The History of the term “Transgender” and Transgender Policies Across Campuses

 Did you know that ‘Transvestite’ originated in 1910 from the German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, who would later develop the Berlin Institute where the very first ‘sex change’ operations took place. ‘Transsexual’ was not coined until 1949, ‘transgender‘ not until 1971, and ‘trans’ (a very British term) not until 1996. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first use of ‘androgyne’ was recorded in 1552, but it has only been in the last 10 years that people have claimed it for themselves to describe a state of being in-between, or having both genders. (Whittle).

Also, in 1966 A riot erupts after police attempt to arrest rowdy drag queens at Gene Compton’s cafeteria in San Francisco. Protesters break windows, throw furniture, and burn down a newsstand; one throws coffee in an officer’s face. The action becomes the subject of the 2005 documentary Screaming Queens. This event is considered to be the beginning of the transgender rights movement.
In 1972 Sweden becomes the first country in the world allow unmarried transsexual citizens to legally change their sex; the government will even pay for it. Panama would become the second country to legalize transsexuality, in 1975 and also in 1975 Minneapolis becomes the first city to offer legal protections for transgender people after revising its human rights ordinance to ban discrimination against them. Today, at least 92 jurisdictions have trans-friendly measures on the books.
In 2001 San Francisco becomes the first U.S. city to offer its employees health coverage for transgender-related medical needs. The city will fund sex-reassignment surgery and related treatments up to $75,000, according to the mayor’s LGBT liaison.
2003: Activists found the National Center for Transgender Equality, a nonprofit group whose work includes educating members of Congress about transgender issues.
2007: Both houses of Congress pass the Matthew Shepard Act, which would expand the existing federal hate-crimes law to include sexual orientation and Bender identity. The same day, Rep. Barney Frank introduces a new version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that no longer protects transgender people, sparking a controversy that continues even after the bill passes the House in November (Wenzel).

Colleges and universities seem to fall into one of three categories according to Brett Genny Beemyn and Jessica Pettitt: 1. Most do not recognize or serve the needs of transgender students on campus. 2. Some are developing services, policies, and practices that are trans-supportive 3. Very few have created non-discrimination statements and other trans-supportive polices (4). These two authors highlight different aspects of Transgender issues and policies that colleges across the country do and do not have or participate in as of 2006 and according to the Transgender Law and Institute as of today 621 colleges and universities have Nondiscrimination Policies that Include Gender Identity/Expression and there are 95 college and universities that have gender-inclusive housing, meaning a student can have a roommate of any gender ( More and more colleges and universities are developing trans-supportive policies and changes and a lot of these have occurred mostly in the last 10 years.

Works Cited:

“A Colleges/Universities.” TLPI: College and University Policies. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2013.

Beemyn, Brett Genny, and Jessica Pettitt. “”How Have Trans-Inclusive Non-Discrimination Policies Changed Institutions?”” GLBT Campus Matters (2006): n. pag. Online. 3 Feb. 2013.

Wenzel, Ryan. “A Transgender History.” Advocate 999 (2007): 40. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 3 Feb. 2013.

Whittle, Prof Stephen. “A Brief History of Transgender Issues.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 02 June 2010. Web. 04 Feb. 2013.

3 thoughts on “The History of the term “Transgender” and Transgender Policies Across Campuses

  1. Rachel Lewis says:

    I feel like the LGBT population does go noticed at Longwood, but not in a bad way! A lot of members are very comfortable on campus and around others. I don’t know many that feel threatened so I don’t see why we need to push for change when I think our campus and community are doing a fine job with making them feel welcome and at home. A lot of them are free to walk around and express who they are, which i think is great! Because we are such a small school, I think everyone is more accepting in relation to bigger universities where something like this may be an issue and they could possibly be looked down upon for being different. I don’t see why we need to push for gender-inclusive housing or have gender-inclusive restrooms when there haven’t been any complaints about what we have available now. I just don’t understand what you are necessarily calling for and why? I think if we were to implement gender-inclusive restrooms and housing then it would call more attention to them and become a bigger concern. Please help me try and to see where you are coming from. On a side note great job covering the history! Your introduction is very strong.

  2. Destiny Saladin says:

    I was thinking gender-inclusive housing, but that might be a bit of a stretch right now. I might start off a little smaller with on forms and online documents the university getting rid of the “male” or “female” boxes and instead putting “gender identity”, or something like that. Along with the Matthew Shepard Act, I am not sure if things have gotten better or worse for the LGBT population. That is something I am going to have to do more research on, and I can get back to you on that!

  3. Elizabeth Vest says:

    First of all, good job covering the history, I think you did a very through analysis of the history. Second, I have a couple of questions; 1.) Are you calling for Longwood to have gender-inclusive housing or gender-inclusive restrooms?, and 2.) With the passing of the Matthew Shepard Act, do you think that things have gotten better or worse in VA for the LGBT population?

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