New transgender resource increases online inclusion

UVic PhD candidate Devan Kronisch is the author of a MyUVic Life blog post titled: "When your ONEcard doesn't match your identity."

If you’ve noticed faculty or staff wearing “pronoun buttons” or visited UVic’s Transgender Archives, you’ve seen some of the more visible signs of the university’s commitment to providing a safe and inclusive living, working and learning environment for people of all genders. In 2017, a project began behind the scenes to enhance online services and information for trans, Two-Spirit and non-binary students and employees. The new web resource launched on the Equity and Human Rights (EQHR) website in the fall.

“We started working on the content after questions and concerns came through our office about the experiences and supports for trans, Two-Spirit and non-binary students on campus,” says Kamilla Milligan, EQHR manager of equity and diversity. “We know that people of marginalized gender identities have not always had positive experiences on campus.” To address this gap, Milligan began gathering a list of campus resources that supported access and information for members of this community.

What might seem like a straightforward process—for example, changing one’s preferred name on a university document—is not always so simple for transgender, Two-Spirit and non-binary community members, who may be outed, judged or simply required to disclose personal information in a public setting. “Providing clarity on what processes people can expect at various campus services helps everyone to understand what the service standards are,” says Milligan.

As she consulted with both allies and those who identified as trans, Two-Spirit and non-binary, it became clear that a list of links would not satisfy the need for a safe and informative online space.

“For people who have experienced discrimination, harassment and sometimes violence, we needed to describe resources in detail, explain who would be at the other end of the email or phone call, the processes of various offices, and the training that staff had on gender diversity and related topics,” says Milligan. “This is important so that they can feel more comfortable approaching offices for services.”

The new resource site includes information for trans, Two-Spirit and non-binary students, faculty and staff on navigating university processes, including changing names and pronouns on a variety of official documents such as the OneCard, degree parchment and Human Resources records.

“Having a central spot for everything makes it so much easier to know what’s going on and what UVic already offers to make us trans, Two-Spirit and non-binary students feel welcome on campus,” says Devan Kronisch, PhD candidate. “That feeling of being welcome is so important when choosing a university.”

The website also outlines what everyone can do to make UVic safe, accessible and inclusive for people of all gender identities and expressions. Faculty and staff in particular are encouraged to review the learning resources and tips, on topics such as creating an inclusive classroom and being an ally.

“We went back and forth many times with people, agencies, offices and consultants both inside and outside UVic to do our best to ensure that the materials are accurate and as inclusive as possible,” says Milligan. “That said, there’s still work to do.”

If you have suggestions or comments, please contact Equity and Human Rights at or 250-721-7007.

Additional reading

Inclusive washroom initiative

An advisory group in the Vice-President Finance and Operations portfolio is developing guidelines to support inclusive campus washrooms, change rooms and showers. All members of the UVic community are invited to share their ideas, experiences and feedback at a drop-in consultation, Thursday, Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the library foyer. An online survey will also be available in mid-January on the EQHR website.


In this story

Keywords: transgender, gender, inclusion, diversity

People: Kamilla Milligan, Devan Kronisch

Publication: The Ring

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