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UNT, Pride Alliance work to provide inclusion for transgender students

UNT, Pride Alliance work to provide inclusion for transgender students

UNT, Pride Alliance work to provide inclusion for transgender students
October 19
00:52 2018

UNT’s Pride Alliance has worked to advocate on behalf of students who are transgender by assisting students who may be transitioning through counseling, institutional advocacy, event programming and more informal gender identity exploration.

History freshman Ryan Elliot Hirsch said the Pride Alliance helped when he required a change from his dead name, or the name he had before transitioning, to his preferred name within the UNT account system.

“I went through [the Pride Alliance] and worked with the people I’m working for in the Union, and they both worked really hard with the [information technology] department to get it to where they would change my name in the system because it’s not something they normally have to deal with,” Hirsch said. “It usually requires legal papers, but they were able to get it to where, without legal papers, I was still able to change my name.”

Hirsch said UNT housing placed him with another student who is transgender as a roommate, along with a cisgender woman, someone whose identity corresponds with the gender assigned to them at birth.

Alex Sylvester, pride alliance student services coordinator, said the Pride Alliance has resources to provide support to students who are a part of the LGBT community and are looking to feel secure in their gender identity.

“If [students] want to have a new look, I help them overcome that fear about maybe doing some online shopping, or they [can] utilize our clothing closet, which is another resource we have for trans students,” Sylvester said. “The clothing closet is a place where people can come and get gender-affirming clothing for free.”

While there are programs and offices in place to support students who are transgender, Sylvester said students still face challenges when coming to UNT simply because systems are not designed to support them. For example, on-campus housing is one area trans students may face particular challenges within their gender identity.

“At the end of the day, all of the rooms are either designated men’s rooms or women’s rooms, so for non-binary trans students that can be challenging,” Sylvester said. “For students who may be identifying as a trans man or a trans woman, that can still be difficult because they may feel that they won’t pass in one hall or the other and that they may face discrimination from being in either environment.”

Courtesy of Ryan Hirsch

Dance sophomore Emerson Braun is a transgender man who said his experience with on-campus resources were positive.

“I mean, just having the Pride Alliance, and GLAAD and the Preferred Name Policy — those are all 10 out of 10,” Braun said. “They’re doing Queer Cuts for gender confirming, [so] free haircuts through Pride Alliance, [and] that just makes it really cool and accessible.”

Hirsch said the Pride Alliance introduced him to allies on campus.

“Going to the Pride Alliance helped me meet people and it showed me that there are adults that are trans as well, which isn’t something that I got to see a lot from where I’m from,” Hirsch said. “To know that they’re people who are trans and successful is just a really good thing to see.”

Sylvester shared their insights on how cisgender students and staff can be better allies of the LGBT community.

“I think being comfortable with being uncomfortable is really huge for folks who want to be cisgender allies, and being ready to receive feedback from trans folks and not discount it,” Sylvester said.

Through the remainder of the semester there will be several events hosted by the Pride Alliance that queer, students who are transgender or cisgender, staff and community are invited to attend including Fall Ball, Queer and Cheer and Trans Day of Remembrance. Visit https://edo.unt.edu/calendar-events/month for more details.

Featured Image: Pride Alliance holds a tabling in the Library Mall for National Coming Out Day. Pride Alliance has many resources for students who are transgender. Mallory Cammarata

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Alex Hall

Alex Hall

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