It has been a year of movement for initiatives and programs supporting trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students, faculty, and staff on campus including: the emerging student organization, the UI Trans Alliance, a brand new gender-inclusive restroom map, a trans communities resource website, and the Inclusive Student Records Initiative.
UI Trans Alliance
The University of Iowa Trans Alliance became an officially recognized student organization in May 2015. This group aims to create a safe space and a community for students who identify as trans, non-binary, or gender non-conforming and serve as a base for advocacy and activism through events and other educational opportunities.
The group held two signature events this past year, Trans Awareness Week and the Trans Week of Action, both providing educational opportunities for the UI community as well as social opportunities for individuals who identify as trans, non-binary, or gender non-conforming and their allies.
In May 2016 the UI Trans Alliance received awards for Most Promising New Student Organization and Outstanding Diversity Program during the Hawkeye Leadership & Service Awards.
“Being the president of the UI Trans Alliance has been one of my biggest learning experiences,” said Sean Finn, president of UI Trans Alliance. “I’ve learned so many skills, such as event planning, and I’ve learned a lot about my own limitations. I can’t do everything so it’s important to lean on others in the group to complete the work.”
In the coming year the UI Trans Alliance plans to draw in more student members, continue programming to spread awareness of trans issues and increase public knowledge of trans experiences, and cultivate leadership for the coming years. Learn more about the UI Trans Alliance on its website.
The goal of the gender-inclusive restroom project was to create inclusive and accessible restrooms on campus for all University of Iowa students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors. During the spring semester over 40 volunteers audited nearly 1000 publicly accessible restrooms in 102 buildings on campus.
“Gender-inclusive restrooms are essential to creating a campus that is safe, inclusive, and supportive to trans students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors at the University of Iowa. It supports the mental and physical health of trans folks on our campus, and helps everyone more fully participate in campus life,” said Meagan Schorr, member of the project work group and community health educator the Iowa Cancer Consortium (formerly at WRAC).
Trans Communities Resource Website
A new resource website is available for trans communities and their allies. The Resources for Trans Communities and Their Allies website includes information around healthcare, violence prevention, policies, events, etc.; how-to information on changing UI records, legal identity documents, etc.; and educational resources for allies.
“Having targeted and specific resources for diverse gender identities is useful to all gender variant identities. It allows the trans community to become aware there are resources available, and signals to these individuals that their genuine identity matters to us,” says Kendra Malone, member of the Trans Resource Website work group and Diversity Resources Coordinator in the Chief Diversity Office.
Inclusive Student Records Initiative
Students can now specify their preferred name and pronouns as a part of the Inclusive Student Records Initiative. Learn more about these changes in the Iowa Now article.