Transgender policy

Purpose of this policy

1.    The purpose of this policy is to set out a framework for how the University will support staff and students who wish to take steps to change the gender identity they were assigned at birth, or have already done so. The policy and associated guidance give more detail on how the University’s Equality Policy applies to transgender people.  
2.    This policy also supports members of the University in meeting the requirements of relevant legislation including the Equality Act 2010, which lists gender reassignment as one of the nine ‘protected characteristics’ on the grounds of which people are protected against unlawful discrimination, and the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

The University's commitment

3. The University aims to provide support and understanding to those individuals who wish to take, or have taken, steps to change the gender identity they were assigned at birth. The University recognises that the period of transition can be very complex and difficult for the individual, and will act in a supportive and sensitive way to ease any transition period.

4. The University aims to create an inclusive trans-friendly culture, workplace and learning environment, free from discrimination, harassment or victimisation, where all transgender people are treated with dignity and respect.

5. No member of the University community, its visitors or contractors should be treated less favourably, whether before, during or after their study or employment at, or their visit to, the University of Oxford on the grounds of gender identity or reassignment. 

Transgender definitions

6. In this policy ‘Transgender’ (trans) is used to refer to the following groups:

People who are taking or have taken steps to change the gender identity they were assigned at birth. This includes people covered by the Equality Act definition: “A person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person's sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.”

People who do not identify with a permanent binary gender identity, including those who identify in other ways, such as genderqueer, gender variant, non-binary or agender. These terminologies are evolving and highly personal and this list is not exhaustive.

Scope of the policy

7. The policy applies to all members of the University community, including students, staff, applicants, associate members, visitors and contractors.

8. This policy and the accompanying guidance are available on the Equality and Diversity website at www.admin.ox.ac.uk/eop/transgender.

Policy review

9. This policy will be subject to regular review by the Personnel and Education Committees in consultation with other appropriate committees.

Meeting the needs of transgender students and staff

10. The University aims to anticipate and respond positively to the needs of prospective, current and former students and staff in relation to gender identity issues, providing a professional and consistent service so that all trans members of the University feel welcome, safe, valued and supported to achieve their potential and contribute as a member of the University.

11. With regard to staff, this policy applies (but is not limited) to the advertisement of jobs and recruitment and selection, to training and development, to opportunities for promotion, to conditions of service, benefits, facilities and pay, to health and safety, to conduct at work, to grievance and disciplinary procedures, and to termination of employment.

12. With regard to students, this policy applies (but is not limited) to admissions, to teaching, learning and research provision, to scholarships, grants and other awards under the University’s control, to student support, to University accommodation and other facilities, to health and safety, to personal conduct, and to student complaints and disciplinary procedures.

13. With regard to visitors and contractors, the University aims to provide an inclusive environment, where people are treated with dignity and respect.

Support during transition

14. In particular the University aims to support trans students and staff through the process of transitioning, or making changes to their originally assigned gender identity. This may include a number of formal and informal steps.

Confidentiality

15. The University will respect the confidentiality of trans people and will not reveal information without the prior agreement of the individual.

16. If an individual notifies the University in writing of their intention to transition during their employment or education, the institution will agree with them what steps should be taken. A trans person’s file will reflect their current name and gender. Any material that needs to be kept related to the person’s trans status, such as records of absence for medical reasons, should be stored confidentially. No records will be changed without the permission of the staff member or student concerned.

17. When a person informs the University that they have received a Gender Recognition Certificate, the University will undertake further checks and action to remove references to the individual’s former name and gender.

Creating an inclusive environment

18. This means demonstrating respect for trans people, as well as people associated with them such as partners, spouses and other family members, in terms of:

  • their gender identity;
  • their right to work and study with dignity;
  • their use of University facilities;
  • their name and personal identity; and
  • their privacy and confidentiality.

19. This provision also includes people who are perceived to be trans, irrespective of their actual gender identity.

Protection against harassment and bullying

20. The University recognises it is the right of every individual to choose whether to be open about their gender identity and history. To ‘out’ someone, whether staff or student, without their permission may amount to a form of harassment and possibly a criminal offence.

21. Transphobic bullying and harassment can be regarded as grounds for disciplinary action, which may include expulsion or dismissal. Such behaviour will be dealt with under the University Policy on Harassment and Bullying and the University Regulations relating to complaints (as appropriate).

Consultation

22. Existing arrangements for consultation will be maintained for reviewing the experience of transgender students and staff in the University. These include joint committees with student and staff representatives, and consultation with other interested and relevant groups within the University.

Guidance, support and training for University officers

23. Guidance, support and training will be provided to University officers to ensure that the University's commitment to transgender equality and inclusion is fully realised.

First published 2013; revised 2018

Please send any comments to: Caroline.Moughton@admin.ox.ac.uk

If you require this document in an alternative format, please contact: equality@admin.ox.ac.uk


We would like to thank Oxford Student Union, the LGBT+ Advisory Group, and the many colleagues across the collegiate University who have helped with revising the policy and associated guidance.