Applaud University of Iowa for Allowing Students to Self-Identify as Transgender on Admissions Applications

Target: Michael Barron, University Admissions Director

Goal: Commend the University of Iowa for including transgender as a gender option on their applications and asking students if they identify with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community

The University of Iowa has become the nation’s first public university to include optional questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on its applications. A drop-down menu for the University’s online application process will now offer transgender as an option next to male and female. The application also offers an option question asking if the student identifies with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The new application went into effect on December 1, 2012. The admissions office now has the immediate opportunity to email students identifying as LGBT with links to information on housing options and campus resources that may interest them.

This decision is praised by Campus Pride, a group that describes itself on its website as a group to serve LGBT and ally student leaders and campus organizations in the areas of leadership development, support programs and services to create safe, more inclusive LGBT-friends colleges and universities. They believe this decision will help hold the university administrators accountable for ensuring a safe learning environment for the LGBT community.

The University of Iowa and Elmhurst College, a private liberal arts school in Chicago, are the only two universities to offer these options. Elmhurst College became the first ever college to add sexual orientation questions to their application, which came into effect for the 2012-2013 school year.

Incoming students could potentially feel pressure in how they are going to answer these questions, whether or not they are ready. However, these questions are completely optional. This progressive step deserves praise. Sign the petition to applaud the University of Iowa’s decision to include questions regarding sexual orientation on their applications.


Dear Mr. Barron,

The new application for students enrolling in the University of Iowa should be praised for its inclusive questions. Offering a transgender option next to the male or female categories, a step that LGBT advocates have been pushing for a while, proves that this university cares about the students applying. By learning more about the student when contact is first made, the university is able to cater specifically to their needs and track their progress throughout their college career.

Hopefully this university’s decision will lead other universities to do the same. Offering the questions as optional will allow students to decide when and if they are ready to answer. Thank you so much for your efforts to make LGBT students feel more included and enriching their college experience as a whole. This is a big advancement and could change the way these students view the college application process.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jose Rodrigues Migueis via blogspot

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