Suffolk University is committed to creating an affirming community for our transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming students, faculty, and staff.
We are currently in the process of assessing the needs of our Trans* community and will updating this page frequently over the coming year. Developing this Trans* resource page is a core initiative for the Office of Diversity Services.
We encourage Trans* students who are navigating campus services to reach out to our office for support and guidance when needed.
Living on Campus
Our campus partners in Residence Life & Housing will work with all students to find a housing situation that is affirming and will support each student’s academic growth.
If you have concerns about housing, please be in touch with Caroline Davis, the Associate Director of Residence Life & Housing.
Student Health Insurance
Starting August 21, 2014, transition-related care will be covered by our student health insurance plan for the 2014-2015 academic year. For more information, please contact our office.
The 2013-2014 student health insurance plan does not cover transition-related medical care.
As a part of our institutional commitment to fostering a Trans* inclusive campus, Suffolk University has gender-inclusive or all-gender restrooms in most of our buildings. This campaign, led by our office, was a collaboration between The Division of Student Affairs, Residence Life & Housing, and Facilities Planning & Management. In Spring 2014, 11 new single-use gender-inclusive restrooms were designated. Please see the list of locations below. The 10 Somerset Building, the state-of-the-art academic building set to open Fall 2015, will also include single-use gender-inclusive restrooms. If you have questions about gender-inclusive restrooms, please see our Frequently Asked Questions section below.
Single-use Gender-Inclusive Restrooms:
Building Floor Location Ridgeway B 2 restrooms, court-side Archer 1 C. Walsh Theater Sawyer 3 2 restrooms (S307, S305) Miller Hall 1 Near elevators 10 West 1 Near Residence Life & Housing Office 10 West 2 2 restrooms on the Mezzanine Modern Theater B Modern Theater (O-25) 150 Tremont Street B Down hallway, away from Multi-Purpose Room
Please check out the campus map to locate the buildings listed above. If you would like the Gender-Inclusive Restrooms Guide postcard, you can pick one up in our office.
Donahue Multi-Stall All-Gender Restrooms:
Before the beginning of the 2014-2015 academic year, the restrooms located on the 4th floor of Donahue will become all-gender restrooms. To aid in the transition from gender-specific to all-gender restrooms we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help guide you in your conversations with students and other faculty and staff members. If you need further assistance, please contact The Office Of Diversity Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.573.8613. You can also feel free to direct students to our office, which is located in the Archer Building, Room481.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is an all-gender restroom?
All-gender or gender-inclusive restrooms are bathroom facilities that anyone of any gender can use. In contrast, gender-specific bathrooms are those that mark “men” or “women” on the door.
Why are they important?
All-gender restrooms are an important way to create a safer campus environment for transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming members of the Suffolk community. They are also a means by which our community can demonstrate our commitment to inclusion and diversity. For transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming individuals, gender-specific restrooms can be a place where they are met with intimidation, harassment, and/or violence. These individuals are sometimes deemed to be in the “wrong” bathroom. Having a safe place to go is a fundamental concern for this community.
What happens when a transgender, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming person doesn’t have access to safe restroom facilities?
A variety of things can happen in this scenario. A person might be faced with planning their day based on where they can safely use facilities (on and off-campus). In this scenario, there are often limited options. A person may select to use a gender-specific restroom, where they could face intimidation, fear, violence, and even arrest. A person may choose to not drink in order to not use the facilities. Both of these options can have severe medical consequences.
Why was this restroom selected?
This restroom was selected because it is a highly trafficked student area without an all-gender single-use bathroom.
I am uncomfortable using the restroom with people of other genders. What does this mean for me?
All of the other restrooms in the Donahue building will remain gender-specific and you are welcome to use the restrooms on any other floor.
With that said, change can be uncomfortable. As we make alterations to increase access and education on this topic, we all have the opportunity to commit to adjusting to the changes before us. Sharing a restroom with other genders can be new and different. This might be an opportunity to engage critically with yourself around your ideas of sex, gender, modesty, comfort, public/private spaces, and social practices. Of course you are free to choose if you will use gender-specific or gender-inclusive restrooms.
Where are the closest gender-specific restrooms?
Bathrooms on all other floors of the Donahue building will remain gender-specific.
What is a multi-use restroom?
A multi-use restroom is a restroom in which more than one person can use the restroom facilities at the same time.
Will women be less safe in all-gender restrooms?
When some people hear about gender-inclusive or all-gender restrooms their first reaction is to feel concern for women’s safety. However, the research in this area shows that women are currently not protected by the existence of gender-specific restrooms. The designation of a restroom as “women only” does not provide a real barrier to potential predators. Gender-specific restrooms do not prevent sexual assault. In addition, there has never been a study that has proven that the designation of gender-inclusive or all-gender restrooms increases incidents of sexual assault. Of course, people who are uncomfortable or who feel unsafe using an all-gender restroom have the option of using a gender-specific restroom within a close proximity of anywhere they are on campus.
Why aren’t all of the restrooms becoming all-gender restrooms?
We are striving for inclusion and inclusion means having a multiplicity of options. We want to provide restrooms that work for our entire Suffolk community. Therefore, we will be keeping gender-specific bathrooms.
Some of these terms were used above, please use this list as a reference.
Birth Assigned Sex – the designation that refers to a person’s biological, morphological, hormonal, and genetic composition. One’s sex is typically assigned at birth and classified as either male or female.
Cisgender – individuals whose gender identity and expression line up with their birth-assigned sex.
Gender Expression – a person’s presentation of their gender. These outward expressions of gender can be intentional or unintentional and involve one’s mannerisms, clothing, hair, speech, clothing, and activities (and more!).
Gender Identity – a person’s innate sense of their own gender: being a man, a woman, a girl, a boy, in between, or outside of the gender binary.
Gender Non-Conforming: person that challenges the gender binary by identifying or performing their gender outside in a way that does not conform to dominant constructions of masculinity and femininity.
GenderQueer – an identity term for a person who may not identify with and/or express themselves within the gender binary.
Transsexual – people who change their presentation to express their gender identity. Examples of these transitions might include: changing one’s name, pronouns, hair, or manner of dress, and medical transitions, like gender affirmation surgery, hormone replacement therapy.
Transgender or trans*: is an umbrella term for people who do not identify with their assigned birth sex and/or whose gender expressions do not conform to societal expectations. Trans* encompasses many different gender identities and expressions. Many people who do not identify as trans* but still face discrimination due to a real or perceived gender transgression.
Name Change, Gender Change, and ID Cards
Students who are interested in changing their name and/or gender on university records should be in touch with our office. We will act as a liaison on this area and help you navigate the process.