Supporting Transgender Students in Higher Education

Transgender pride flag.

A member of Kent staff talks about their research on the experiences of transgender students and how they can be better supported at University

My name is Lynne and I work in Student Support and Wellbeing at the Medway campus. I have recently completed doctoral research looking at the experiences of transgender students in Higher Education in the UK.

Negotiating the university environment can be difficult for many students but for trans/non-binary students there can be additional hurdles. With university often being the first experience of real independence for young people it may also be a place where young trans people feel they can be themselves for the first time, as they navigate an environment away from family and friendship ties from the past.

My study used an online survey of 164 trans student participants to investigate the breadth of experiences across 60 different higher education institutions (HEIs), and remote one-to-one interviews with seven participants allowed for in-depth exploration of trans students’ perspectives and voices. The study explored the challenges that these students faced around themes of harassment, bullying and transphobia; inclusion/exclusion; representation in the curriculum; and institutional facilities and administration. The study also investigated eight HEI transgender student policies to identify how/whether the needs of this student group are being met.

As part of a programme of celebrating LGBT History Month at Kent, I am presenting my research, looking at the potential difficulties that trans/non-binary students might face, and what the University can do to help overcome these, you can join either in person or online:

If you are staff, you will learn about how you can better support trans students, or as a student, you can find out what support is available at Kent. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the findings during the session. I hope to see some of you there!

Written by Lynne Regan, Student Support and Wellbeing, 08.02.22

Support at Kent

Student Support and Wellbeing offer mental health support, disability support, counselling and peer support groups to all students. You could also check out our LGBTQ+ self-help resource section online. Student Support and Wellbeing are running a therapeutic ‘Reflect, Recover and Empower ‘ workshop explicitly for LGBTQ+ students on 21 February, 7-8.30pm with a particular focus on the personal impact of Covid-19 and coping with future change.

Check out further articles on Community Life, Disability and Inclusion and Support and Wellbeing.