Today, the National LBGT Federation (NXF) launched a new resource guide, which provides information, advice, considerations, and reference materials for the inclusion and protection of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students and staff in higher education, as well as for the larger LGBTQIA+ community.
The project originally began from a Trinity Equality Fund grant, specially designed to facilitate innovative and creative equality projects by staff and students across College.
The resource guide entitled “Safeguarding, Supporting, and Supervising Gender Minority Students in Institutes of Higher Education” was spearheaded by Dr Chris Chevallier, a graduate of American University, Stockholm University, and Trinity.
This new resource was established in conjunction with another Trinity alum, Dr Connor Buggy, who is an adjunct lecturer in Trinity and an assistant professor in University College Dublin (UCD).
Since 2018, Dr Chevallier has worked with Dr Susan Murphy and Dr Conor Buggy to further gender minority rights in education and broader society alongside NGO and educational partners.
The first page of this new resource for LGBTQIA+ students states: “Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have the capacity and reputation to advance LGBTQI+ representation and rights at local, national, and international levels if given the opportunity and guidance to do so. This resource guide has been designed with that in mind.”
“If HEIs take the lead in ensuring that Trans*, Non-Binary, and Gender Non-Conforming students and staff are embraced and supported as part of their educational communities, the consequent impacts on individuals and society in general will be overwhelmingly positive,” the note from the authors continued. “Some HEIs have made great strides in this area while others are more tentative in their actions, with most generally ignoring the needs of their minority groups.”
It continued: “It is our hope that this document will assist all HEIs with taking the steps necessary to create positive organisational cultural change and as a consequence impact our society.”
The resource details covers topics ranging from student housing and PhD supervision to inclusive language and campus health services while attempting to take an intersectional approach.
Based partially on survey data gathered from gender minority students in Irish third-level education, the resource is intended for readers both new to and well-versed in gender diversity issues.
Speaking to Trinity News, Dr. Connor Buggy said: “All HEIs in Ireland have the capacity to be global leaders in ensuring our scholarly communities are welcoming to all regardless of gender or gender identity.”
Dr. Buggy continued: “This resource guide can help pave the way for Irish HEIs to take on that leadership role.”
This resource stems from a collaborative project between the NXF, Transgender Equality Network Ireland, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Unit.
Dr Susan Murphy in the School of Natural Sciences in Trinity also participated in the project.
Speaking to Trinity News about the project, Dr Chris Chevallier stated: “The aim of this project has been to listen to the voices of community members, get essential information to stakeholders and our partners (TENI, the NXF, and RSCI), and develop open access resources to help inform policy and provide insights into daily lived experiences.”
“Because the pandemic has reduced resources and delayed in-person trainings, we hope this resource guide can help ameliorate this situation while getting readers to think critically about various aspects of education,” he continued. “We’re proud to say that within a week we reached nearly 1,000 staff in higher education, globally.”
Dr Chevailler added: “With this public launch through the NXF, we look forward to engaging with the Irish public and reaching a larger audience. I remain very grateful to the survey respondents for their courage and to the many allies that have supported this work.”