The last decade has been a whirlwind for transgender policy in schools.
As trans students fight for their rights—such as restroom access or having corrected gender-markers and names on officials records—universities across Texas have gradually updated their policies. Next month, the Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit (TTNS) will showcase ways for schools to usher in kinder campuses for trans and gender non-conforming students at the group’s 10th annual conference.
The Summit was started by local activist and trans woman Josephine Tittsworth, the namesake of the Josephine Tittsworth Act at the University of Houston, which allows trans students to use corrected gender-markers and names on university documents.
“She started helping universities create policies that were more inclusive, and there was a feeling that it needed to be more of a conference than a one-on-one meeting,” said Rebecca Councill, TTNS’s director of media.
“It’s interesting how much kinder people’s language is once they attend the summit, and how much more accepting they are of others,” Councill added. “A lot of times, after the summit, people have a different outlook on how they treat people who identify differently than them.”
Since the first summit at UH, the event has been held at the University of Houston at Clear Lake, Rice University and Texas A&M University. This year, it returns to UH for the 10th anniversary on July 13 and 14.
Keynote speakers will include Alan Dettlaff, the dean of UH’s Graduate College of Social Work, who is also a member of the Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, and the Board of Directors of the Coalition for the Homeless and Mental Health America of Greater Houston; and Jessica Soukup, a writer and activist who serves on the boards of Campus Pride, The Central Texas Transgender Health Coalition, Queer Women in Leadership and the Pantsuit Republic.
Representatives from at least two Title IX departments, at Rice University and Stephen F. Austin University, will be in attendance. And OutSmart columnist Monica Roberts, publisher of the blog TransGriot, hosts a history lesson at the summit every year.
For more info on the summit or to register, go here.