Target: Oxford University
Goal: Support decision to change exams dress code to be more accommodating toward transgender students
Sitting exams at a prestigious university can be a stressful experience in the most regular of cases. But for transgender students at Oxford University, the stress inherent to final exams was only compounded by the strict gender-specific dress code students were forced to adhere to. Until recently, regulations stipulated that all students sitting exams or attending formal occasions were required to wear ceremonial clothing particular to their gender, with girls in dark skirts or trousers with white blouses and boys in dark suits with white bow-ties. If a person who was assigned male at birth wanted to wear the girls’ uniform, they had to seek special permission from university proctors, and the same for those assigned female at birth wishing to wear the male clothing.
However, new regulations pushed forth by the university’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Society (LGBTQ Soc) allow trans* students and others to dress in either uniform at will without receiving special permissions. This policy change maintains the formal traditions of the school while making room for students who may not be comfortable with wearing their official gender-specific clothing.
Congratulate Oxford University on taking a step forward and helping to ensure its transgender students feel as comfortable and safe while attending formal occasions or sitting exams as their non-transgender peers do.
Dear Oxford University,
I am writing today in acknowledgement of the recent policy change you made which allows students to wear formal clothing of the opposite sex without receiving special permission while sitting exams or attending formal occasions. This is a great step forward in ensuring that your university be as open and accommodating towards transgender and genderqueer students as it is to students who identify as and conform to the gender they were assigned at birth. Sitting exams is a stressful experience under the best of circumstances, and wearing clothing one is not comfortable in only increases the stress level trans* students face.
Thank you for making this change in policy: I applaud your willingness to find a compromise whereby tradition is maintained without the risk of emotional damage being done to students. I hope that you will continue to educate yourselves on the needs of trans* people and remain accommodating to policy changes where they need to occur.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: geograph.org.uk