Forum: Connect with campus resources
As a cisgender person — a person whose gender identity is the same as their birth-assigned sex — I experience cisgender privilege daily. For example, I can share information about my gender identity in The Daily Texan without fearing I’ll be treated differently by colleagues and students. For cisgender folks, acknowledging this privilege is one starting point for recognizing discrimination against trans people and making a commitment to work with trans advocates to end that discrimination. As the Gender & Sexuality Center education coordinator, I contribute to the effort undertaken by students, faculty and staff who identify as trans folks and as cisgender folks in allyship to make campus safer and more welcoming for transgender, genderqueer and gender nonconforming people. Some of these efforts include:
Name Changes: For transgender, genderqueer and gender nonconforming students who do not use their legal name, hearing roll call or their name read from their ID can be violent moments of misgendering. Staff at the GSC can work with campus units on your behalf to change your name on rosters, in the UHS medical system and on your ID (your legal name will appear on the back of the card).
Gender Marker Changes: Gender markers appear alongside students’ names on records, including class rosters. To change your gender marker, you may write a letter to the registrar. The registrar does not require that your name has been changed on any legal documentation.
Reporting bias incidents: The UT Nondiscrimination Policy “prohibits discrimination on the basis of … gender identity and gender expression.” If you are a trans person and experience interactions on or connected with campus that make you feel unwelcome, you can share these incidents (anonymously or by name) with the Campus Climate Response Team through the button on several campus websites including the GSC. The CCRT responds to situations following the lead of the person who filed the report, and they publish an annual document illustrating trends of incidents on campus.
All gender bathrooms: Transgender, genderqueer and gender nonconforming people who have experienced violence in bathrooms might think twice before taking a necessary drink of water on a hot day. The GSC has worked with UT Facilities Services since 2007 to identify single-stall bathrooms that can be converted into all gender bathrooms and to designate all gender bathrooms in new buildings or renovations. Among more than 100 buildings on campus, there are 32 with all gender bathrooms. Look for a map and list of these bathrooms on the GSC website.
Gender confirming medical services: Some transgender, genderqueer and gender nonconforming people seek gender confirming medical services. Students can reach out to the Counseling and Mental Health Center for more information about getting documents necessary for hormones or gender confirming surgery.
Mental health services: In addition to the stress of daily life as a student, the stress of dealing with oppression and discrimination can have a huge effect on a person’s well-being. CMHC provides services and support for students to be healthy, safe and successful at UT.
Trans communities: Transgender, genderqueer and gender nonconforming students create their own spaces to share information and create necessary change. Students are organizing through the GSC to revive TransAction. Contact the GSC if you are a trans-identified student and want more information about TransAction and other LGBTQA student groups. LGBTQA students can also gather with cisgender ally Joey Hannah at the GSC on Thursday afternoons for the Queer Voices group discussion.
Education for Advocates: Making campus welcoming for transgender folks requires a campus-wide commitment. Through the GSC, I facilitate requested and open workshops including “Transgender Identities,” “LGBTQA Identities,” and “Practicing Allyship.” These workshops provide spaces for people (including LGBTQA people) to learn and practice talking about gender identity and gender expression and to think about how each of us can make campus safer and more welcoming for trans folks. Contact or visit the GSC for more information and handouts including “Transgender 101,” “Tips for Transgender Students” and “Tips for Working with and Teaching Transgender Students.”
Kristen Hogan is an Education Coordinator in the Gender & Sexuality Center. Visit the Gender & Sexuality Center’s website at www.utgsc.org.