- 19 Sep 19
With Trinity College's updating of their Gender Recognition Policy, the university is effectively advocating inclusiveness for all. Ryan Carey, Gender Equality Officer of the college's Student Union, talks to Selina Juengling about developments.
Trinity College took an important step towards becoming a truly LGBTQ+-friendly university life by expanding their gender identity and gender expression policy in 2014. Since then, transgender students have been allowed to change their name and gender on all college records and correspondence without any legal documentation. Now, in 2019, the policy has been updated to give students the right to opt for gender neutral pronouns on their college records, making life at Trinity College easier for students who are non-binary or identify as neither male nor female. Instead of Mr. or Ms., the college will address all students by their first names from now on.
Ryan Carey, Gender Equality Officer of Trinity College Dublin's Student Union, stresses how important this expansion of the original policy is for the LGBTQ+-community. While he calls the policy of 2014 "remarkable", the update was as important a step forward for Trinity College. "The new policy marks a step forward for the entire college community," Ryan says, "not just students who identify as transgender or non-binary. It's another way of demonstrating that all are welcome in Trinity, and eliminates a massive amount of stress for students who struggle to have their gender identity recognised legally."
In addition, the new policy brings attention to the issue, opening up conversations and helping students in the process. "The publicity also means that students or staff in any area of college are aware of it, and know to reach out to the tutor service or academic registry if they need any assistance."
Although the expansion of the gender recognition policy at Trinity College sends an important message, life for trans people outside of university is still challenging. "In legal terms," Ryan explains, "changing name and gender can be extremely difficult, often involving applying for a deed poll, a gender recognition certificate, and then a new birth certificate, which can involve prohibitive legal fees and a trip to the High Court. For non-binary people there are very limited options. There is also no surgeon in Ireland who will perform top surgery on trans masculine patients."
Change is happening, and the Student Union at Trinity College aims to make sure that the voices of the LGBTQ+-community are heard, and that their college is inclusive. Still, there's a long way to go.