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Monday, September 08, 2014 10:18 PM

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


September 8, 2014

Contact: jen self, Publications and Communications Chair, [email protected]

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.”

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Friday, August 01, 2014 12:06 PM

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


August 1, 2014

Contact: Jen Self, Publications & Communication Chair, [email protected]

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.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014 12:00 AM

Board Retreat Update 2014

Greetings from the Consortium board!

We have all returned safely from our travels to the University of Vermont. There, we hosted our 2014 Summer Institute on July 11. Following that, we held our Board Retreat from July 12 - 15. We are grateful for the opportunity to connect with each other and plan for the year ahead. Read on to learn about everything we accomplished and how you can get involved.

Summer Institute

We began the retreat by hosting our summer institute, titled “Points of Influence: LGBTQ Students, Social Change, and You.” Over 130 student affairs professionals, graduate students, and K-12 educators attended. One highlight of the institute was our keynote address featuring Representative Bill Lippert, Representative Kesha Ram, and UCLA’s Raja Bhattar. We had a great time! Thanks to our Education Chair, Shaun Travers, for leading the work to make the institute possible.

Anti-Racism and Inclusion

We grounded our time together in a discussion of our values as a social justice organization. We discussed our responsibilities to demonstrate these values as individual board members and as the Consortium as a collective organization.

Implementing the Strategic Plan

Our time together at the retreat focused on carrying out our strategic plan. Board members will be working to make the following things happen:

  1. Member Engagement: Increase support for graduate students and new professionals with an emphasis on the professional pipeline for POC and TGQ members.

  2. Communications: Increase communication to members and external stakeholders.

  3. Member Professional Development: Increase professional development opportunities within the organization for mid-level and seasoned professionals with a focus on professional development around anti-racism and intersections of identity.

  4. Setting Standards: Develop and publish standards of professional practice for the profession.

  5. Organizational Development: Establish financial stability to support the growth of the organization.

Next Steps

Over the next few months, you should expect to see your board carry out the plans we made in Vermont. Many of these action steps need your approval in the form of votes and your support through joining committees and working groups. We encourage you to connect with us as chairs or the appropriate board member if you’re interested in getting involved. Highlights include:

  • Strengthening our communication by providing more content on the public and members-only sides of our website.

  • Fundraising strategies that allow us to continue providing support for members in an equitable fashion.

  • Sharing educational resources that reflect the broadest and most inclusive approaches to identity, difference, and social justice.

  • Providing strategies to help develop LGBT2 practitioners.

  • Highlight the voices of transfeminine people within higher education.

  • Connecting with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

  • Conducting a new self-study of Consortium members, which will include gathering information about salaries, career plans, and demographics.

  • Strengthening connections with our partner organizations and creating memoranda of agreement.

  • Meeting the diverse needs of our members during Creating Change 2015 (February 4 - 8 in Denver, Colorado).

Thank You

We are grateful to the board for spending part of their summer focusing on this work. One of the major advantages of the summer retreat is that it allows our board to be together in person. For most of the year, we are physically far apart, connecting only by phone and email. Being together for the retreat means that we can set expectations, make plans, and get to know each other. We had a great time learning about each other!

We were fortunate to have the support of Dot BrauerBecky Swem, and Evan Litwiń of the LGBTQA Center at UVM in planning and executing these events. Thank you and your colleagues for all of their help! We truly enjoyed our time in Burlington.  Just as UVM did, we encourage you to consider hosting the Consortium at your campus for the institute and retreat! We’ll send more information soon.

Thank you for your continued support of the Consortium and our board!

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Sunday, June 15, 2014 09:58 PM

Suggested Best Practices for Supporting Trans* Students 


June 15, 2014

Contact: jen self, Publications & Communication Chair, [email protected]

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.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014 04:05 PM

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


May 21, 2014

Contact: Jen Self, Publications & Communication Chair, [email protected]

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.”

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