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 University's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Harassment and Bullying policies and the Brookes Charter.

Oxford Brookes University 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 University will not tolerate transphobic harassment and bullying (eg using the wrong name or pronoun in relation to a transgender person or persistently referring to their gender identity history).

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 LGBTQ+ Staff 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 Advance HE.

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.

Members of staff who have experienced any form of transphobic abuse, harassment or bullying can email for confidential advice. The policy and procedure on harassment and bullying provides information about advice and support for staff and students.

International travel

LGBTQ+ people taking on international travel assignments should consider additional safety measures when travelling to certain countries. If you’re travelling to another country for work, or supporting a colleague or student who is planning a trip, you can find advice for LGBTQ+ tourists travelling abroad on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website.

You can also access country-specific information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Stonewall produces Global Workplace Briefings providing advice about the legal, socio-cultural and workplace situation for LGBTQ+ people in the specified country.

For an overview of the current situation globally, ILGA produces a map showing sexual orientation laws around the world. ILGA – the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association - is the world federation of national and local organisations dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people across the globe.

Further information

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.

Useful links