Transgender Workplace Diversity Network

Lack of inclusion for trans people on UT, Knoxville's campus for the non-discrimination policies.

Last year I was interviewed (by a staff writer for the Daily Beacon daily campus newspaper at UTK) for the article on LGBT issues dealing with the film "Before Stonewall", etc. & she asked me more so on how this affects students at the university of TN, Knoxville, among other questions. I thought that she would include at least something I mentioned since the focus is always on sexual orientation & rarely touches upon gender identity. Of everything that i told her, she failed to include any of my responses to her questions. trans people are not covered under sexual orientation. gender identity is not the same as sexual orientation & should not have to fit under a clause that protects people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual. trans people can be discriminated against b/c of their gender identity, however they can be heterosexual & it would not affect their sexual orientation b/c they are already protected. in sum, this does offend me that we always focus on sexual orientation (gay and lesbian, primarily) & choose to leave out the support for trans people on this campus. yes i am gay, but i identify as a trans person also. there is another concern that even though it is in the welcoming statement, the policy for sexual orientation doesn't protect students, it only applies to faculty and staff, which directly or indirectly is another slap in the face of a large body of the UTK campus. therefore indirectly or directly this policy also doesn't protect anyone's gender identity as well. the way I see it is that the focus on staff and faculty to have protection rights but not students shows that UT is discriminatory towards the student body due to their sexual orientation let alone the lack of protection for peoples' gender identity. thank you for listening to my concerns and upsets. I am still working with Gender PAC in DC to bring awareness to the fact that UT fails to include gender identity within the nondiscrimination policy but yet includes in the EEO/AA policies & procedures for faculty & staff. funny... how sad that is, just like with sexual orientation students still aren't protected regardless of sexual orientation/gender identity. the important issue should be on non-discrimination protections for an ALL-INCLUSIVE campus climate which would include all gay, lesbian & bisexual persons on campus (not just faculty and staff), as well as ALL trans persons on campus. if we fail to leave out a part of the acronym, I'm referring to the "T" in LGB"T" this shows that gays, lesbians, & bisexuals show a lack of support to include trans persons within the protections of campus policies. I do think this is important for people to know the issues and concerns of trans people on this campus. I choose to openly stand up for my rights and protections as a trans person here at UT, Knoxville.

with pride,

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