Looking deep into the issues concerning gender neutrality in university campuses across America
Gender neutrality on educational campuses and across America has increasingly become a hot button issue for a few years. Students are taking a very prominent role in eliminating discrimination based on gender. Dr. Genny Beemyn is a leading expert in the experiences of trans people and Director of The Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Beemyn wrote an article that throws light on gender neutrality and raises many questions and ideas about how colleges and universities can create a more welcoming campus climate for transgender people. The article mentions that even though the need to acknowledge different educational sphere identities has already been stressed enough, the action is not being taken to create a more holistic and trans-enabling atmosphere on campuses. The movement towards creating an inclusive environment has been very slow, but gender-neutral environments will ultimately happen across campuses led by students. Many universities have done a lot to achieve gender neutrality on campuses. There is still a long way to go for our society in providing equal protection to the LGBTQ community, and campuses are a subset of problems in our society. This article will delve deeper into the issues regarding creating a holistically welcoming gender-neutral space across the campuses.
Challenges and roadblocks that persist on the road to Gender Neutrality
Many universities are coming forward and offering the much-needed change in transforming the overall discriminatory and unreceptive attitude towards LGBTQ students. However, many issues remain. In a research conducted by Brett, Billy Curtis, Meson Davis, Nancy Jean Tubbs, they observed and emphasized the unique concerns that still resurface across campuses in the US. They are often overlooked and never recognized as serious concerns despite the gravity they behold. Sadly, they continue to pose challenges on the path to achieve complete gender neutrality on campuses. Here are some areas that educational institutions can focus on to provide immediate assistance to the LGBTQ community.
Counseling and Healthcare: According to the recent survey conducted at the University of Michigan, many LGBTQ students have reported the unavailability of adequate psychological support and counseling help to cope with discriminatory jokes, slander, and unsupportive surroundings. The LGBTQ community is also a target of cyberbullying, online trolling, and obnoxious social media comments, which cause anxiety, stress, and depression. Having proper controls on IT infrastructure to block such things from happening and providing adequate counseling to help centers will provide relief.
Campus Housing: Many housing hubs and societies are still far from acknowledging and accepting transgender communities. This problem exists on campuses too. That is why many LGBTQ students are fighting for equality in primary accommodation facilities. Universities can recognize this and make it easy for LGBTQ members to get campus housing without getting discriminated against.
Bathrooms & locker room facility: Transgender students are exceedingly vulnerable to bullying, violence, and harassment –mental, physical, and/or sexual. Research suggests that many transgender students have reportedly faced verbal and physical abuse in restrooms and lockers that often cause many students. Some LGBTQ students are also forced to go to the farther restroom and locker room facilities to access cured facilities. Some LGTBQ members avoid many campus recreational activities and physical training activities just because of who they are. Universities can fix all this by starting to treat LGBTQ as equal citizens.
Progress has been made
While many challenges remain, a lot of progress has been made so far. Many universities have changed rules and discriminating free campuses a priority. Here are some areas where universities took the lead:
Educational institutions have started to accept the diverse needs of transgender students. Many universities, such as Ohio University, have established simple procedures to change and update their college records for LGBTQ students. At Ohio University, transgender students can change their names along with gender identity if they wish to. Maryland University has taken similar steps. The University of Vermont also allows transgender students to claim an id card with the changed gender identity. We should be proud of such universities that are trying to create equality.
Campuses across the country are coming forward to improve the quality of healthcare services, focusing on mental health aid; the University of Michigan has healthcare and counseling programs specific to transgender students. To create a welcoming environment for transgender students, UC Berkeley created a website that expands healthcare access for transgender students.
Universities and students are coming forward to create fearless and safe spaces for the LGBTQ community. This includes creating gender-neutral restrooms, locker facilities, etc. For example – The students association at San Diego University has passed a resolution for the creation of transgender-friendly bathrooms and locker rooms across the campus.
A lot has been achieved in a nutshell, but there is still a long way to achieve complete gender neutrality on university campuses. It is high time for all educational institutions to recognize the needs of LGBTQ students. And give them their right to exist, live, survive & thrive, educate, and build careers on their terms just like everyone else.
Here at Online Masters Colleges (OMC), we strongly believe that achieving gender neutrality requires spreading awareness and inducing sensitivity towards acceptance and inclusion of gender diverse and transgender students in America. At OMC, we also believe in equality for the LGBTQ community, not just in our educational system but also in our society. It’s time to take a collective stand to infuse more equality and fairness in our education system, including life on the campuses.
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