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Top 10 Trans-Supportive Colleges and Universities in the U.S.

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7. University of Colorado, Boulder

To make sure that its trans students receive high quality, supportive health care, Colorado’s health center has created a trans health care team consisting of a doctor who specializes in transitioning-related services, mental health providers, and staff who can address insurance and policy issues. The group meets regularly to facilitate care and communication between the medical and mental health clinics. Colorado, which was one of the first universities to create gender-inclusive restrooms across campus, has also been a pioneer in establishing gender-inclusive athletic facilities. Its rec center has nine gender-inclusive bathrooms. Each consists of private toilet and shower spaces, with some sharing a locker area.

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8. University of Massachusetts, Amherst

In addition to making almost all of its single-user restrooms gender-inclusive, UMass Amherst has a formal restroom/bathroom policy that enables people to use the gendered facility in which they feel safer and more comfortable. It is one of the only colleges to have such a policy as a means to minimize the gender policing of restrooms. Recognizing that the best policies have little impact if people do not know about them, members of the University’s Restroom and Bathroom Committee have given presentations to almost all faculty members and to the staffs in Student Affairs, Facilities, and Auxiliary Services about the institution’s expectations related to restrooms and about not making gender assumptions. All new Student Affairs staff are required to take an online course about campus restroom policies.

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9. University of Oregon

Oregon’s LGBTQ Education and Support Services office provides two unique programs for prospective and incoming LGBTQ+ students. It hosts an annual campus visit day for GSAs (Gay/Straight or Gender and Sexuality Alliances) in the region to introduce high school students to college life and to the University’s LGBTQ+ resources. For incoming students, it offers OUTreach, in which returning students volunteer to introduce new students to campus LGBTQ+ programs. OUTreach members also attend and provide support at local GSA meetings and help with the GSA Visit Day.

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10. University of Washington

The university’s Q Center employs a part-time counselor who facilitates a gender discussion group and provides drop-in and scheduled advising/counseling for students. “After two years of collecting data from this program, we have found that 25 percent of the people that see [the counselor] report suicidality,” says Jen Self, the director of the Q Center. Other concerns that were commonly raised include anxiety, depression, self-harm, identity development, navigating university systems, academic adjustment and support, housing, and financial aid. Having this type of counseling available is especially critical to trans students, who are much more likely to struggle with depression and anxiety than cis students. The counselor also collaborates with LGBTQ+ student groups in developing cultural and arts programs that focus on healing from the harm caused by societal oppression.

GENNY BEEMYN, Ph.D. is a leading expert on the experiences of trans people in the United States, particularly the lives of trans students, and on the development of trans-inclusive college policies and practices. They are the Trans Policy Clearinghouse coordinator for Campus Pride and the director of the Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Genny has written or edited 10 books/journal issues, including The Lives of Transgender People (with Sue Rankin; Columbia University Press, 2011) and special issues of the Journal of LGBT Youth on “Trans Youth” and “Supporting Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Children and Youth” and a special issue of the Journal of Homosexuality on “LGBTQ Campus Experiences.” Genny’s most recent works are A Queer Capital: A History of Gay Life in Washington, D.C. (Routledge, 2014) and an issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies on “The Intersections of Trans Women and Lesbian Identities, Communities, and Movements” (2016).  They are currently working on a book titled Campus Queer: The Experiences and Needs of LGBTQ+ College Students (Johns Hopkins University Press) and an anthology titled Outside the Gender Box: Trans People in Higher Education (SUNY Press). Genny has a Ph.D. in African-American studies and master’s degrees in African-American studies, American studies, and higher education administration.

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