In the last 20 years, the University has greatly increased the number of resources for LGBTQ+ students. In 2004, UT established the Gender and Sexuality Center as a space for LGBTQ+ clubs and conferences and to provide information about gender and sexuality identities for students. In 2014, the College of Liberal Arts created a transcript-recognized certificate in LGBTQ+ studies.
There are more opportunities than ever for students to learn about LGBTQ+ identities. However, in discussions about the LGBTQ+ community, sexuality is often at the forefront while gender identity and expression is still often overlooked. The struggles of members of the community that identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual often receive more attention and consideration than those that identify as genderqueer, transgender, nonbinary, intersex and other genders that are not encapsulated in the commonly used acronym.
When discussing the challenges faced by all members of the LGBTQ+ community, we cannot exclude or marginalize the experiences of people who are trans, nonbinary or otherwise exist outside the gender binary.
Queer students at UT face unique obstacles that can interfere with their schedules, social lives and sense of belonging on campus. A limited number of gender inclusive restrooms, difficulties finding a supportive community and inadequate or outdated information can negatively impact students’ college experience.
UT must provide resources and accommodations for students of all gender identities.
American studies senior Abigail Wernsman describes her experience taking her first LGBTQ+ studies class and encourages the University to offer more classes on queer topics in order to make a more welcoming space for students of all gender identities and sexualities.
Alex Yoon, content creator of the Transgender Education Network of Texas explains why colleges need to increase their resources for genderqueer students and suggests possible programs.
As always, if you have any thoughts on this topic or any other, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]