Trans*Forming Higher Education to Advance Workforce Diversity

Trans*Forming Higher Education to Advance Workforce Diversity

Catherine L. Langford
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1933-1.ch052
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The discrimination transgender persons experience in their educational pursuits, as well as their personal, public, and private lives, negatively impacts their ability to obtain and to maintain work. Trans individuals experience frequent harassment and violence in school, discrimination in the workplace, and high rates of poverty. This chapter reviews the prevalence and implications of trans targeting before surveying judicial opinions and legal statutes that work to protect or to discriminate against transfolk. Although the laws are mixed, more and more legislative codes and judicial opinions advance trans rights and consider gender identity and expression a protected class of people. This chapter suggests different policies, programs, and protocols college campuses can adopt to create a safe, inclusive, and productive educational environment for trans students. Doing so will educate cisgender individuals about trans issues and legal rights as well as prepare trans workers to enter into the workforce.
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As an umbrella term, trans (transgender, trans, or trans*) references people who identify as outside the gender binary system of male or female. Whereas gender identity refers to the preferred gender people use to define themselves, gender expression refers to how people communicate their preferred gender to others. A transman, or a FTM, identifies as male. A transwoman, or a MTF, identifies as female. A transsexual seeks to transition from the gender assigned at birth whereas a transvestite dresses in clothing associated with a different gender. Intersex persons can have a variety of conditions in which a person’s sexual anatomy does not fit the gender binary of male or female. Genderqueer, non-binary, or third gender persons do not identity as either female or male. Androgynous people can have male and female characteristics or be genderless. Two-spirit individuals, used in indigenous communities, have male and female spirits within them. Genderfluid individuals identify as different genders at different times. Gender non-conforming or gender variant people dress and behave in a fashion considered atypical for their gender. Agender, non-gendered, genderless, genderfree, or neutrois individuals all have no gender. Intergender people identity with a gender midway between male and female. Bigender persons move between male and female genders or identify with both simultaneously. Trigender persons move between male, female, and a third gender that can manifest in different ways, including genderless or polygender. Pangender individuals identity with all genders.

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