With each week that passes, I read of another college campus that is either looking into or implementing changes to current policies in order to enhance trans-inclusion on campus. I posted a blog in late July about USF offering trans-inclusive housing, this blog is now an update of campuses that I’ve found have recently made steps in a positive direction for their transgender students.
I was happy to see another college in the Midwest begin making improvements to their housing policy when I read that Grand Valley State University in Michigan has added “gender neutral” as an option to the student’s housing form. The article stated, “students can now request a specific person to room with regardless of gender, or be matched with others who check the option.’ The article noted that 50 small-universities nation-wide now have a gender-neutral or gender-blind policy in order to improve students sense of safety within their housing structures. UCLA also announced this week that they are looking into this policy as well.
In bigger news, I’ve now learned of three Universities that have passed student health insurance plans which will include coverage of transition related needs, meaning therapy, hormones and surgeries needed for treatment of GID (Gender Identity Disorder). While attending WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) Conference in Atlanta, Georgia three weeks ago the President of the college spoke about the process their campus went through to include transition-related health coverage within their student policy for Fall of 2011.
As the President of the college was talking, I realized how their campus got to this awesome place. It started after a student asked. From this student’s question came the discussion, the proposal, the push-back, and then the awareness of the need for students to have this option under their insurance policy. Emory now joins two other Universities with this student health plan inclusion, the University of Washington in Seattle and University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The other policy which has made me smile, is the NCAA releasing guidelines for transgender athletes. This policy will give college athletic teams guidance when they have a transgender student athlete. I hope this guidance will help alleviate some of the stress students experienced prior to the acknowledgment and recognition of their identity, athletic abilities, and gender identity.
For students seeking colleges with trans-inclusion policies in place, it would be helpful for you to review the 2011 Campus Pride Climate Index. If others know of other Universities with this policy that Campus Pride or myself haven’t been made aware of yet, please share!