Transgender equality and gender identity: developing an inclusive approach

  • Our approach to transgender equality and gender identity inclusion operates under the framework of Oxford Brookes Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Harassment and Bullying policies and the Brookes Charter.

    Oxford Brookes is committed to advancing equality and promoting fair and inclusive practice for our trans staff and students; and to create a safe and positive environment for all forms of gender identity and expression. We aim to anticipate and assist positively in meeting the needs of trans and gender variant staff and students, allowing everyone to achieve to their full potential.

    Oxford Brookes will not tolerate transphobic harassment and bullying.

    The University recognises gender identity transition and affirmation as a unique personal process, which may or may not involve medical intervention. 

    Our approach to gender identity and provision of  support for trans staff and students ensures the University meets the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 in relation to the protected characteristic of “gender reassignment” and the obligations under the Gender Recognition Act 2004. 

    However, the University seeks to go beyond legal compliance in recognising that the current legislation does not cover a fully inclusive definition of trans identities. We have adopted a Transgender and Gender Identity Equality Policy. The University is working with the Staff LGBT+ Forum and Brookes Union to ensure support for trans staff and students, line managers, colleagues and fellow students.

    We also seek to learn from emerging good practice and thought leadership in the higher education  sector and wider policy developments and social movements for equality and human rights. Oxford Brookes works closely with specialist equality partners as a Stonewall Diversity Champion and a subscriber to the Equality Challenge Unit.

    Inclusive language and terminology relating to gender identity and trans people are evolving rapidly, and individuals will have differing terms with which they identify according to their backgrounds and experiences.  Respect and openness to listen and learn about the preferences of individuals, responding to how they present, is a key starting point.

    Trans and transgender are inclusive umbrella terms for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex (male or female) they were assigned at birth. The term may include, but is not limited to, trans men and women, non-binary people and dual role people. Not all people that are included in the term will associate with it. (ECU, 2016) Trans people may for example identify as non-binary, non-gendered, gender variant, or gender-fluid and, some intersex people may identify as trans. Trans people may or may not engage with medical intervention.

    A useful short guide to terminology is available from GIRES.

  • The Equality Act 2010 provides protection for people who propose to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone a process (or part of a process) of gender reassignment.  A person does not have to be under medical supervision to have the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.

    The Gender Recognition Act 2004 allows people to apply to the Gender Recognition Panel for full legal recognition of their affirmed gender.  Applicants who meet the requirements of the Act will be issued with a Gender Recognition Certificate.