I am writing to express my concern about the lack of existing policy at the University of Texas at Austin related to how administrative staff and other professionals protect transgender students at the university.
I am fortunate that I am able to work and learn alongside individuals that fit this identity. However, what is unfortunate is that I have been informed on multiple occasions that the university does not have an existing policy to set guidelines for ensuring that discrimination does not ensue. In particular, I have been informed that these individuals struggle even to find a bathroom or changing room that they are “allowed” to use without receiving criticism, or far worse.
Failing to provide adequate facilities for any individual goes beyond an issue of discrimination and becomes an issue of safety. As much as the University and the greater Austin area would like to believe it is a safe haven from transgender crimes, protecting the safety of all individuals on campus is paramount and the University has failed to ensure this.
I request that the University of Texas at Austin develop a policy related to how staff protect these students at this University.
Abigail Melvin is a social work graduate student.