Rise in number of HEIs seeking advice on supporting trans people
HEIs actively seeking to support trans staff and students
Higher education institutions are more likely than ever to ask for advice on meeting the needs of staff and students who are planning to transition, or have transitioned, to their preferred gender, Equality Challenge Unit said today.
ECU revealed that it has experienced a significant increase in queries from institutions on a range of issues relating to trans staff and students, and has therefore launched a fully revised edition of its guidance for the sector.
The increase is in line with recent re-evaluations of the number of trans people, which show there are between 300,000 and 500,000 trans people in the UK . It also comes at a time when the law in relation to equality for trans people is being strengthened by the Equality Act 2010.
Levi Pay, Policy Director at ECU, said:
'When ECU first published guidance relating to trans people working and studying in higher education in 2008, it was considered, given the statistics available at the time, that it would be rare for institutions to have a trans member of staff or student.
The increase in the number of institutions contacting us for advice suggests that it is far more likely than previously thought for an institution to have trans staff and students. It also shows that institutions are increasingly aware of their responsibilities for creating inclusive environments in which people feel able to live in, or transition to, their preferred gender.
When a staff member or student transitions, there are a wide range of very practical implications for an institution - relating, for example, to pensions provision, the membership of single-sex sports clubs or managing the reactions of colleagues or fellow students.
Some institutions are still unsure of how to support trans people. In light of this, and due to the increased emphasis placed on gender reassignment by the Equality Act 2010, we have fully revised our guidance for the higher education sector.
At ECU, we have seen the number of downloads of the first edition of our trans equality guidance increase by 200% over the past six months. We expect our revised guidance, with its focus on answering the practical questions that institutions have on this subject, to be just as popular.'
The guidance, will help institutions to meet their legal responsibilities, ensure their policies and procedures better meet the needs of trans people, and most importantly, provide effective support to staff and students during transition. It revises and replaces ECU's previous guidance, published in 2008.
ECU is distributing copies of Trans staff and students in higher education: revised 2010 to all higher education institutions as a practical resource, with the recommendation that it is used to inform the development of institutional policies and processes to support, and combat discrimination against, trans staff and students.
Download the guidance
 Reed, B., Rhodes, S., Schofield, P. and Wylie, K (2009) Gender variance in the UK: prevalence, incidence, growth and geographic distribution Gender Identity Research and Education Society.