Transgender

Transgender Equality Policy Statement:

https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/media/departmental/humanresources/Trans-statement-04-2017-final.pdf

Dress Codes and Use of Facilities:

Aberystwyth University does not insist on any particular dress for its employees or students, except where there are health and safety or security concerns, or where a job or placement requires a uniform or protective clothing to be worn. 

The line manager must discuss with the member of staff when they wish to start dressing and presenting themselves in their affirmed gender and whether this will be a phased process. The manager or HR Business Partner should make the person aware of the University dress code (as outlined above) and if the individual feels that this will hinder their presentation during or after transition in some way then the individual's line manager will, with the aim of finding a satisfactory compromise, sympathetically consider the issue consistent with the objectives of this policy.

Use of Facilities:

As soon as a staff member is living in a gender role permanently even if they have not undergone or do not intend to undergo medical or surgical procedures, they are entitled to have access to the facilities of their affirmed gender. This includes toilets and changing rooms.

Under no circumstances should the staff member be asked or instructed to use accessible toilets or the toilet of the sex they were assigned at birth. Unless, they would like to or must use this toilet for accessibility reasons.

At Aberystwyth University we also have some gender neutral toilets at various locations around the college. These may be used by anybody, and transgender people may choose to use them, but they must not be re-directed to them.

Changes to name records for members of staff at Aberystwyth University

If an individual wants to be known by a preferred name on the Pobl Aber People HR system, then they can do this at any time. There is no legal procedure to follow in order to add a preferred name.

Many people who change their gender identity do decide to change their given name. The University will update its records when individuals provide evidence of a formal process to change their given name; this can be done by Deed Poll, which is offered free or at low cost by various online companies. An alternative way to change one’s given name is to make a Statutory Declaration.

Staff should contact the HR team on Ext 8555 or email thr@aber.ac.uk if they have any queries in relation to updating their details on the PoblAberPeople HR system

An individual may also ask colleagues to use a different name informally, before making a formal request to add a preferred name to their records. Colleagues should be respectful of such a request and ensure that going forward the preferred name is used when referring to the individual.

An individual who is transitioning can update any photographs on their University cards and on University webpages through contacting is@aber.ac.uk . An individual who is transitioning may wish to make several changes as their physical appearance changes over time. They can do this through contacting the Information Services team on is@aber.ac.uk – if they want support in doing this, they can contact the Equalities Officer for further guidance at divstaff@aber.ac.uk. It is worth noting however that the University will only provide one University staff card at a time.

Where possible, information relating to a staff member’s previous identity that needs to be retained, such as copies of qualification certificates, will be kept confidentially within their staff record file. Please see here for how your personal information is kept. 

Guidance for managers and colleagues 

Terminology and vocabulary

The words we use can have a huge impact on others. While a change in terminology may seem trivial to us, using problematic language could indicate a lack of support or could perpetuate harmful stereotypes, as such we have included some guidance as to the use of language regarding transgender people.

  • Once a trans person has made known their chosen name, this name should be used in all circumstances, rather than their birth name. It is never appropriate to put quotation marks around either the trans person’s chosen name or the pronoun that reflects their gender identity.
  • A person who identifies as a certain gender, whether or not they have taken hormones or had surgery, should be referred to using the pronoun (he, she or they) appropriate for that gender. If you are not sure what the correct pronoun is, ask the person what they prefer.
  • While many people do identify within the gender binary (male or female) many people do not. This is not a new phenomena and has a long history in various cultures. In the UK many people who identify as having a non-binary gender will use the singular they as a gender neutral pronoun. While to some ears this may sound grammatically incorrect, the use of the singular they has a long history in English and should be considered just as valid as the traditional binary pronouns. As in all other cases, use of the pronoun that a person states best reflects their identity is considered respectful, and the use of other pronouns would be disrespectful.
  • It is not appropriate to use the terms ‘sex change’ or ‘pre-/post-operative’. These imply that the process of transition must involve some form of surgery, which may not necessarily be the case.
  • The word transgender, often shortened to trans, is an adjective. It can be considered rude or ignorant to use it as a noun (as in: “is he a transgender”) or as a verb ( “they were transgendered”). For example a group may be described as a group of transgender people, but should not be referred to as “a group of transgenders”
  • If you would not consider it appropriate to ask a cisgender (non-transgender) colleague about their genitals or other elements of their reproductive system, it is most likely not appropriate to ask the same of a transgender colleague. Similarly unsolicited questions about surgeries may also be inappropriate.

Conduct and Communication:

In addition to the vocabulary we use, the substance of what we say and how we treat eachother is also important.

  • Revealing to others that someone is transgender without their permission is referred to as “outing” them. Doing this is not only disrespectful, but could endanger a person if they are not in a situation where it is safe for them to tell people that they are transgender. Staff should avoid disclosing to other that a colleague is trans, unless the trans person in question has specifically requested that they tell others.
  • A trans person may want to tell their colleagues or fellow students about their transition individually. The individual should be free to choose whether they make an announcement themselves or not.
  • A trans person should have access to ‘men-only’ and ‘women-only’ areas – such as changing rooms and toilets – according to the gender in which they present. This may mean that a person changes the facilities they use at the point when they transition.
  • It is good practice to allow enough flexibility so that any dress codes do not reinforce binary gender choice or gender stereotypes. Dress codes that set out very specific and different requirements for men and women may create practical difficulties for some trans people.
  • Bullying, harassment and discrimination are unlawful and will not be tolerated. Our policies protect the rights of trans people to dignity at work and in their studies.
  • While refraining from harmful conduct is necessary, it may not be enough to simply not actively cause problems. When possible we should seek to be allies to our colleagues to make things better for each other. For example In addition to using the correct pronouns for someone, it can, with their permission, be a good idea to challenge or correct others if they use the wrong pronouns. This can use useful as it may be taxing or an unwanted confrontation for a transgender person to do this, and helping them in this way can be a practical demonstration of solidarity.

 

Glossary:

(Thanks to Gendered Intelligence / Goverment Equalities Office)

Terms and language regarding transgender people and transgender issues are evolving rapidly and many terms may mean different things to different people. The definitions given here are the common, but not universal, understandings of these terms. 

Acquired Gender

The law uses the phrase 'acquired gender' to refer to the gender in which a transgender person lives and presents to the world. This is not the gender that they were assigned at birth, but it is the gender in which they should be treated.

Cross-Dresser

Someone who wears the clothes usually expected to be worn by someone of the ‘opposite’ gender. Other terms include ‘transvestite’ (now becoming a dated term and disliked by some) and ‘dual role’. A cross-dresser is unlikely to have a full-time identity as a member of their cross-dressed gender and typically does not seek medical intervention.

Gender Binary

A binary system allows only two things or states – for example, on/off. In terms of gender, it refers to the ‘either/or’ categories of male/female that do not allow for, or recognise, other experiences of gender.

Gender Dysphoria

Transgender people who seek medical intervention are typically diagnosed with ‘gender dysphoria’ as a first step. Gender dysphoria describes the sense of a strong, persistent discomfort or distress caused by the dissonance between a person’s self-identified gender and the gender they were assigned at birth.

Gender Identity

A person’s sense of self as a man, woman, non-binary person or other sense of gender.  A person’s gender identity is typically expected to follow directly from the sex they were assigned at birth (based on physical attributes), but this is not always the case.

Gender Reassignment

The process of changing or transitioning from one gender to another.

Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC)

A certificate issued under the GRA which enables someone to be legally recognised in their acquired gender.

Mis-Gendering

You mis-gender someone when you refer to them using a word, especially a pronoun or a form of address, which does not correctly reflect the gender with which they identify. 

Non-Binary Person

Someone who does not subscribe to the customary binary approach to gender, and who may regard themselves as neither male nor female, or both male and female, or take another approach to gender entirely. 

A Transgender (or trans) person

A broad, inclusive term referring to anyone whose personal experience of gender extends beyond the typical experiences of those of their assigned sex. Amongst others, transsexual people, non-binary people and cross-dressers may all consider themselves transgender people.

Transsexual Person

This term is most closely associated with the legally protected characteristic of ‘gender reassignment’. A transsexual person may be a person assigned female at birth who has transitioned or is transitioning to live as a man, or a person assigned male at birth who has transitioned or is transitioning to live as a woman. The law does not require a person to undergo a medical procedure to be recognised as a transsexual person. Once a transsexual person has acquired a GRC, they should generally be treated entirely as in their acquired gender. 

Transgender Man

A transgender man is a female-to-male transgender person who was assigned female at birth but has a male gender identity.

Transgender Woman

A transgender woman is a male-to-female transgender person who was assigned male at birth but has a female gender identity. 

Transition

The journey a transgender person takes from their assigned gender to the one they know themselves to be. This may refer to social transition (changing name, clothes etc), medical transition (hormones and/or surgery) or both.

How to be Gender Neutral/Inclusive:

Best practice is to ask what pronouns people want to use and what they use themselves. 

Many meetings have this as part of an introduction round, e.g 'Hi I’m Debra Croft, Director of Equality for Aberystwyth University. I use Dr or Ms and they or she as a pronoun.'

SENTENCE PART

GENDERED EXAMPLE

NON-GENDERED EXAMPLE

Also in use (written / international – e.g. journals)

SUBJECT

She / He laughed at the idea of non-binary gender

They laughed at the idea of non-binary gender

Zie

Per

Xe

OBJECT

They tried to convince her / him that asexuality doesn’t exist

They tried to convince them that asexuality doesn’t exist

Hir

Per

Xem

POSESSIVE

His / Her favourite colour is unknown

Their favourite colour is unknown

Hir

Pers

Xyr

POSSESSIVE PRONOUN

The mug is his / hers

The mug is theirs

Hirs

Pers

Xyrs

REFLEXIVE

The manager thinks highly of herself / himself

The manager thinks highly of  themself

Hirself

Perself

Xemself

TITLES

Miss, Mrs, Ms,

Mr

Mx

Mx