FAQs on Princeton’s Commitment to Providing an Inclusive Environment for Transgender Individuals on Campus
The following FAQs are intended to reaffirm Princeton University’s values and support of transgender students and employees and to provide information regarding the University’s policies with respect to gender identity and gender expression, as well as information regarding how the recent federal actions impact Princeton University students and employees.
1. What is Princeton's policy regarding gender identity?
Princeton University is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming educational and working environment for all members of its community. Gender identity and gender expression are protected characteristics according to Princeton’s policies, including Respect for Others and our Non-Discrimination policies, as well as our Statement on Diversity and Community. Consistent with our values and applicable law, the University maintains a comprehensive set of policies and procedures designed to protect members of the University community from discrimination and harassment. This includes prohibiting discrimination and harassment based on sex, gender identity, and gender expression.
2. Media sources have reported that the federal government may change the legal definition of gender. What effects would this have at Princeton?
As of October 2018, the details of any proposed federal guidance or legislation are unknown. However, Princeton will continue to abide by its non-discrimination policies, which protect students and employees from discrimination based on personal characteristics including gender identity and expression, and Princeton remains committed to supporting the well-being and needs of transgender students and employees.
Students will continue to be able to inform the Registrar of their gender identity, and all campus community members will continue to be able to provide information about preferred names in University records. Gender inclusive housing, restrooms and locker rooms will continue to be available.
3. In 2017, the federal government withdrew guidance regarding transgender students and workers. What does this mean?
In May of 2016, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education released guidance designed to ensure that “transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment.” The guidance specifically provided that transgender students had the right to use public school restrooms that match their gender identity. On February 22, 2017, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education withdrew these guidelines, thus removing federal protections for transgender students who sought to use public school bathrooms that aligned with their gender identity and referring individual cases to states, municipalities, and schools.
In October of 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice rescinded a prior federal government policy that provided that transgender workers were protected from discrimination under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.
These changes in federal guidance had no impact on Princeton’s policies.
4. What bathrooms and changing rooms are available to individuals on campus?
All members of the campus community and visitors are welcome to use the bathrooms and changing rooms in which they feel most comfortable. The University is currently in the process of converting all single-room lockable bathrooms to make them gender-inclusive. A map of gender-inclusive bathrooms around campus is available online.
5. What programs and services support transgender and gender non-conforming community members?
You can find information regarding support programs and services on the Trans at Princeton resources page, which has details on changing names and gender markers, as well as provides information on other needs that trans and gender non-conforming students and employees may have. University Health Services provides inclusive and comprehensive medical services specific to the trans community, including recent student and employee health plan expansions to gender-affirming surgeries and procedures. The University Student Life Committee passed a more expansive gender-inclusive housing policy in November 2016. You can read a guide that clarifies the existing housing process.
For additional information regarding the University’s efforts, please see the 2016 – 2017 Progress Report of the Transgender Advisory Committee.
6. What resources are available on campus for individuals who have experienced harassment or discrimination due to their gender identity or expression?
There are numerous confidential campus resources and non-confidential campus resources for individuals who have experienced harassment or discrimination due to their gender identity or gender expression. In addition, Princeton offers resources, such as the Diversity and Inclusion Centers, including the LGBT Center, that can provide assistance and support for concerns and experiences that do not rise to the level of harassment or discrimination.
7. What resources are available for community members who have questions about the legal implications of any federal policy changes?
On campus, the LGBT Center is the best source for up-to-date information about issues affecting transgender, genderqueer and gender non-conforming people. For legal advice, community members may also want to connect with the following organizations:
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
Transgender Law Center
8. Does New Jersey law address employment discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression?
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits employers from discriminating in any job-related action. The law provides protection for specified protected categories including gender identity or expression. For more information about how the LAD protects individuals from discrimination based on gender identity or expression, please see this Fact Sheet.