Create More Welcoming, Safer Campuses for LGBTQ Students

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Information about Create More Welcoming, Safer Campuses for LGBTQ Students

Published on September 30, 2014

Author: Kognito



Students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) are at higher risk of discrimination and psychological distress than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. The University of Massachusetts and The Pennsylvania State University have successfully established innovative programs to foster the success of LGBTQ students. Both schools have earned five stars, the highest possible rating, on the Campus Pride Index. The Campus Pride Index is the leading measurement tool to improve the quality of life for LGBTQ students on college and university campuses and to assist campuses in becoming more LGBTQ friendly. In this webinar experts, Genny Beemyn, Allison Subasic and Shane Windmeyer will share strategies to create a safer and more inclusive campus for LGBTQ students

1. Creating More Welcoming, Safer Campuses for LGBTQ Students Genny Beemyn, Director, Stonewall Center UMass Amherst (They/Them/Their) Allison Subasic, Director, LGBTA Student Resource Center, Penn State University (She/Her) Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director, Campus Pride (He/Him) Lisa Tannenbaum, Kognito (She/Her)

2.  Campus Pride is the leading national organization for LGBTQ and ally college students and campus groups building future leaders and safer, more LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. The organization provides resources and services to thousands of college students and nearly 1400  campuses annually.

3. @CampusPride @Kognito1 #LGBTQonCampus

4. Research

5. Decreased Persistence A recent study* of students at about 100 colleges and universities nationwide found that: one-third of the Queer-spectrum respondents thirty-eight percent of the Trans-spectrum respondents said that they seriously considered leaving their institution because of the challenging climate. *Rankin, S., Blumenfeld, W. J., Weber, G. N., & Frazer, S. (2010). State of higher education for LGBT people. Campus Pride.

6. Substance Use & Abuse Among LGB People (Weber, 2008) F(1,757) = 10.18 F(1,757) = 4.40 p < .01

7. Suicidal Ideation/ Self-Harm Liu, R. T., & Mustanski, B. (2012). Suicidal ideation and self-harm in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 42(3), 221-228.

8. Practice

9. Administrative Policies ▼ Add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” to the college’s main nondiscrimination policy.  1149 colleges have LGB-inclusive nondiscrimination policies.  More than 720 colleges have trans-inclusive nondiscrimination policies.

10. How to Add “Gender Identity” Successfully to Nondiscrimination Policies  learn the different steps for changing the nondiscrimination policy  identify the key decision makers at each step of the process  educate these decision makers and other important administrators (the directors of Human Resources, Student Activities, Judicial Affairs, Residence Life, Athletics, International Student Office, Admissions, Veteran’s Office, etc.) about anti-trans prejudice and the experiences of trans students  educate and involve LGB/LGBT student groups as advocates

11. How to Add “Gender Identity” Successfully to Nondiscrimination Policies  decide what arguments will work best with different decision makers (an important student need, a human rights issue, keeping up with peer institutions, in line with state and/or city ordinances)  involve as many trans students, staff, faculty, and alumni as possible  find ways to involve individuals who may not be out as trans in the process at their comfort level  identify and cultivate influential cisgender allies (student leaders, administration officials, deans, department chairs, etc.)  seek resolutions of support from the student government, faculty senate, staff council, and diversity committees

12. How to Add “Gender Identity” Successfully to Nondiscrimination Policies  anticipate possible questions and concerns (such as someone who appears male in a women’s bathroom or locker room; what the legal ramifications will be) and be prepared to respond to them  turn to other people working in this area as needed

13. Administrative Documents ▼Enable trans students to have a name other than their legal first name on institutional documents (ID cards, class rosters, directory listings, unofficial transcripts, diplomas, etc.) upon request. ▼ Enable trans students to change the gender marker on their campus records upon request (i.e, without requiring proof that students have modified their bodies or changed their birth certificates). About 75 colleges have a “preferred name” option and about 50 have a gender change option. Note: many trans individuals are offended by the use of “preferred.”

14. Gender-Inclusive Restrooms ▼ Have a written bathroom policy that protects trans students from discrimination. Sample policy: “The University of Massachusetts, Amherst strives to create and sustain a campus environment that supports and values all members of our community. One aspect of creating a supportive environment is providing safe, accessible, and convenient bathroom facilities. Students, staff, faculty, and campus guests should use the bathroom facilities that correspond to their sex or gender identity, or utilize bathrooms that are designated gender-neutral or gender-inclusive.”

15. Gender-Inclusive Restrooms ▼ Have a policy requiring at least one gender-inclusive restroom (a bathroom open to students of all genders) in all newly constructed or significantly renovated buildings, including residence halls. ▼ Have single-occupancy men’s and women’s restrooms converted into gender-inclusive ones by installing locks and changing signs. ▼ Have gender-inclusive restrooms in at least half of the administrative and academic buildings on campus.

16. Gender-Inclusive Restrooms ▼ Have bathroom signs that do not use male and female stick figures: ▼ Have an online list/map of campus gender-inclusive restrooms.

17. Health Services ▼ Offer a student health insurance policy which covers ongoing counseling, hormones, and gender-affirming surgeries for trans students.  At least 56 colleges cover hormones and gender-affirming surgeries for students and 19 cover just hormones. ▼ Develop and make available a list of area therapists experienced in working with trans people.

18. Housing ▼ Enable trans students to self-identify on their housing application. ▼ Have a written policy that enables trans students to be housed in keeping with their gender identity/ expression. ▼ Provide an LGBT-focused living space, LGBT theme floor, or LGBT/Ally living-learning program.

19. Housing ▼ Offer a gender-inclusive housing (GIH) option (housing in which students are assigned to rooms without regard to gender) that is open to both incoming and returning students. This option should be separate from an LGBTQ-theme floor. Recognize that GIH is not the same as trans housing. It should be offered in different parts of campus and, if possible, in different types of housing (doubles, suites, apartments).

20. Housing  Apartment-style GIH is likely to be the most popular, but shared rooms should also be an option, especially if the apartment-style housing is more expensive.  GIH should include gender-inclusive bathrooms/ showers.  About 150 schools offer some form of GIH. ▼ Require residence life staff to regularly offer activities and post educational material to raise residents’ awareness of trans experiences.

21. Organizational Inclusion ▼ Develop a policy for trans students to be able to participate in intramurals and rec sports.  UMass Amherst Policy: "When an activity makes gender designation, individuals may participate in the activity based on their gender identity. If an individual's gender identity does not fit within the binary framework of man/woman or the person is in the process of transitioning to a different gender, participation in a particular gender designated activity will be handled on a case by case basis." ▼ Enable trans students to join fraternities and sororities and other gender-segregated campus organizations in keeping with their gender identity.

22. Programming and Education: Basics ▼ Establish an LGBTQ safe zone/ally training program and require all Student Affairs staff, Public Safety officers, and other front-line personnel to regularly attend a training. ▼ Develop an LGBTQA Speakers Bureau. ▼ Incorporate LGBTQ topics into orientation sessions for new students, staff, and faculty. ▼ Regularly sponsor LGBTQ speakers, performers, and other programs.

23. Programming and Education: Other Suggestions ▼ LGBTQ Studies program ▼ Mentorship program ▼ Discussion and support groups ▼ Lavender Graduation celebrations and other award and recognition ceremonies ▼ Intersectional programs to meet the diverse needs of all students ▼ Collaborations with Athletics, the Multicultural Center, the Counseling Center, religious groups, local organizations, K-12 schools, etc.

24. Programming and Education: Other Suggestions ▼ Offer additional educational workshops (LGBT and other identities, Trans 101, etc.). ▼ Host LGBTQA regional conferences. ▼ Assist students with attending other regional LGBTQA conferences. ▼ Advise LGBTQA student groups. ▼ Provide LGBTQA leadership retreats. ▼Develop a campus resource library of current books, magazines, and educational dvds in the LGBTQA center or in the main library.

25. Programming and Education: ▼ Offer student internships in offices for credit or work study. ▼ Work with graduate programs to develop graduate assistantships and internships in the LGBTQA center. ▼ Work with alumni to create career connections, programming endowments, and scholarships. ▼ Create a student advisory board to the LGBTQA center. Other Suggestions

26. Valuable Lessons Learned  Mentor and advocate for students, not friends  Students can be activists, administrators cannot  Administrators can advocate. Know the difference  Be professional. Do not burn any bridges on campus. Follow up and say ‘Thank you’  Create a strong alumni base. It may come in handy  Teach students to do programming and help with advertising  Work collaboratively with students  You will never please everyone all the time  Do not take things personally, which can be difficult when it is identity work  Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate  You can not do it all, start small and focus on doing a great job on each program before moving on  Treat speakers and guests well, like family

27. Resources LGBTQ Architect Campus Pride Trans Policy Clearinghouse: LGBT-Friendly Campus Pride Index: Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals:

28. Q & A Feel free to type in or ask questions of the presenters…

29. Further Questions? Feel free to email us. Allison: Genny: Shane Windmeyer: Lisa Tannenbaum:

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