LGBT+ students can face discrimination and barriers in higher education because of their identity. This can threaten their attainment and retention at university, whereby higher education institutions have a responsibility to ensure that their campuses are free from discrimination and are welcoming environments.
According to a study carried out by Stonewall which looked into LGBT+ students experiences of discrimination at university, such students reported experiencing this from both students, and to a lesser degree, university staff.
More than two-thirds of LGBT+ students reported their higher education institutions having equalities policies which protect them on campus throughout their studies. However, there is a notable gap here in terms of transgender students where only half stated that their universities have such policies.
• Developing clear policies and training to staff and students. HEI’s should be encouraged to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination through onsite training which should be made available. A transparent system for reporting abuse and discrimination should be established.
• The role of student unions and societies. Encourage an open line of contact between such societies and student unions to ensure that university facilities such as accommodation are LGBT+ inclusive. It is also essential to ensure that new students are informed and signposted appropriately to these resources.
• Improving Trans Inclusion on campus. Education and guidance for staff with a pastoral care responsibility should be provided, including developing resources specifically for transgender and non-binary students. Support should be offered to transgender students who are in the process of transitioning by providing information on confidentiality and the use of facilities on campus.
• Admissions. Some forms force students to choose a binary gender when enrolling at university, which can make some people feel as if they have to choose a gender for this purpose that they do not identify as. HEI’s need to ensure that such forms do not act as a barrier for applicants
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