ALANA U.S. Ethnic Studies Program
UVM Makes Campus Pride's First Top Ten List for Trans-Friendly Schools
- By Lee Ann Cox
Campus Pride, a national educational organization that works to create safer, more inclusive colleges and universities for LGBT students and others, named the University of Vermont in its first top-ten list of campuses that have demonstrated their commitment to supporting the transgender community.
According to the announcement on Advocate.com, transgender people within higher education continue to be a largely invisible community, with only about ten percent of institutions having trans-inclusive nondiscrimination statements. Moreover, research shows that trans people face higher rates of harassment compared to lesbian, gay and bisexual people and are three times more likely to fear for their physical safety.
Strong leadership from a number of progressive institutions over the past decade, however, is beginning to change that pervasive climate, particularly at UVM where “one would be hard pressed to find a more trans aware campus,” the Campus Pride report says. Among the efforts that earned the university’s ranking:
- Adding “gender identity/expression” to its nondiscrimination policy seven years ago and conducting “Trans 101” training sessions
- Presenting an annual, student-run "Translating Identity Conference" that will mark its tenth anniversary this fall
- Developing management system software that enables students to use a name other than their legal first name on campus records – and offering the software solution for free to other institutions with compatible management systems
“This honor is a real testament to a community ethic that’s part of Vermont and the university,” says Dot Brauer, director of UVM’s LGBTQA Center. “It’s a core value. Once people here understand how they can improve the experience of others they get excited to make it happen. It doesn’t just come from my office. People are willing to sit down at the table and put in the effort and I think that distinguishes this from other places. I have yet to run into a situation where people are unwilling to make a change because they don’t want to be inclusive. I am very proud of UVM.”