Gender Inclusive Campus
At the direction of Chancellor Gillman, in March 2019, I convened a campuswide taskforce to advise on the implementation of the recommendations included in the report entitled Toward an Inclusive Campus for Members of the Transgender, Gender Nonbinary and Intersex Community that was published in January 2019. This latter report originated in response to the 2019 implementation of the California Gender Recognition Act (SB 179) which added nonbinary, in addition to male and female, as an option for gender on state forms of identification. In bringing UCI into alignment with the aspiration of this state law, the campus assessed the readiness of various systems to provide for the nonbinary gender option for students, faculty, alumnae/I and staff. This report also outlined recommendations for educational and/or training resources as well as communication practices that support the transgender, nonbinary and intersex community.
To this end, the current taskforce membership reflects a broad cross section of stakeholders from across the campus, including academic and non-academic units, faculty and students, and staff and alumnae/I representatives. The taskforce focused on developing a campus implementation plan guided by three principles concerning the transgender and nonbinary communities, namely
- Legibility in various systems
- Respectful inter-personal experiences
- Full membership and participation in campus life
Over the course of seven scheduled meetings, taskforce members familiarized themselves with existing educational resources, surveyed campus units, and consulted system-wide resources. The resulting implementation plan seeks to grow the capacity of all campus stakeholders to build and sustain a more inclusive culture.
Gender Recognition and Lived Name Policy (GRLN)
In November 2020, the University of California published the new Gender Recognition and Lived Name Policy and implementation guidance to ensure all individuals will have university-issued identification documents and displays of personal identification information that recognizes their accurate gender identity and lived name. For students, the policy permits the use of lived names on transcripts, displomas, and dissertation title pages.
The UC expects all UC Locations to completely implement the policy and corresponding procedures by December 31, 2023.
UCI’s implementation of the GRLN policy is being guided by the Gender Affirmation Task Force and more information on the campus implementation can be found on the GRLN Policy Implementation page
Inclusive Culture: Implementation Plan
Legibility in Various Systems
The Gender Recognition Act has made it comparatively easier to legally change one’s gender marker on California identification forms. It is too soon to know the scale and scope of utilization of this law by campus students and employees. This means that the university and campus systems must accommodate individuals who have legally changed their gender markers and/or their legal name, as well as those who prefer to be addressed by their preferred name, which is often referred to as their lived name and lived pronouns. The larger systems that are ready or will be ready for these purposes include the student information system and the planned campus transition to UC Path for faculty and staff in December 2019. As noted in the Toward an Inclusive Culture report, there are several legacies and/or third party vendor systems that cannot accommodate a third gender marker or a lived name.
Information and directions regarding changing one’s legal name and/or updating one’s lived name should be clearly indicated on resource or landing page for students and employees. Currently, there is one page for preferred/lived name change on the registrar website for current students, and one page for the process of changing one’s legal name on UCI records after changing one’s legal name. For employees, UC Path will provide this functionality for new and incumbent employees, but until this time there is no process to allow staff to change their preferred/lived name. Human Resources will be providing information for changing names and/or updating lived name in the Employee Virtual Experience service center, which is expected to launch in early 2020.
Gender Affirmation Resources
General Statement: Inclusive excellence animates who we are as a campus and our commitment to building and sustaining a campus community where all expect equity, support diversity, practice inclusion and honor free speech.
Summary of Senate Bill 179 Gender Recognition Act: The Gender Recognition Act provides for a nonbinary gender marker on state forms of identity, as well as moving dated requirements to make it easier for residents to change their gender identity and name. Building on this state law, the campus is committed to advancing on behalf of the transgender, nonbinary and intersex community.
UC Regents Meeting: May 15, 2019 Presentations on Transgender/Nonbinary Student Experience.
Taskforce Reports: In 2018-2019, Chancellor Gillman appointed two taskforces to bring the campus into alignment with the Gender Recognition Act. The first taskforce assessed the readiness of the campus systems to provide for a third gender marker. The second taskforce focused on educational/training resources as well as inclusive communications to promote an inclusive culture on campus. (See: Toward a More Inclusive Campus for the Transgender, Intersex and Gender Nonconforming Community: A Report of the Steering Committee on Campus Readiness for the Implementation of the Gender Recognition Act (SB 179))
Respectful Inter-Personal Experiences or Encounters
This second principle requires a coherent set of educational and training resources. As noted in the Toward an Inclusive Culture report, UCI is growing and evolving as a campus that is supportive of the transgender and nonbinary community. To accelerate culture change, the campus needs a coherent approach to informing and educating all community members. These educational resources must provide a range of formats and tools for individuals to advance inclusive excellence. A campus email and video message from the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will introduce resources and emphasize their importance in advancing inclusive excellence.
Vice Chancellor’s Message on Creating a Gender Inclusive Campus
Gender Affirmation Glossary
The commonly accepted gender binary of female and male assumes a one-to-one relationship between one’s assigned gender at birth and their current gender identity. Gender is far more fluid than this assumption implies. Being an affirmative and supportive campus requires each person to understand the meaning of transgender, nonbinary and intersex identities and terms.
Cisgender – Refers to people who are not transgender in content that is about gender. Do not use terms like “normal” to describe people who are not transgender. Cisgender is not synonymous with heterosexual, which refers to sexuality.
Gender Identity—The internal perception, experience, or psychological sense of an individual’s own gender and how they may label themselves regardless of gender assigned at birth.
Gender Expression—The external display or presentation of gender identity, typically though combinations of wardrobe/style, demeanor, social behaviors and interactions. Expression does not always align or correspond with a particular identity and is culturally/socially determined.
Gender Binary—The idea/concept that there are only two (2) genders/sexes, which is determined at the time of birth. Often utilized to determine how a child should be reared.
Nonbinary—A term used to describe a plethora of identities and experiences that exist beyond and between the binary notions of gender as being male/masculine or female/feminine. Not all nonbinary individuals identify as transgender, though the majority do.
Sex—Often utilized in place of “gender assigned at birth,” but holds a complicated relationship and history for the intersex community.
Assigned Gender at Birth—The idea/concept of understanding one’s gender assigned at birth, commonly to understand the individual’s current gender identity. Ex. AFAB (assigned female at birth), AMAB (assigned male at birth).
Transgender – A term that describes a wide range of identities and experiences in which an individual identifies with/as a gender (or genders) other tan or in addition to their assigned gender at birth.
Intersex—An individual with born characteristics (anatomy, organs, chromosomes, hormones, etc.) that do not fit normative ideas of male or female. Intersex conditions are considered to be as common as red hair, though many intersex infants and children are forced to undergo nonconsensual, medically unnecessary surgeries to conform them to society’s ideals, some as early as a few months old.
Legal Name—The name registered and listed within the larger systems of government and expressed on all forms of identification.
Lived Name—The name that an individual uses in their life and differs from their legal name, but still holds just as much and/or more importance to the individual.
Dead Name – The name that an individual no longer uses and replaced with their Lived Name. Sometimes dead names and legal names are one in the same, but neither should be utilized if the Lived Name is known.
Nonconforming—A term to describe an individual who actively challenges societal expectations of their gender/perceived gender through their gender expression.
Gender Affirming—A term to note certain procedures or actions taken by a transgender and/or nonbinary person to align themselves with their identity. Ex. Gender affirming surgeries.
Inclusive Communication Practices
Being thoughtful of how we communicate with each other can go a long way in building and sustaining an inclusive culture. All members of the UCI community are encouraged to increase their understanding of how gender is reflected in verbal and written communications and actively use language and practices that are inclusive of all genders to meet the expectations set forth by administration. This information is intended as a resource designed to be respectful of transgender and nonbinary individuals. There are no specific rules for these engagements but below are some recommendations based on input from a cross sectional taskforce focused on creating an inclusive campus.
Pronouns matter when it comes to gender identity. In an effort to be more inclusive, it is important to understand and use pronouns appropriately. For example, the binary pronouns he and she do not apply to all people, and with the Gender Recognition Act, the state of California now recognizes non-binary is a third gender option. Making assumptions about a person’s gender identity may be incorrect, question their lived or legal identity, and/or otherwise make an individual feel that they do not belong. It is therefore important to avoid making assumptions about a person’s gender.
Be open to the convention of using preferred/lived pronouns in verbal communication. In some situations, it may be appropriate to ask others for their pronouns or start a conversation by sharing your own pronouns. By asking others their pronoun, sharing your own pronouns and accepting pronouns such as they/them/theirs (vs. he/she) nonbinary identities becomes legible.
- Some individuals may want to be referred to by their name as an alternative to using pronouns.
- If you are unsure, inquire if they have a preferred pronoun they would use when referring to themselves.
- Set the tone in meetings or gathering when introducing yourself – “Hi, I’m Peter Anteater and my pronouns are they, them, their.”
In written communication, many default to using he or she. While this is not incorrect, if you choose to do this, accuracy is key. It is recommended to request an individual’s preference when possible or if germaine to the topic. If in doubt, consider using they/them pronouns or the person’s name in lieu of using binary pronouns.
Options for addressing a campus colleague include avoiding male/female terms such madam/sir or Mr./Mrs./Ms. and instead use full name or title and last name; or colleagues for employees; or students for undergraduates or graduate students.
Reference Guidelines for Written Communications
- Associated Press Stylebook, a comprehensive reference manual used by writers, journalists and communications professionals, permits the use of “they” as a singular pronoun.
- UCI Editorial Style Guide is in the process of being updated to include nonbinary gender guidelines.
When alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy, they/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and-or gender-neutral pronoun. However, rewording usually is possible and preferable. Clarity is a top priority and gender-neutral use of a singular they is unfamiliar to many readers. Other pronouns such as ze or zie are not used in AP style, however, asking the individual what they prefer is recommended.
In communications about people who identify as neither male or female or ask not to be referred to as he/she/him/her, it is recommended to use the person’s name in place of a pronoun, or otherwise reword the sentence. If they/them/their use is essential, be sure that the phrasing does not imply more than one person.
Example of a written internal communication without binary pronouns
I am delighted to announce that Peter Anteater, a highly experienced leader in higher education, has been appointed our next vice chancellor. After an extensive national search, Peter quickly emerged as the top choice to lead our efforts.
Previously serving as vice provost at University and in a range of administrative leadership positions, Peter comes to UCI with more than 20 years of progressive experience in providing visionary leadership at higher education institutions.
Peter earned a B.S. and a Ph.D. at State University.
I am grateful to the search committee for their hard work in identifying and helping recruit such an outstanding leader in our administration.
Please join me in welcoming Peter to UCI.
Full Membership and Participation in Campus Life
Campus Offices and Departments
- Gender Inclusive Restrooms
- Resources to Support Transgender and Nonbinary Identities
- Safezone Training
- Transgender & Intersex Law, Policy, and Resources - Resources for legally changing one's gender identify and lived name in California and at UCI
- SB 179
- School of Humanities Gender and Sexuality Studies Undergraduate Major and Minor
- School of Humanities LGBTQ Studies Undergraduate Minor