In an effort to increase campus awareness and understanding of the needs of trans and non-binary students at Chico State, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion sponsored the viewing of a webinar titled “Supporting Trans and Gender-Nonconforming Youth,” by Genny Beemyn. Beemyn is a speaker and director of the Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The session focused on the ways students express their gender identity and best practices and policies to support trans and gender non-binary students, whose gender identity is fluid. Some suggestions included ways to improve housing, facilities, health services, admissions and classroom environments.
Immediately following the webinar, Tray Robinson, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, discussed the steps Chico State has taken to become a more gender-inclusive campus. With the number of trans students rising along with complaints Robinson has received from students about pronoun issues in classrooms, the campus has seen several changes.
The issue with incorrect pronoun use in classrooms was happening with mid-semester changes, said Robinson. Chico State has, however, developed a name changing policy where students can meet with Robinson for more resources and can get free ID cards with those changes.
There is also a list of gender-inclusive campus and community restrooms on the Transgender Resources page of the Transgender Task Force website. Robinson also said that the campus is still working on ways to expand that list, in addition to similar changes in university housing since there are currently no gender-inclusive restrooms in any of the residence halls.
Another change that will actually affect all of the CSUs is the new “Gender and Sexual Orientation” format that is part of the 2016-2017 annual CSU application changes. Students will be able to specify whether they identify as LGBT for confidential reporting purposes. It was also brought to Robinson’s attention during the session that student evaluations along with the housing application only give “male” and “female” options when filling out demographic sections.
There are still many other changes that are on Robinson’s radar, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, along with other campus partners and community members, continue to strive for progress.
“We have a long way to go,” said Robinson, “but thankfully our administration is supportive.”
Christine Zuniga can be reached at [email protected] or @kissssteen on Twitter.