-Associated Questions in

All Federal Data Sources

The Institute of Medicine’s 2011 report on LGBT health disparities included a clear call for

LGBT inclusions across a wide range of federal data sets focused on health, socio-economic

status, and demographics. To date, federal statistical agencies have not developed a coordinated

strategy that would move data collection efforts toward full LGBT inclusion. We encourage the

Bureau, as the government’s lead statistical agency, to show leadership in developing a plan for

LGBT inclusion across federal data sources.

The Bureau has shown strong leadership in this area in the past, particularly in its efforts with the

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to address the challenges associated with same-sex

couple data collection efforts. Already, a sexual orientation measure has been added to the

National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and a similar measure is scheduled to be added to the

National Crime and Victimization Survey (NCVS). These efforts indicate a positive trend, but,

to date, neither survey includes a gender identity measure. We ask that the Bureau show

leadership and develop an interagency process to achieve full inclusion of sexual orientation and

gender identity measures within major federal surveys. These include the NHIS and the NCVS,

along with the American Community Survey, the Current Population Survey, and the Survey for

Income and Program Participation.

Without Accurate Data, It Is Harder to Respond to the Unmet Needs of the LGBT Population

Much of our knowledge about the family, health, economic, educational, and social status of

people in the United States comes from survey data. The incidence and qualitative experiences of

poverty, illness, unemployment, or income across racial, ethnic, and gender lines are routinely

measured through survey questions. Further, survey data are particularly important for assessing

the need for public policies that address racial, ethnic, gender, age, or group disparities in

important health and social outcomes, and data are necessary to evaluate the impact of those


However, we have much less information about whether and how life experiences differ by

sexual orientation and gender identity, creating a large scientific gap between what we know in

detail about other populations and what we know about LGBT people.

policy debates have heightened the need for high quality scientific data on the sexual orientation

and gender identity of adults, the aging population, and young people in the United States. In

ongoing public discussions about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender policy issues, the

practical importance of good data that accurately describe the lives of LGBT people and their

families has become increasingly obvious. Discussions of civil rights, program evaluation, public

health, and the delivery of human services must rely on sound facts and analyses that come from


survey research. But, often those facts are underdeveloped in the context of LGBT-related

policy issues because so few surveys include measures of sexual orientation and gender identity

that would allow for the identification of LGBT people.

Health, economic, and social surveys have always had to adapt to changing demands and

changing times. For example, as family structures have changed, government and private surveys

in the United States have added questions and responses that allow the study of unmarried,

cohabiting different-sex couples. Adding sexual orientation and gender identity measures is

simply one more adaptation to the changing world that surveys are designed to study, in this case

a world with an increasingly visible LGBT population.

Collecting more high-quality data on the disparities associated with LGBT status and other

social, economic, and health concerns of LGBT communities is essential if federal, state, local,

and nonprofit agencies are to adequately serve this population. The Bureau’s inclusion of new

response categories to the “relationship to householder” question in the ACS and other surveys

has provided decision-makers with strong data about the presence and needs of same-sex couples

in the United States. However, the question is limited in scope. We still know far too little about

the presence and needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people that do not have a

partner or do not live with a partner. The crucial first step in building this knowledge is adding

sexual orientation and gender identity survey measures that can help characterize the needs of

LGBT respondents to publically-funded population surveys.

The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention recognizes LGBT populations as being at a higher

risk for suicidal behavior than the general population, and recommends improved data collection

as a measure to help reduce this health disparity. Additionally, the importance of data collection

is recognized in the Affordable Care Act, which prioritizes data collection and directs the U.S.

Secretary of Health and Human Services to collect a range of data on the health disparities

associated with race, ethnicity, sex, disability status, and primary language, as well as any other

factors deemed relevant to reducing disparities. In June 2011, Secretary Sebelius drew on this

authority in the new LGBT Data Progression Plan, which commits the Department of Health and

Human Services to developing sexual orientation and gender identity questions for federally

supported health surveys. This plan recognizes that, like other underserved populations such as

communities of color and rural populations, LGBT individuals are more likely to be uninsured

and report poorer health outcomes than the general population.

Other federal sources such as the Institute of Medicine, Healthy People 2020, the Substance

Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the National Healthcare Disparities

Report indicate that LGBT individuals and their families are disproportionately likely to live in

poverty, to be uninsured, and to face substantial barriers to quality health care, including refusals

of care, substandard care, inequitable policies and practices, and exclusion from health outreach

or education efforts.


III. The Bureau Should Explicitly Include Gender Identity Among the Protections in

Its Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

We encourage the Bureau to update its Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy to

explicitly include gender identity. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) explicitly

forbids agencies from discriminating in employment on the basis of gender identity. The Office

states that “sex” as a basis of discrimination includes gender identity.ii

issued operational guidance requiring every agency to “ensure that agency specific plans are in

compliance with laws, rules, and regulations that make it unlawful for agencies to discriminate

for or against an applicant or employee based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy

or gender identity), national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation or any other prohibited

basis.”iii We strongly urge the Bureau to adopt a policy that mirrors the OPM guidance, stating

clearly that discrimination on the basis of sex (including gender identity) is prohibited.


We appreciate the Census Bureau’s strong leadership on LGBT issues, as well as its decision to

introduce a revised “relationship to householder” question on appropriate surveys. We

encourage the Bureau to build on that leadership through adoption of the recommendations

included in this comment. If the Census Bureau or the National Advisory Committee has any

questions about the content of this comment, please contact Meghan Maury, Policy Counsel at

the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, at (202) 639-6322, or by email at


National Gay and Lesbian Task Force


Advocates for Youth

American Civil Liberties Union

Anti-Defamation League

Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice

Center for Black Equity

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers

Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals

Family Equality Council

Forward Together

Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)

Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality

Harvey Milk Foundation

Human Rights Campaign

L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center

Lambda Legal

LGBT Center of Raleigh

Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth

The Long Island GLBT Community Center

Long Island GLBT Services Network

Marriage Equality USA

Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center

Movement Advancement Project

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs

National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

National Minority AIDS Council

Pacific Pride Foundation

Pride Center of Staten Island

Q Center - Oregon

Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)

Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders – Long Island

Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS)

Transgender Education Network of Texas

The Trevor Project

Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law

Young Invincibles

7 Rivers LGBT Resource Center



i Sexual orientation and gender identity are different aspects of an individual’s identity. Transgender people, like

anyone else, may be gay, straight, bisexual, or any other sexual orientation. The discriminatory treatment that some

ii Diversity & Inclusion Reference Materials, supra note 53. iii U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Guidance for Agency-Specific Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plans 6


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