Universities help to define and reflect our cultures in society. It is where our younger generation is introduced to many backgrounds and lifestyles in a protected environment of learning It is an opportunity for students to be exposed to people they have not been in contact with in the past.
Even if the Mike Pence the Governor of Indiana is lacking in his support of the LGBT community, Indiana University-Bloomington is making strides to help their transgender students feel comfortable at their school by introducing some programs that welcome this diversity and embrace the ever-changing landscape of our youth.
This school has had an admissions program for new transgender students for a number of years, where incoming students are worked with to find housing within the university with select roommates. They work with the transgender population to meet the transgender student’s needs while pairing them with an appropriate roommate. The ever-important bathroom issue is resolved by finding the right bunk mate and by providing private bathrooms for those who need it.
In December, 2014 Indiana University-Bloomington went a step further by allowing students to apply for a preferred name rather than a legal name, on their university ID cards. This change was instituted in an effort to support transgender students who go by a different name from their legal name. It was ultimately advanced by a resolution from the IU Student Association, the Graduate and Professional Student Organization and the Residence Halls Association.
Transgender students are happy with the new policy that allows them to be called by the name they identify with rather than what they were born with. This is an important development for this community as they feel more accepted to be living their lives in the gender they believe they are.
This preferred option is also available for other students who make valid, approved name change requests as in the international students who wish to go by an Anglicized name or students who go by initials or a middle name. Now, after an upgrade to the IT system, their new names will be accepted in areas of the campus that would not formerly recognize their new identity.
College campuses are a place for growth of ideas, tolerance of multi-cultures and gender and where many will meet their first transgender. Lack of knowledge and experience breeds fear. With more universities embracing the transgender community and allowing them to be who they are, the better chance that the transgender community will be accepted in our society.