Emerson College seeks to be a welcoming and inclusive campus for all members of our community, campus affiliates, and visitors. As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, Emerson welcomes gender diversity and affirms our dedication to supporting the access and success of all members of our Community, including those who identify as transgender, gender nonconforming, and genderqueer.
Below, you will find information and resources for transgender, genderqueer, or gender nonconforming students, faculty, staff, and guests, including information on name, email, and ID changes, the location of inclusive restrooms, information about health insurance, and inclusive housing options.
We have also included information for further education about terminology and the use of pronouns.
Name, Email and ID Change
Emerson recognizes that transgender, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming students, faculty, and staff may not use the name that they were assigned at birth, as it does not reflect their identity. We also recognize that for a variety of reasons students, faculty, and staff may not wish to go through a legal name change or may be in the middle of doing so, but wish to have their records reflect their chosen name before the process is complete.
As such, the College has staff in place to assist students who wish to update their email addresses, academic class listings, and ID cards with their preferred name.
To inquire or begin the process of updating an email address, academic class listing, and ID card, please visit Name Update Considerations for Transgender and Non-Binary Students, or email Tamia Jordan, Director of Intercultural Student Affairs, on the 4th floor of the Walker Building, 120 Boylston St. or at tamia_jordan [at] emerson.edutitle="Email Tamia Jordan".
Additionally, students who have gone through a legal name change process and wish to update their official College records, including email address, academic record, diploma, and ID card can follow the Registrar’s Name & Gender Change Policy.
Staff and faculty who wish to inquire and/or begin the name change process should contact their Human Resources representative at hr_service_center [at] emerson.edutitle="Email a Human Resources representative".
In addition to gender-specific restrooms, the College recognizes the importance of making inclusive restrooms available to all members of our community. For transgender, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming individuals, gender-specific restrooms can be a place where they are met with intimidation, harassment, and/or violence. We believe having a safe restroom is a fundamental right of all members of our community.
All single-stall restrooms at Emerson have been designated inclusive restrooms with appropriate signage. Single-stall inclusive restrooms may be used by any person. Additionally, select multi-stall restrooms in high-traffic areas have been designated multi-stall inclusive restrooms, meaning any person of any gender can use them. These multi-stall restrooms are on:
- Walker 3, 5, 6
- Ansin 2, 6, 8
- Piano Row Lower Level
- Paramount 3 and 4
- Little Building Student Performance Center
Should you prefer not to use a multi-stall inclusive restroom, you have the option to use a gender-specific multi-stall restroom or a single-stall restroom in the vicinity or on a different floor. We encourage all members of the Emerson Community to use the restroom that best reflects their gender identity.
Gender affirming surgery benefits are included under Blue Cross Blue Shield for students, and Harvard Pilgrim Employee Insurance for eligible and enrolled faculty and staff members and their eligible dependents. Please visit the University Health Plans website and Human Resources website for additional information regarding health insurance benefits.
Inclusive Housing: "Gender Neutral Housing"
The Office of Housing and Residential Education offers “Gender Neutral Housing” (GNH) that allows students, in mutual agreement, to share a multiple occupancy room or a multiple occupancy suite, regardless of the students’ genders. It allows students to choose to live with whom they are most comfortable and also provides housing options for students who may identify as transgender, genderqueer, or gender nonconforming.
Please visit the Office of Housing & Residence Education's Gender Neutral Housing website for information regarding the commitment, application, and review process.
Below are helpful definitions* related to gender and gender expression:
*These definitions came from the compendium Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, written by and for transgender and genderqueer authors.
Birth Assigned Gender is the gender that is given to an infant based on the infant's external genitals. One's gender is typically assigned at birth and classified as either male or female, consistent with notions of gender as binary in nature.
Cisgender refers to individuals whose gender identity aligns with their gender assigned at birth.
Female-to-Male (FTM) is a term that describes someone who was assigned a female gender at birth and currently has a male gender identity.
Gender Identity is a person’s inner knowledge of their gender or sense of being male, female, both, or neither. Sometimes this clashes with the way other people view a person's physical traits.
Gender Expression is how a person presents their gender often through behavior, clothing, hair, voice, mannerisms, social interactions and body characteristics.
Gender Nonconforming is an umbrella term that describes an individual who does not fit into traditional gender expectations or dominant constructions of masculinity and femininity.
Genderqueer is an term that is sometimes used to describe someone who defines their gender outside the constructs of male or female. This can include having no gender, being androgynous, or having elements of multiple genders.
Male-to-Female (MTF) is a term that describes someone who was assigned a male gender at birth and currently has a female gender identity.
Transgender (or Trans) is an umbrella term that may be used to describe people whose gender expression does not conform to cultural norms and/or whose gender identity is different from their gender assigned at birth. Transgender is a self-identity and some gender nonconforming people do not identify with this term.
Use of Pronouns
Emerson encourages students, faculty, and staff to ask community members about the pronouns they want used. One way to do this would be to ask, "What pronouns do you use?"
When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel invalidated, dismissed, and alienated. It is as if their very essence has been erased.
Gender Pronouns are the words that an individual use's for themself in place of their name. Asking and correctly using someone’s pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show respect for their gender identity. She/her/hers, he/him/his, and they/them/their are examples of commonly used pronouns, but are not the only pronouns that a person may use.
Gender Neutral Pronoun refers to a pronoun that is not associated with a particular gender, and does not imply male or female. Many English pronouns are gender neutral, including they and them. Some people may use other gender neutral pronouns including ze/hir/hirs.
Resources & Policies
Internal Emerson College Resources
- Healing & Advocacy Collective
- Bias Response Program
- LGBTQIA+ Student Life
- eQual: Emerson Resource Group for Staff and Faculty Who Identify as LGBTQ and Allies
- Title IX Access & Equity
- College Editorial Guidelines for Inclusive Language
- Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation
- Power-based Interpersonal Violence Policy
- BMC: Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery
- Fenway Health: Trans Health Program
- The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- Trans Bodies (a resource guide for the transgender community)
- Transgender Law Center
- Gender Proud