Lecturers will be trained in gender sensitivity to raise awareness of language choices when referring to the terms ‘gender’ and ‘sex’.
The motion was voted in by a panel of student representatives at a Better University Forum, and aims to tackle the problem of ‘rights and recognition’ for students who identify as transgender.
The term ‘sex’ is used to define biological differences between men and women, whereas ‘gender’ refers to social roles attributed to them.
Union LGBT* Liberation Officer Lily Aarons told The Gryphon, ‘There is an obvious benefit for students who don’t identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. These students can often feel marginalised and side-lined in lectures where gender and sex are conflated. This can lead to anything from annoyance to offence, to feelings of discrimination’.
She added that staff will ‘gain knowledge of issues they may not have known about before, enabling them to think about their words more carefully and be more sensitive’.
The measure was reportedly introduced after a Genetics lecturer told students that chromosomes determine gender, as opposed to sex.
LUU Equality and Diversity Officer Gemma Turner said, ‘This is something that a lot of students are affected by regularly and I will be working with the University and our LGBT* liberation coordinators to ensure this is a high priority this year, with the aim to raise awareness and educate lecturers on the correct uses of the terms’.
The Union aims to implement the training over the next few months.