Oberlin College policy would mandate transgender sensitivity training for entire athletics department

Campus Reform Reporter

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  • Proposed policy would make transgender sensitivity training mandatory for all staff and coaches.
  • Would replace all instances of "he/him/his/she/her/hers" with "they/them/theirs" in documents.
  • Policy reportedly likely to be implemented in the fall of 2015.
  • Oberlin College is considering a set of rules to create a more “inclusive” athletics department which includes mandatory transgender sensitivity training for all of its staff and coaches.

    The training requirement is part of the latest draft of the school’s “Guidelines for Inclusion and Respectful Treatment of Intercollegiate Transgender Student Athletes,” developed by the school’s Transgender Participation Advisory Committee and released at the end of April.

    “It’s basically like, don’t question people about their transitioning processes, respect pronouns and names, don’t use ‘ladies’ or ‘gentlemen’ when addressing a group of people.”   

    “It is basically intended to sort of be a 101,” Emily Clarke, a junior and member of the committee, said in an interview with Campus Reform on Thursday. “We also talk about choice, privilege and agency in presentation of gender and pronouns and ends with trans-allyship dos and don’ts.”

    “It’s basically like, don’t question people about their transitioning processes, respect pronouns and names, don’t use ‘ladies’ or ‘gentlemen’ when addressing a group of people,” she said.

    Clarke is also a former member of the Oberlin Rhinos, the school’s women and trans-inclusive rugby team.

    In addition to the training, the new policy would also mandate that athletic department documents replace “FTM” (female-to-male) and “MTF” (male-to-female) with “a transgender student-athlete who was designated a female at birth and is/is not taking medically prescribed hormone replacement therapy related to gender transition” and “a transgender student-athlete who was designated a male at birth and is/is not taking medically prescribed hormone replacement therapy related to gender transition.”

    The guidelines would also replace all “he/him/his/she/her/hers” pronouns with “they/them/theirs.”

    The guidelines indicate that student athletes are also “strongly encouraged” to attend.

    Clarke said that athletic department staff has attended the training in previous years, but that the new guidelines would make it officially mandatory.

    She said that the school has not yet discussed enforcement of the policy, and the committee is still seeking feedback on the draft.

    But The Oberlin Review, the school’s official newspaper, reported that “it is likely that these new guidelines will be implemented in the fall of 2015.”

    Oberlin College did not respond to a request from Campus Reform in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter @kctimpf

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