When is a campus ‘safe’ for LGBTQ students?

A few days ago, I was on my way to a campus for a visit when a large crowd of young people gathered in front of the university’s student union to protest the decision to exclude trans students from a section of campus, in a move that was met with a loud and unhelpful response from campus security. 

It is not uncommon for a campus to have a transgender student who wishes to live in the community, but must leave the gender they identify with.

I am trans, but I feel a huge amount of pressure from people who don’t know me, or who don.

When I came out to my parents and university as trans, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

My life was now a little more normal.

But in the middle of all this, one group of students began a petition that was passed onto the government, the college and the university, to demand that the student union exclude trans people from the campus.

I was one of the lucky ones who had an ally in the student body.

In a letter to the president of the University of Carolina, the president and vice-president of student government wrote: We are concerned that students of color, students of mental illness and LGBTQ students are being excluded from the University’s campus.

We ask that you remove this exclusionary policy, and allow students to participate in the University and the broader campus community, without discrimination, harassment or intimidation. 

In response, the university issued a statement saying: The policy of excluding transgender students from the student council is not intended to discriminate against them. 

 In a press conference, the administration of the college defended the policy, stating: We do not discriminate against people because of who they are.

The administration believes that in order to protect the safety of students, students are encouraged to participate at the University. 

What happens now?

 I had to wait a while for the university to make a decision on whether or not I could continue to attend classes.

After all, it was only last week that I had been invited back to campus to participate as a guest lecturer in an event I was supposed to have been part of.

The first thing that I noticed when I arrived at my first lecture hall was the large number of students of colour. 

As soon as I got in, I noticed that there were students of all genders and ages there. 

I felt a little uncomfortable as I felt that I was not a part of this group, but the students were supportive. 

On the first day of classes, I spoke with the director of the Student Council, who told me that we were in the process of drafting a new policy on trans students.

I was surprised to see that the administration had put together a letter, and asked that I speak to the administration about the policy. 

When I did, they confirmed that there would be a process to ensure that trans students were able to participate. 

However, I had already heard that trans people would not be able to use the women’s restroom, and I felt like I was being discriminated against, as I had to explain that I am trans to the women I teach with, but that I do not identify as trans.

After some time of waiting, I got my first meeting with the administration.

 “There are students who have been expelled from our school for not being a ‘safe space’ for trans students,” said the dean of the student government.

“They’ve been expelled for not wearing the right attire, for not participating in the university activities, for being too aggressive or disruptive, and for other things,” she said, adding that the policy would not include trans students who are not in violation of the school’s gender norms.

As soon I asked if I could use the ladies room, the director said that there was no way I would be allowed to use that bathroom, as it was already a women’s bathroom. 

“It’s a women-only restroom,” she replied.

At that point, I realized that my only option was to find a different meeting place.

That night, I found an open spot in a nearby building, and made a list of the people who I knew were trans students, as well as those who I thought might be trans, and told them that I would not have their names or contact information leaked.

When I told them this, they immediately stopped using the women-room and began walking away.

One person who had been on the receiving end of the policy told me: We had been told to keep it secret because the policy was so strict, and we didn’t want to reveal the policy to our families.

I knew I was lucky, as the university administration was more than happy to talk to me about my concerns.

However, they would not accept my concerns about the lack of trans