Following B.C. government, UVic expands gender declaration options starting fall 2022
After the Government of British Columbia issued a policy change regarding gender designations in January 2022, UVic is following suit by offering more options in selecting gender identity and expression in their system of record.
The B.C. government revised its legislation earlier this year to allow two-spirit, transgender, and gender-diverse people in the province to adjust their gender designations on their BC Services Card, B.C. driver’s licence, BCID card, and B.C. birth certificate without the need of confirmation from a health care professional.
“Our government is committed to advancing equity for two-spirit, transgender, and gender-diverse people,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health, in a news release by the B.C. government. “This announcement will make it easier for people to have their true genders reflected on their B.C. identification documents. We will continue our work toward creating a health-care system that works for everyone.”
Now, UVic is echoing the province’s decision through gender designation policy-making of their own.
These diversified gender declaration options are being added to Banner, UVic’s main record system, where information is confidentially secured. It will be available to UVic applicants, students, and employees.
“Being able to report on the gender composition of students and employees can be useful in campus planning and policy decisions, and in advocating for our community,” said UVic in a statement about these new options.
“It can help to identify where non-binary students are under-represented in academic programs or identify areas with few transgender applicants. Having expanded data will be useful in developing priorities where UVic needs to better integrate gender and diversity-inclusive approaches to programs and services.”
Two expanded gender questions are replacing the current gender selection choices of female/male/not available. This first question is in regards to gender identity, with options such as man/non-binary/woman/prefer not to answer. The second question is in regards to gender expression, with options such as cisgender/transgender/prefer not to answer.
However, some at UVic wish this decision had been made sooner.
“This is a bare minimum act,” said Zoë Bown, the Pride communications officer. “At the start of this year, B.C. expanded their gender designations and declarations actions. This is UVic now following up with the B.C. policy, so it’s not necessarily UVic taking that step and taking that action, it’s just them following what’s expected.”
Bown indicates how important it is to affirm diversity and make sure there is visibility for all students here at UVic.
Still, Bown wants the university to take more steps towards inclusion.
“While it’s important and affirming for our community and for gender-diverse students and faculty, we’re looking forward to seeing what else can come out of this and other ways that we can be seen and heard,” said Bown.
“Whether it’s going to be menstrual product availability, or a push for more multi-stall universal washrooms, or representation in our institute’s curriculum and programming and policy-making, we’re waiting to see those changes now — now that we’ve seen this [policy change].”