DCU Gender identity policy in final stages

Colin Gannon

Flying the Transgender Pride flag on the UCC Quad Dr Fiachra Ó Suilleabháin, Dr Máire Leane, Vanessa Lacey, Prof. Nuala Finnegan. Image Credit: UCC

A Gender Identity and Expression policy for DCU is currently in the final stages of development and can be expected later this year, the head of the University’s Equality Office has said.

This follows similar policies in TCD, UCD and UCC to raise awareness of gender identities and ensure campus-life is welcoming for non-binary and transgender students and employees.

Sandra Healy, Head of Diversity and Inclusion for DCU, told The College View that the implementation of such a policy is to ensure LGBT+ students and staff have “the same inclusive experience and are supported as any member of our community is on their life journey”.

In collaboration with DCU based gender studies expert Dr. Tanya Ní Mhuirthile, DCU’s LGBTA committee, along with national organisations Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and Shout Out, Healy recently finalised the development of the policy document itself.

The hope is to also build a best practice toolkit for the university to accompany the policy document which will include key gender identity terminology, external support links and HR contacts.

“We need to keep raising awareness of the key issues, ensuring LGBT+ people are visible, supported and accepted in all aspects of our society,” Healy said.

She could not provide an exact time frame but said industry partners had been informed. 

Dean O’Reilly, chairperson of DCU’s LGBTA committee, welcomed the impending policy as being “intrinsic to queer acceptance”, saying that such freedoms are a byproduct of small victories arising from tireless student activism.

“We can forget that the general public are not as informed or as knowledgeable as ourselves and this can cause friction. Policies such as this help alleviate that friction.” O’Reilly said.

Despite this, O’Reilly argues not enough is being done for transgender students. DCU has yet to introduce a mechanism by which trans students can have their student IDs altered to match their gender identity, O’Reilly used as an example.

“I know of trans and non-binary students who have asked their lecturer to call them by their preferred name and the lecturer has blatantly ignored this request.”

This comes after UCC became the first Irish university to fly the Trans pride flag on campus last week. For Healy, flying a flag is an act of support and solidarity that shows real progress but she feels more can be done to increase support for the trans community in DCU.

Colin Gannon