Gender Queer, Non-binary, Transgender Task Force
In 2018, the University established the Gender Queer, Non-Binary and Trans (GQNBT) Task Force, which was co-sponsored by The Office of the Provost, Student Affairs and Human Resources. The task force was charged to assess the current landscape at Northwestern to identify gaps in policies and resources, and to recommend gender inclusive strategies that will facilitate a more accessible, safer, and welcoming campus environment for trans and nonbinary students, faculty, and staff at Northwestern.
The Gender Queer, Non-Binary and Trans Task Force co-chairs, Sekile M. Nzinga, Director of the Women’s Center and Gender & Sexuality Studies Lecturer, and Héctor Carrillo, Professor of Sociology and Gender & Sexuality Studies and Co-director of the Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN), formed a gender diverse leadership team in order to model inclusive practices that valued the voices and expertise of the university’s trans and non-binary leaders. Adam Davies (Weinberg 20’) served as both a trans student leader and the task force’s research assistant. JT Turner (Multicultural Student Affairs) and Shelby Hearn (Women’s Center), served as chairs of the task force’s Core Working group, which was comprised primarily of trans and non-binary students and staff. The task force membership was comprised of gender diverse Northwestern students, faculty, staff and alumni.
In addition to the monthly meetings, Adam Davies, JT Turner, and Shelby Hearn curated an accompanying Trans Inclusive Curriculum to provide readings, films, and peer institution benchmarks to Task Force members in order to inform better their recommendations to the university. The Women’s Center used the curriculum to host Learning Circles for interested task force members, which were led by the Task Force’s dedicated members of Core Working Group and the University’s LGBTQ Ally workshop facilitators. The task force co-chairs drew upon these yearlong engagements and the findings from an aligned student experience survey conducted by an independent trans, nonbinary and queer student research team to draft a report that identified three critical priority areas.
- Expanding Health Services and Supporting Well-Being
- Creating Accessible and Inclusive Facilities
- Respecting and Affirming Names and Identity
The report also provides a summary of the task force’s overall recommendations, as well as additional resources and benchmarks to aid institutional actors and units across the campus in their planning and implementation stages of the university’s commitments gender inclusive initiatives.
1. Respecting and Affirming Names and Identity
The task force recommends that Northwestern University create a centralized, “one stop” identity-management system that would feed into all other systems, including the Registrar, Human Resources, and Health Services.
2. Creating a Gender-Inclusive Learning and Working Environment
The task force recommends that Northwestern University create an academic culture in which students, staff, and faculty can work and learn in a gender-affirming and equitable environment.
3. Expanding Gender-Inclusive Facilities
The task force recommends that Northwestern University ensure that University facilities are safe spaces for trans and gender non-conforming individuals, including ensuring access to all-gender bathrooms.
4. Expanding Health Services and Supporting Well-Being
The task force recommends that Northwestern University strengthen, develop, and implement a host of campus-based health and wellness resources for trans and gender non-conforming students, staff, and faculty.
5. Increasing University Resources
The task force recommends that Northwestern University strengthen, develop, and implement a host of campus- based resources for trans and gender non-conforming faculty, staff, and students.
6. Creating Gender-Inclusive Residential Services
The task force recommends that Northwestern University provide trans and gender nonconforming students safe, comfortable, and gender-affirming housing.
7. Strengthening Community, Connection, and Collaboration
The task force recommends that Northwestern University cultivate a campus community that fosters a sense of community and connection for trans and gender non-conforming faculty, staff, and students.