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Gender Queer, Non-Binary, Transgender Task Force Report Update - Winter 2020

During the 2018 – 2019 academic year, the Gender Queer, Non-Binary, Transgender (GQNBT) Task Force convened to explore how Northwestern University could better support the success of gender queer, non-binary and/or transgender students, faculty and staff. 

Sponsored by Provost Jonathan Holloway, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, and Interim Vice President for Human Resources Priya Harjani, the group met monthly from October to June to discuss a wide range of issues that are relevant to promoting the wellbeing of trans and gender non-conforming students, faculty, and staff.  The Task Force assessed the current landscape to identify gaps in policies and resources, and recommended strategies that will facilitate a more accessible, safe, and welcoming campus environment.

Led by Co-chairs Drs. Sekile M. Nzinga, Director of the Women’s Center and Lecturer in Gender and Sexuality Studies; and Héctor Carrillo, Professor of Sociology, and Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Co-Director of the Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN), the group set out to address 3 main objectives:

  1. To identify key challenges faced by gender queer, non-binary, transgender and transitioning individuals at Northwestern
  2. To review existing data and information available about the gender queer, non-binary and transgender population and their needs
  3. To submit a report on findings and recommendations to better support the success of gender queer, non-binary and transgender individuals

The yearlong effort resulted in a report which highlights seven prioritized recommendations along with their related thematic summaries, proposed actions and considerations for implementation.  In addition, the document contains background information on prior gender-inclusive initiatives at Northwestern, examples from other institutions and additional suggested readings.

In fall 2019, GQNBT Task Force Co-chairs presented the Report to Task Force Sponsors who subsequently endorsed the following next steps:



Share Recommendations and Disseminate Report

Winter 2020

Take Immediate Actions

Winter 2020

Appoint Implementation Team

Winter 2020

Explore Recommendations, Proposed Actions and Implementation

Spring – Summer 2020

Share Update on Progress

Fall 2020


While each recommendation is accompanied by a series of proposed activities, the following immediate actions will be taken to help support the success of our gender-queer, non-binary and transgender community members:

Immediate Actions (Winter – Spring 2020)


Immediate Action(s)

Additional Information

Respecting and Affirming Names and Identity*

Work with University Registrar and Northwestern IT to explore capture of students’ pronouns and expand use of preferred name in campus systems

Office of the Registrar


Creating a Gender-Inclusive Learning and Working Environment*


Promote resources currently available through the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching, and Human Resources

Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching

Learning and Organizational Development, Human Resources

Creating Gender-Inclusive Residential Services*


Disseminate information about current gender-open housing options

Residential Services, Student Affairs


Expanding Gender-Inclusive Facilities*


Resign single-occupancy restrooms as all-gender in compliance with the IL Equitable Restrooms Act; Create and post an online campus inventory of all-gender, single-occupancy restrooms

The Equitable Restroom Act. Illinois General Assembly


Expanding Health Services and Supporting Well-Being*


Post on-line current campus-based health and wellbeing services and support available to students, faculty and staff

Gender Queer, Non-Binary, Transgender Task Force Website


Strengthening Community, Connection, and Collaboration

Create a central webpage where resources can be found

Gender Queer, Non-Binary, Transgender Task Force Website

Increasing University Resources


Bolster support for existing groups and resources

Gender Queer, Non-Binary, Transgender Task Force Website

*Identified as critical priority area by Task Force

As Northwestern University continues to evolve and become more diverse it is imperative to cultivate and nurture an inclusive environment where everyone is safe and feels welcome.  The meticulous and comprehensive nature of these recommendations will help to ensure the success of our collective efforts towards these ends.  Click here to access the full report.