Transgender and Non-binary Students’ Experiences at UK Universities: A Rapid Evidence Assessment

Smith, Jodie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5960-0316, Robinson, Sarita Jane orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4237-5412 and Khan, Roxanne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3485-2450 (2022) Transgender and Non-binary Students’ Experiences at UK Universities: A Rapid Evidence Assessment. Equity in Education and Society, 1 (1). pp. 18-31. ISSN 2752-6461

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UK universities often position themselves as inclusive institutions that celebrate diversity. As the number of transgender and non-binary (TNB) students at Higher Education Institutes (HEI) rises, universities may seek to improve their campus and online environments so that they are inclusive for all. A Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) was conducted to explore the experiences of TNB students at UK universities. Drawing on 15 sources (5 fully reviewed papers and 10 supporting citations), the REA identified common experiences that were themed into positive and negative experiences. Two positive themes emerged, which included HEIs as safe and supportive spaces, and the allocation of space and funding for TNB inclusion. Five negative themes emerged that included navigating ‘spaces of anxiety’ (especially regarding bathroom provision), consequences of expressing identity, a lack of education in peers regarding TNB issues, exposure to transphobic abuse, and deadnaming and erasure in the classroom and on university systems. This paper concludes by highlighting interventions that were also identified in the REA, including creating spaces of comfort, challenging transphobic abuse, and improving visibility.

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