Friday, August 31, 2007

More University Antidiscrimination Policies Protect Transgender Students

The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition keeps track of colleges and universities' efforts to protect transgender and gender-nonconforming students from discrimination. Their second annual GENIUS Index (Gender Equality National Index for Universities & Schools) finds that 147 colleges (slightly more than half of those surveyed) have a nondiscrimination policy that includes gender identity and expression as a protected category. This trend is even more apparent among the so-called "top" universities, where 2/3 -- including all 8 Ivy League schools -- report antidiscrimination policies that include such protections.

Policies that protect "gender identity and expression" potentially provide greater protection to transgender and gender nonconforming students than sex discrimination statutes such as Title IX, which are subject to arguments that they only cover discrimination based on one's biological sex. Such protection is important, say GenderPAC and others, due to the high numbers of students reporting harassment and discrimination due to perceived gender nonconformity.

N.B. This blogger's institution, Western New England College (a "top" college in my book!) added gender identity and expression to its nondiscrimination policy last year.

Sept 20 update: Stanford, noticeably absent from the GENIUS Index, has since revised its nondiscrimination policy to include gender identity.

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