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Inclusive Practices for Gender Identity and/or Gender Expression: Supporting Transgender* Student Success. Saby Labor Women’s & LGBTQ Student Services Coordinator and Retention Specialist Metropolitan State University. My preferred pronouns: She/her/hers They/them/theirs.

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Inclusive Practices for Gender Identity and/or Gender Expression: Supporting Transgender* Student Success

Saby Labor

Women’s & LGBTQ Student Services Coordinator and Retention Specialist

Metropolitan State University

My preferred pronouns: She/her/hers



Guiding Assumptions

  • Learning Outcomes
  • Common Language
  • Global, Federal, State & Local Context
  • Strategies for Recruitment, Retention, and Transgender* Student Success
  • Community Resources
  • Taking Action – Making a Commitment
guiding assumptions

Transgender* students are enrolled at MnSCU institutions

  • Not all transgender* students are able to live their identities visibly
  • Allies are absolutely vital to the health and wellbeing of transgender* communities
Guiding Assumptions
learning outcomes

Provide an overview of terminology pertaining to transgender* students

  • Examine policies and trends at higher education institutions across the nation
  • Provide recommendations for strategies that support recruitment, retention, and success
  • Provide resources for transgender* services and education
Learning Outcomes
common language

Gender Identity – refers to a person’s innate, deeply felt psychological identification as male or female, which may or may not correspond to the person’s body or designated sex at birth (meaning what sex was originally listed on a person’s birth certificate).

  • Gender Expression – refers to all of the external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine, such as dress, grooming, mannerisms, speech patterns and social interactions. Social or cultural norms can vary widely and some characteristics that may be accepted as masculine, feminine or neutral in one culture may not be assessed similarly in another.
Common Language
common language1

Transgender* - An umbrella term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth, including but not limited to transsexuals, two spirit, androgynous people, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming people. Transgender is a broad term and is good for non-transgender people to use. “Trans” is shorthand for “transgender.”

Source: National Center for Transgender Equality

Common Language
common language2

MTF (Male-to-Female or Transwoman) – A term for a transgender individual who currently identifies as a woman.

  • FTM (Female-to-Male or Transman) – A term for a transgender individual who currently identifies as a man.
Common Language

Lack of language to capture complexity of gender and gender variant people

  • Lack of empirical research on transgender college student population
  • Adherence to gender binary categories is limiting
  • Confusing “sex” with “gender” as categories masks
federal state local context1


Gender Identity/Expression was added to Title IX legislation in 2012 as a protected class

Federal, State & Local Context
federal state local context2


  • 16 states and D.C. have gender identity nondiscrimination laws
    • Minnesota was the first state to implement in 1993
Federal, State & Local Context
federal state local context3


  • Minneapolis - first city/jurisdiction to protect gender identity in 1975
  • St. Paul - 7thcity or jurisdiction to protect gender identity in 1990
Federal, State & Local Context
federal state local context4


MnSCU added gender identity and gender expression in 2012 to 1B.1 policy

Federal, State & Local Context
federal state local context5

731 (16%) colleges and universities have nondiscrimination policies that include gender identity or gender expression


Federal, State & Local Context
strategies for recruitment retention and transgender student success
Strategies for Recruitment, Retention, and Transgender* Student Success

Preferred Name

Preferred Gender

Facilities and Signage



impacted areas

Preferred Name Practices

  • Preferred Gender Practices
  • Health Insurance
  • Facilities & Signage
  • Greek Life
  • Housing
  • Financial Aid & Payroll
  • Visa Status & Immigration
  • Athletics
  • Campus Vendors
Impacted Areas
preferred name practices

76Colleges Enable Students to Use a Chosen First Name, Instead of Their Legal Name, on Campus Records and Documents (such as ID Cards, Course Rosters, and Directory Listings)


Preferred Name Practices
areas impacted by preferred name practices

Class Rosters

  • ID Cards
  • Student employment records
  • Diplomas
  • Commencement programs
  • Transcripts
  • Admissions application
  • Websites
  • Directories
  • Desire 2 Learn
  • Email Accounts
  • Safety and Security processes
  • Medical and health records
  • Classroom rosters
  • Institutional communications
Areas Impacted by Preferred Name Practices
preferred gender practices

47Institutions Enable Students to Change the Gender on Their Campus Records without Evidence of Medical Intervention

  • 8 of these Institutions Do not require Supporting Documentation


  • When creating templates or surveys, consider the following:
    • What purpose does this data serve? Do we REALLY need data on sex/gender?
    • Use alternative question forms for “the sex/gender question”

Example: Male



Other: _____

  • Use the person’s preferred gender pronoun

Example: She/her/hers



Preferred Gender Practices
facilities and signage


  • Locker Rooms
  • Housing
  • Study Abroad
  • Off-site travel
  • Campus Maps
Facilities and Signage
student health insurance

51 colleges and universities cover hormones and gender reassignment/confirmation surgeries for students.

  • 20Colleges and Universities Cover Just Hormones for Students 


University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Student Health Insurance
gender inclusive student housing

150 Colleges and Universities Have Gender-Inclusive Housing Housingin which students can have a roommate of any gender

  • In Minnesota:
    • Augsburg College, 2011
    • Carleton College

Generally not open to first-year students; available throughout campus

    • Macalester College, 2005

Available in a number of residence halls; open to all students

  • In Wisconsin:
    • University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, 2013

Available in suite-style housing

    • University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2013

Available in the “Open House Gender Learning Community”

    • University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 2013

Available in a suite-style residence hall


Gender-Inclusive Student Housing
communicating inclusive policies and practices


    • Trans Resource Guide
      • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
      • University of California, Riverside
    • FAQ’s
      • Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Digital Booklets
    • CSULA Guide to LGBTQIPA+ Life on Campus
  • Admissions and Outreach Materials
Communicating Inclusive Policies and Practices
recruitment strategies

LGBTQ College Fairs

  • Pride Festival and Parade
  • Co-sponsoring Community Outreach Events
  • Admissions and Outreach Material
  • Admissions Liaisons
  • Communicate Inclusive Policies and Practices
  • Campus Pride Index
Recruitment Strategies
assessing your campus policies and practices
Assessing Your Campus Policies and Practices

Transgender Checklist for Colleges and Universities

trans checklist for colleges universities

Language and Processes

  • Physical Access
  • Organizational Inclusion
  • Health Services
  • Education
Trans Checklist for Colleges & Universities
additional resources
Additional Resources

Twin Cities


transgender resources

Campus Pride Trans Policy Clearinghouse

    • Transgender policies at colleges and universities
  • Minnesota GLBTA Campus Alliance
    • Education and Training
    • Campus Resource Guide 2014
    • Hosts the Minnesota OUT! Campus Conference (MOCC)
  • Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition
    • Shot Clinic
    • Trans-Inclusive Trainings for Health Professionals
    • Syringe Exchange
    • (612) 823-1152
  • Trans Youth Support Network (TYSN)
    • Education
    • Youth Leadership Development
    • Advocacy
    • (612) 208-9762
  • Transgender Commission, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
    • Education and Training
    • Gender –Inclusive Policy
  • University of Minnesota
    • Hosts the University of Minnesota System Wide Summit on GLBT Issues
  • Metropolitan State:
    • LGBTQ Ally Training Program
    • Trans* Ally Training Program
    • Gender and Sexuality Workshops
    • Student Advocacy
    • GLBT and Ally Scholarship
    • Gender-Inclusive Policy
    • (651) 793-1544
Transgender Resources