Author: Barbara Gurr

UConn Positioned to Take the Lead on Gender Minority Student Accommodations

“We’ve gone from being one of the most homophobic campuses in the country to one of the most LGBT friendly, and that’s amazing. It puts us in a really good situation to get even better.”

— Barbara Gurr, WGSS professor and principal investigator of the study

A recent study by the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department said the University of Connecticut should address the needs of gender minority students by increasing access to gender-neutral bathrooms and expanding faculty training.

The preliminary findings are based on a series of 39 online surveys responses and in-person interviews conducted by WGSS staff and undergraduates in which gender minority students were asked to describe their experiences on UConn’s Storrs campus. Students identifying as transgender, gender nonconforming, nonbinary and otherwise genderqueer described unreliable access to gender-neutral bathrooms as one of their top concerns.

For some, this was due to a genuine preference for neutral facilities, while others preferred single-stall accommodations to avoid transphobic harassment from their peers, said WGSS professor and principal investigator Barbara Gurr.

“Some students pass, and some students don’t,” Gurr said, using the term “passing” to describe a person’s ability to be perceived as a cisgender (not transgender) man or woman. “Some students are gender nonconforming and may not visually fit the box of one gender or another, so students would really prefer a choice.”

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