Adjusting to Sexual and Gender Identity Questioning/Transitioning
- LGBTQ is a colloquial abbreviation representing members of a community who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer and/or questioning.
- Transgender (TG) is an umbrella term for individuals who believe their gender or gender expression diverges from the gender they were assigned at birth while Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) refers to people who do not adhere to society's rules about dress and activities for people based on one's assigned gender.
- LGBTQ students who are able to identify a supportive staff member at their campus academically outperforms peers who could not.
- Social norms regarding gender and sex add to the difficulty of transitioning; questioning and asserting one's identity; and may foster feelings of shame, guilt or self-loathing.
- TG students are often the victims of harassment, assault, bullying and other forms of violence on campus. School personnel are less likely to intervene with these forms of violence.
- TG an GNC students may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, etc.
- In 2010, the Center for Collegiate Mental Health demonstrates that transgender students were twice as likely to engage in self-harming behaviors and three times more likely to engage in serious suicidal behaviors.
SIGNS THAT A STUDENT MAY BE HAVING A DIFFICULT TIME
- Student displays a change in behavior or affect such as withdrawing, sadness, anger, etc.
- Student displays a decline in hygiene and personal care.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Maintain neutral use of identifiers. Ask about preferred name ad other preferred identifiers.
- Inquire about support networks.
- cognize boundaries of competence while remaining a supportive party.
- Ask for clarification or permission to discuss further. Maintain rapport as much as possible.
- Refer students to intercultural Affairs to offer additional forms of support.
- Refer student to Counseling and Psychological Services (828.227.7469) for support if student exhibits a need or if there is a request for counseling services.
- Associate all issues and concerns that student has to their sexual or gender identify.
- Avoid student's discussion of sexuality or gender issues.
- Do not present being LGBTQ as a "lifestyle" or phase.
- Advocate for normative expressions of sexuality and gender. Avoid expressing personal biases.
- Using terms/identifiers and others descriptors different than student's language.