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13

TRANSGENDER EQUALITY STARTS WITH FACULTY AND STAFF

The National Center for

Transgender Equality reports

that one in five transgender

people have been refused a

home or apartment because of

their transgender status. One in 10

have been evicted because of their

status, and even more report that

once they are homeless, they may

even get turned away from shelters,

the very agencies that should be

helping them. People that identify

as transsexual or transgender have

to face rejection on almost every

conceivable level — not just from

their own family, but also from every

facet of society. According to a recent

article published by the

LA Times

,

69 percent of people that identify

as transgender and also are or have

been homeless, have attempted

suicide.

In addition to the expected

challenges of academic life,

transgender students face unique

ones in their quests to become

their authentic selves. When

they feel safe to be themselves,

they benefit both in and outside

the classroom. Transgender

students are most comfortable in

environments that are supportive

of their self-identification. Daiyu

Hurst, an IU Southeast student

who is transgender, notes that,

“while IU has procedures in place

to provide for preferred name on

the student record where different

from legal name, the student record

provides for their legal gender

only. With only legal gender and a

name as guidance, it’s possible that

faculty and staff might mis-gender

a transgender student. Rather

than assume, faculty and staff will

find most transgender students

quite open to being asked for their

preferred pronouns. Not all students

will identify as a conventional binary

gender, so faculty should be open to

the possibility they may offer unique

pronouns such as ze/hir or may

prefer that no pronouns be used to

address them. Similarly, while most

binary-identifying trans students

will choose their preferred gendered

By Andrea Kimmel ENG W-364

Transgender Equality

Starts with Faculty and Staff