Office of Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Student Services
What does “transgender” mean?
Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The term may include but is not limited to: transsexuals, cross-dressers, and other gender-variant people. Transgender people may identify as female-to-male (FTM) or male-to-female (MTF). Use the descriptive term (transgender, transsexual, cross-dresser, FTM or MTF) preferred by the individual. Transgender people may or may not choose to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically.
(Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, www.glaad.org)
What is gender identity?
Gender identity is the way that we identify ourselves in terms of being men or women. Some individuals reject these categories and identify as a third gender, or sometimes as “genderQueer.” For a lot of people, their gender identity matches up with their biological sex. Some individuals, however, do not match up in one way or another. Someone who is transgendered is someone whose gender identity (ie. A man) is opposite of their biological sex (ie., female). Gender expression may be separate from both gender identity and biological sex and refers more to the way in which individuasl express their gender identity, usually in terms of masculinity and femininity.
Where can I learn more about transgender resources?
The Office of LBGT Student Services can provide advocacy and support to trans students at Western Michigan University. Information regarding trans individuals is included in all of their training programs. There are also a number of resources available in the Kalamazoo community and the state of Michigan.
Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center (KGLRC) www.kglrc.org
Transgender Michigan http://transgendermichigan.org/
Life at WMU
What is the environment at WMU like for Trans and LGB students?
The Office of LBGT Student Services has been actively educating the campus community for over 15 years about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Our SpeakOUT! Panel program reaches over 2,000 students a year. More public and campus-wide events such as Rainbow Reception, National Coming Out Day, Trans Day of Remembrance, and the National Day of Silence bring awareness campus-wide. Western Michigan University remains committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for its students, faculty, and staff.
WMU has a very active student organization, OUTspoken, available to LBGT and Ally undergraduate students. OUTreach is a campus & community organization for graduate and professional students and community members. Transcend is a community-based support group for trans individuals in the Kalamazoo community.
The City of Kalamazoo recently passed a non-discrimination ordinance that prohibits the discrimination of individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center continues to be an active part of the community with their events, educational programs, and resources.
What is the position of Western Michigan University in terms of gender identity?
Gender identity is included in the university's non-discrimination policy.
Western Michigan University prohibits discrimination or harassment which violates the law or which constitutes inappropriate or unprofessional limitation of employment opportunity, University facility access, or participation in University activities, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, protected disability, veteran status, height, weight, or marital status.
Questions regarding the non-discrimination policy should be directed to the Office of LBGT Student Services at (269) 387-2123 or the Office of Institutional Equity at (269) 387-6320.
What sorts of things are available for me at WMU?
Trans Housing at WMU
The Department of Residence Life at Western Michigan University is committed to offering housing options that provide safe and comfortable living environments for all students. This includes being attentive to the needs of students who are transgendered and identifying the best possible housing options within our system.
Transgendered students who seek housing within the Residence Life system should contact the Director Of Residence Life in order to discuss the best possible options. Because we have a limited number of housing options available, there is no guarantee that all of a student’s preferences may be accommodated. However, we are committed to work with all students in order to best meet their individual needs.
The Department of Residence Life in conjunction with the Office of LBGT Student Services is committed to assisting in any way we can. If you would like more information on transgendered housing options at Western Michigan University, please contact:
Steven C. Palmer
Director of Residence Life
Western Michigan University
Coordinator of LBGT Student Services
Western Michigan University
Gender Neutral Locker Rooms
The Student Recreational Center at WMU offers 2 gender-neutral locker rooms in a safe, single stall, locking bathroom/shower room. These are available during regular Rec Center business hours on the first floor in the Classroom/Lab area. Gabel Natatorium also has a gender neutral locker room available during regular pool hours.
Gender Neutral Bathrooms
Gender Neutral Bathrooms are available in various locations across campus. Click here for a map of gender neutral bathrooms on the campus of WMU.
Still have questions?
Email Coordinator, Jennifer Hsu
Video from the the 2nd Annual
Excellence in Diversity Awards
is available on our Resources page.