Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

GSA proposes transgender accomodations

The Augustana Gay Straight Alliance recently approached Dean Evelyn Campbell and the Office of Residential Life with constructing a new set of policies that would better accommodate transgender students on campus.
One of the main components of this proposal would be to change general admissions policies, in regards to how the staff assigns or confirms sexual orientation. Currently, the Office of Admissions assigns one’s sex based on the student’s birth certificate.
However, the definition of transgender does not only mean that an individual had a sex change. The term includes those who do not identify with his or her physical gender. During the admissions process, students are asked to identify as either male or female.
This leaves little option for transgender students since the current system forces them to choose a gender in which they may not identify with. Darien Marion-Burton, chair of the Multicultural Committee, said this is an important issue on campus.
“When I first started with the issue, I focused on male to female transgender, but it’s way more than that,” said Marion-Burton. “It is anyone who does not associate with a gender…I think the number [of transgender students] is a lot higher than we think.”
First-year Anna Serafini, who classifies as agender, or genderless, found the decision process of selecting gender uncomfortable.
“You have put yourself in one of those two gender boxes, and right off the bat that is very nerve-racking,” said Serafini.“There are people who don’t assign themselves with a single gender. They are going to college, and it’s really scary to walk into that situation and not know if you are going to be supported.”
Augustana does not have accommodations for such students. The other components of the proposal include gender-neutral housing and bathrooms. The plan also consists of at least one gender-neutral bathroom and housing option for those who do not identify as male or female, providing a more comfortable and supportive environment.
GSA will confer with Greek Life in order to create additional awareness for the issue. The group hopes discussion of discrimination towards transgendered students can be discussed during the mandatory Safe Zone training that all future Greek pledges participate in.
“We want Greek groups to not discriminate against transgendered students, or students who don’t classify with the gender binary,” said senior Jacob Hoaglund, vice president of GSA.
The Student Government Association met with administrators Tuesday concerning the plans.

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GSA proposes transgender accomodations