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Championing the rights of trans people

Championing the rights of trans people

14 Dec 2017

The authors of a new report, by the TransEDU Scotland project, suggest Scotland’s colleges and universities are “uniquely positioned” to champion the rights of trans and gender diverse people. 

The report surveyed 158 individuals on their experiences within Scottish colleges and universities and found 86% of respondents reported experiencing barriers in relation to their gender identity, with the biggest challenge concerning peer relationships with colleagues and fellow students.

The survey, funded by the Scottish Funding Council and carried out by Dr Stephanie Mckendry and Dr Matson Lawrence of the University of Strathclyde, found that 35% of respondents had withdrawn from a course at a college or university before completion and 23% of respondents felt unable to disclose or discuss matters relating to their gender status.

Dr Matson Lawrence said: “There is no evidence to suggest the HE and FE sectors are performing worse than other sectors in terms of trans equality and inclusion… In fact, the HE and FE sectors are uniquely positioned to continue to drive change and champion the rights of trans and gender diverse people within and beyond their campus communities.”

John Kemp, interim chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: “We are committed to creating an environment in colleges and universities in which everyone is respected, treated fairly and supported to reach their full potential. Today’s report contains many challenging findings but alongside them the project team at Strathclyde have made some astute recommendations which we are keen to support.”

Trans is an umbrella term used to denote people whose gender identity differs from their gender assigned to them at birth, while gender diverse and non-binary can denote individuals who experience their gender identity outside the binary of male and female.