Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students

United States Student Association
For More Information: Contact the United States Student Association @ 1413 K Street NW, 9th Floor, Washington DC 20005
Phone: 202.347.USSA Fax: 202.393.5886 e-mail: lgbt@usstudents.org web site: http://www.usstudents.org
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and
Transgender Students
Gender Identity: A person’s own sense of their identity as a man, woman, or a combination of both or neither.
Gender Expression: The external presentation or appearance of a person’s gender.
Transgender: An umbrella term used to describe people who do not fit into traditional gender roles. Many people who
consider themselves to be transgender have a gender identity and or expression that is not congruent with their biological
Transsexual: A person who pursues gender reassignment through use of hormones, surgery, and/or a change in identity, to
live in a gender other than the one assigned at birth.
Female to Male: Used to identify a person who was assigned female at birth and who identifies as male or masculine and
lives as a man.
Male to Female: Used to identify a person who was assigned male at birth who identifies as female or feminine and lives
as a woman.
Transition: The period during which transgender individuals begin to live a new life in their gender. This can include taking
hormones and having surgery.
Transphobia: A fear or discomfort with transgender, transsexual, or gender variant people.
Transgender Student Access
Gender specific (men only/women only) restrooms pose a
double bind for transgender people. Each time a trans-
gender person needs to use a restroom a decision has to
be made about which facility to enter. Regardless of the
choice made, a transgender person faces issues. For ex-
ample in some states, a female to male transgender per-
son who is still legally considered female can be arrested
for using the men’s room. However if that person attempts
to use the women’s room he potentially faces harassment
by other occupants and police.
Your university should
  • Have all future construction include a single occupancy, gender neutral restroom in the same location as multiple occupancy restrooms.
  • Make all single occupancy restrooms gender neutral and provide a map locating all of those.
  • Designate certain multi-stall restrooms as gender neutral.
  • Allow people to use the restroom that is appropriate for their gender identity and/or the restroom they feel safest in.
A male to female student enrolls in a university. Where does that university house this student? This is especially an issue for schools that do not have coed housing options. If this student is still legally male than she will usually be placed with a male roommate which can lead to issues of safety
and comfort. Most campuses do not have policies regarding housing for transgender students. On top of this, Residence Hall Assistants often do not have the information and knowledge needed to handle the problems that transgender students may encounter with their roommates.
Your university should…
  • Provide roommate facilitation and room transgender students with someone who is educated, understanding, and supportive of transgender issues.
  • Place transgender students in single rooms and waive additional fees for these rooms.
  • Provide Residence Hall Assistants with sensitivity trainings and educational materials around transgender issues.
  • Place transgender students where they feel the most safe and comfortable.
Create LGBT-themed floors/dorms and coed rooms.
Institutional Support and Resources
Very few universities have policies that protect transgender students and make campuses more accessible for transgender people. This leaves transgender students open to abuse from others in the university and does not provide these students with a place to voice issues or concerns. Staff and faculty on college campuses are often not educated about the issues that transgender students face on campus and therefore cannot properly advocate on the behalf of these students, or modify there own behavior, language, and classes to be more inclusive of and sen-
sitive to transgender people.
Your university should:
Include gender identity and expression as a protected category in all antidiscrimination policies on campus.
Provide trainings for campus staff and faculty on transgender issues.
Establish and publicize a method of reporting transgender related harassment on campus.
Assure that all resources for LGBT students include information for and about transgender people and issues.
Mental and Physical Health Care
Most mental and physical health care facilities on campus do not have the information or training needed to properly treat transgender people. Health centers are not often equipped to work with the specific physical health care needs of transgender people such as monitoring hormones and
health problems associated with hormone use and pre and post surgical needs.
Counseling centers on campus rarely have staff who are prepared to handle the mental health needs of transgender people. This can lead to an unnecessary delay in a person’s transition and damaging therapeutic care.
Your university should…
  • Provide mental and physical health services with sensitivity trainings and educational resources on the needs of transgender people.
  • Require counseling centers to have at least one staff person equipped to handle the mental care of LGBT students, and health clinics to have at least one staff person equipped to handle the physical care of transgender students.
  • Offer health care that covers therapy and hormones.
Identification Cards
Most universities require students to have ID cards in order to access their dormito-
ries, libraries, and computer centers. This poses a problem for transgender students
whose legal name is not their commonly used name and whose gender expression is not congruent with their legal name and picture on their ID. This can lead to harassment from university staff and the inability to access spaces on campus that are necessary for collegiate success.
Your university should:
  • Allow students to have just their legal first and middle initials and full legal last name on ID cards.
  • Waive fees for getting a new picture taken.
  • For the students who have had legal name changes, simplify the process of changing their name on university documentation.
College and University Non-Discrimi-
nation Policies that Include Gender


Hate Crimes and Higher Education Act