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so...i couldn't figure out how to pose this one to my guidance… - Go Ask Aidan. Or Kat. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Good and not-so-good advice about gender.

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[Apr. 10th, 2010|11:24 pm]
Good and not-so-good advice about gender.

trans_advice

[two_grey_rooms]
so...i couldn't figure out how to pose this one to my guidance counselor, and i have no idea how i would search for this.

can anyone recommend me some trans-friendly colleges? anywhere in the united states or canada would work, hopefully in or near a metropolitan area.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: xtricks
2010-04-11 03:53 am (UTC)
I don't think any college makes a particular note of being spesifically trans friendly -- at starting point is to check on the non-discrimination clause at any unis you are interested in to see if they include gender, or gender identity, or percieved gender or gender presentation (wording will vary) as well as the usual gay/lesbian protections. The other way to get an idea would be to see what colleges are considered particularly sympathetic to gays and lesbians as trans is generally considered in the same rough category as LGB issues.

That said, my guess is that coastal unis in larger cities are more likely to be non-problematic and the west coast more so than the east.
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From: ils143
2010-04-11 04:08 am (UTC)
while this is generally true, I go to a state school in the "bible belt" that seems to have 1) a disproportionately large/visible trans community and 2) awesome protections/policies regarding trans issues.
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[User Picture]From: niemandsrose
2010-04-11 04:21 am (UTC)
http://www.transgenderlaw.org/college/index.htm
has a list of schools that have specific policies/nondiscrimination clauses.

The conversation here:
http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/734340-best-transgender-student.html
while I didn't read all 5+ pages of it, has some good tips on things to look for and questions to ask administrators and students as you research schools that look interesting to you.

You don't say whether you're FTM or MTF, but that can make a difference--not policy-wise, but socially--as some schools have more students transitioning one way than the other.
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[User Picture]From: two_grey_rooms
2010-04-11 04:25 am (UTC)
thanks for the links! and yeah, good point. i'm non-op bigendered though.
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[User Picture]From: niemandsrose
2010-04-11 04:40 am (UTC)
In any case, I think you really have to visit schools to find out what your gut says. If you do get the chance to visit colleges, especially overnight, see if the admissions office can set you up with a student host, and specify queer if possible. You'll learn a lot more from spending the night in the dorms, talking to real students, than you ever will just from the admissions staff and student tour guides.
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From: shadowchild
2010-04-11 02:18 pm (UTC)
Warning to anyone who goes to the second link, the parent uses he and she in the OP (then says they were asked to use she) and then says they don't know if their child really is trans. it didn't read past that, but just a warning if you're in a bad mood already or anything.
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[User Picture]From: two_grey_rooms
2010-04-11 04:26 am (UTC)
hmm, i thought this may be the case. good advice--thank you. just figured i'd ask to see if anyone had the good fortune to end up at a college with a particularly strong/supportive trans population.
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[User Picture]From: johnnash
2010-04-11 05:48 am (UTC)
I went to University of Rochester, and was treated nothing but kindly. We have a fairly good GLBT presence in the city of Rochester, and there are a number of trans people in the city as well. When I was there, we had a trans group for people in the community and at the college.

Plus, I loved going there and learning.
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[User Picture]From: anacas
2010-04-11 06:13 am (UTC)
Since unfortunately there really aren't any schools that are excellent on every single measure of trans-positivity, especially not in ways that are inclusive of the entire variegated range of trans identities and experiences, your definition of a trans-friendly campus depends a lot on what your personal priorities are. If you plan to live in a dorm and would rather be in a single or with a roommate who's not of your legal sex, housing policies are something that will be important to you. If your preferred name won't match your legal name or you plan on changing your name while in school, their policies with preferred names/name changes on rosters, diplomas, and IDs are something to look into. If you want to access any medical transition options, the quality of those resources in the surrounding area and the availability of trans-inclusive insurance through the school are things to find out about. If bathrooms are an issue for you, making sure there are safe places for you to pee will probably be high on your list, and if what you're looking for are trans-positive student groups and social niches where you'll feel comfortable and respected that's yet another thing to investigate... and so on, and so forth. If you let me know what stuff is particularly important to you, I might be able to give you some ideas of what specific criteria to look at and what schools handle them particularly well.

The Transgender Law and Policy Institute link that niemandsrose posted is a really good starting point, but don't take it as gospel since it's not totally up to date. I also find gender-identity inclusive non-discrimination policies to be very close to totally fucking useless, since so many schools that have them also have issues like shitty housing policies, trans-exclusive insurance, and generally unsupportiveness toward trans students

So basically it's a very individual, case-by-case thing--you're probably best off making your list to start with based on general things like location/size/academics/etc. plus an overall queer-friendly atmosphere, and then narrowing it after you've contacted the schools to find out how they handle the things that are most important to you. If at all possible, I'd recommend both asking the administration for an official view and talking to a trans (or at the very least trans-knowledgeable-sounding) student, since official policies can be very different from how things actually go when the rubber meets the road. Visiting is an awesome idea if at all possible, since intangibles like atmosphere and community feeling are really hard to gauge any other way, but really specific information about the bureaucratic things that might affect you is also important.

Good luck!
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[User Picture]From: anacas
2010-04-12 06:33 am (UTC)
Also, I just noticed that according to your profile you're in NY. If you're interested in SUNY schools at all (which IMO all NYers should be, since a lot of them offer a fantastic education and in-state tuition is a pretty damn good deal), feel free to ask me any questions you've got about them (I'm about to graduate from Stony Brook, and I've networked a decent amount with people trying to improve things for trans students at the other SUNYs). Stony Brook and Geneseo will both have gender-neutral housing options starting next year, the entire SUNY system now includes gender identity and expression in their non-discrimination policies (for whatever that's worth), and it's looking extremely likely that Stony Brook will have student insurance that covers trans-related stuff (including hormones and surgery) starting this fall.
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[User Picture]From: tommytesto
2010-04-14 03:14 am (UTC)
As a SUNY alum, I am glad to hear the update. Please post more when the news is certain.
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[User Picture]From: heartttcore
2010-05-30 10:27 am (UTC)
late getting in on this, but I go to SUNY Purchase, and there's a big visible queer and trans community here. (Also, I know the individual responsible for that being added to SUNY's non-discrimination! She's fierce!)

OP, if you're interested in the school at all, feel free to PM me or something. I'm the co-prez of TransAction (trans activist org on campus) next year, so I can also be hunted down on facebook.

I can tell you all 'bout housing, health services, etc. at Purchase.
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[User Picture]From: anacas
2010-05-31 08:10 am (UTC)
Not to detract from all the wonderfully fierce people who worked toward it, but my understanding was that SUNY's trans-inclusive non-discrimination policy was part and parcel of Gov. Paterson's executive order prohibiting discrimination by state agencies and institutions. So all the info I've got points to it being an accomplishment by many, not just one individual.

Always great to hear about SUNYs with a big, active trans presence. What's Purchase's situation with trans healthcare access these days?
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[User Picture]From: heartttcore
2010-05-31 08:48 am (UTC)
Not sure about what student insurance does or doesn't cover because I don't have it, but Health Services goes to the Philly Trans Health Conference every year on providers' day. I think this year will be their 3rd year going. So the nurses and what-have-you on campus are trans-friendly and competent.
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[User Picture]From: heartttcore
2010-05-31 08:52 am (UTC)
The competency think is anecdotal, though. I've never used on-campus health services, because, Callen-Lorde is, like, right there.
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[User Picture]From: radargrrl
2010-04-11 12:10 pm (UTC)
I suspect any university up here would do. (A college in Canada is a different entity, more of a trade school than a university.
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From: einsideout
2010-08-18 04:19 am (UTC)
My experience at Mount Allison was certainly less than great.
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[User Picture]From: radargrrl
2010-08-18 11:06 am (UTC)
Maybe I should clarify and narrow that to Ontario.
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[User Picture]From: groundedgranger
2010-04-11 03:08 pm (UTC)
As far as I'm concerned this link has the answers. It breaks it down with some trans specific questions even.

http://www.campusclimateindex.org/
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[User Picture]From: anacas
2010-04-11 05:03 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, a lot of the specific information on the Campus Climate website is out of date, misleading, or just plain wrong. Even just glancing at a few schools I'm familiar with, there are some really glaring misrepresentations of actual policies. So like the TLPI website it's an ok starting point, but take everything with a heaping handful of salt--especially at schools without employees responsible for LGBT student services, the random administrator who decides to fill it out may not be particularly knowledgeable about the real situation for LGBT (especially T) students and may be more interested in making the school look good than giving an accurate picture of LGBT student life.

For example, I'm seeing several schools whose Campus Climate profiles say they have "Gender-neutral/single occupancy restroom facilities in academic settings" that I know only have a few in very out of the way places--so if that's something you need, you might have to walk 15 minutes each way from your classroom to a basement on the other side of campus, which tends not to be too practical. Should schools with that situation really be answering yes to that question? I'm seeing a few schools whose housing policies are better than their page says, a few that are worse, and a couple of places who say they have insurance that covers hormones which absolutely positively do not.

The Campus Climate website is a great place to get ideas for the kinds of questions to be asking, but the answers on their website aren't all that reliable.
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[User Picture]From: hundun
2010-04-12 06:00 am (UTC)
UBC: Gender-neutral washrooms and a "Women and/or trans centre."

SFU: Gender-neutral washrooms, a fine gender studies mini-program, a trans-inclusive women's centre, a good Queer centre. All residences are unisex. I transitioned there and was glad that I did.

For undergraduate universities, I hear good things about Langara. Capilano might be worth checking out too (I believe that Ivan Coyote sometimes teaches creative writing there).

If you want to learn fibre, clay, metal or jewellery, I would strongly recommend the "Kootenay School of the Arts," in Nelson BC. It's not exactly metropolitan, but it's a small town with a tonne of trans people.

All but the KSA are in the Vancouver area, which has a fine, if overworked, spectrum-friendly gender clinic. SFU's clinic has a doctor who specializes in trans folk. BC's Medical Service Plan covers MTF GRS but not FtM. It may cover FtM chest surgery. This said, Nelson has a trans-specialist.
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[User Picture]From: judenash
2010-04-12 01:30 pm (UTC)
I go to the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. I had a whole pile of crap to deal with when I first registered because of my trans status -- I was in the middle of a legal name change, hadn't had my documents changed from F to M, and, on top of it all, had to file for OSAP (provincial student loans). After speaking with the Registrar's office and financial aid, all of my documentation at the school was changed to what is now my legal name, even before showing them any papers. Financial aid dealt with OSAP for me, and, although it came late, I got my loans in full. As well, UWO is the home of Canada's only LGBT* Academic library. The big programs here are medicine, business, dentistry, and social sciences. There's also an excellent media program and one of the few ALA-accredited Masters of Library Sciences programs in Canada.

The only grief I've had from the school has been from Student Health Services. However, they are getting better -- they have to. We're a HUGE school -- approx. 34,000 students or so, including affiliate colleges. I know I'm not the only trans* guy by a long shot, and I would assume there's just as many trans* women on campus as well.

London itself is kind of a conservative town, but there are some pretty strong advocates for trans folk here. There's several doctors, including a trans-friendly endo and gyno.
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[User Picture]From: taxishoes
2010-04-12 05:45 pm (UTC)
The links provided are good starting points. Then I'd suggest contacting LGBT or trans student groups on campus and asking if there are any openly trans students you can talk to about their experience.
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[User Picture]From: shenth
2010-04-12 11:17 pm (UTC)
I go to Beloit College in Beloit, WI. Due mostly to activism from my graduating class, it's becoming much more trans friendly. Students here will never harass you (though they unintentionally insult trans people fairly regularly), faculty and staff are aware of the trans community on campus (though they've got hosts of problems as well), and we're slowly accumulating bathrooms, housing, and other equality measures. I'm only sharing this because trans issues are becoming important here, and if you're into activist work it's not a bad place to be.
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[User Picture]From: zoe_de_la_luna
2010-04-13 12:09 am (UTC)
Bard College in NY (www.bard.edu) has a well-deserved reputation for being supportive of all combinations of gender/sexuality expression.
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