Pitt has created gender transition guidelines to help foster an understanding of transgender issues in the workplace and guidance on how to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for individuals transitioning at the University. Please take a moment to review the Gender Transition Guidelines.
Gender Transition Guidelines
The University of Pittsburgh strives to create and maintain an environment where all members of the University community are valued for their strengths, feel respected, and are able to thrive. Diversity and inclusion are core goals and values of the University, critical to the fulfillment of its mission.
These gender transition guidelines were created to help foster an understanding of transgender issues in the workplace and guidance on how to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for individuals transitioning at the University. If you have questions concerning your responsibilities as a member of the University community, please contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at 412-648-7860.
The University's Commitment to Inclusion, and its Discrimination Prohibition
In its 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, the University has established "Embrace Diversity and Inclusion" as a key goal. Pitt takes very seriously its commitment to ensuring that the needs of all members of our University community are being addressed as we work to continue to enhance our welcoming and inclusive environment. In addition, Pitt expressly prohibits discrimination against or harassment of members of the University community. That discrimination prohibition includes any discrimination or harassment because of a person’s gender identity or expression. Specifically, "gender identity and expression" is included in the list of characteristics that are protected under Pitt’s Non-Discrimination, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, Policy No. 07-01-03:
"This policy affirms the University of Pittsburgh commitment to nondiscrimination, equal opportunity, and affirmative action in admissions, employment, access to and treatment in University programs and activities, in accordance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations. (Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Executive Order 11246, as amended by Executive Order 11375; Revised Order No. 4; the Equal Pay Act of 1963, as amended; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974; Titles VII and VIII of the Public Health Service Act; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and all other applicable discrimination laws and ordinances of the United States, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Pittsburgh, or other applicable regional governance.)"
This is consistent with the University’s values, including equality of opportunity, human dignity, and racial/ethnic and cultural diversity. A University community member’s failure to comply with the above policy violates Pitt's core values. This violation could result in corrective action, up to and including dismissal or termination of their employment. Other important University Policies and practices which prohibit harassment and discrimination include the Provost's Anti-Harassment Policy and the University's Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Name Changes and Pronoun Use
Some people may choose to change their name to better match their gender identity. Consistent with the University’s values of inclusion and respect, you should use a coworker’s preferred name in everyday written and oral speech. In addition, some people may not feel that traditional gender pronouns fit their own gender identity. It can be helpful to ask someone what pronouns they prefer, and then use the identified pronouns.
Faculty, staff, and students are welcome to use restrooms that correspond to their gender identity. In addition, single-occupancy or unisex facilities may be found in many University facilities and may be used by all members of the University community.
The University is committed to maintaining a positive work environment and to conducting business in a positive and professional manner. Staff and faculty members are welcome to dress consistently with their gender identity. All staff and faculty members are required to comply with the standards of dress and appearance established by their department or workplace.
Guidelines for Supervisors
In light of the University’s values, including equality of opportunity, human dignity, diversity and inclusion, if a staff or faculty member informs you of their intention to transition, or is currently in the process of transitioning, your support is critical. Be open-minded and begin a dialogue with the staff or faculty member in order to learn more about that person’s needs and concerns. The ODI can provide advice and assistance for supervisors working with a transitioning staff or faculty member. Supervisors should be careful of their personal opinions regarding a staff or faculty member’s professional appearance. If a staff or faculty member dresses or behaves inappropriately, the supervisor should address the behavior using existing policies and procedures that apply to all staff and faculty members. Please contact the ODI if you have any questions or concerns.
Addressing Concerns of Co-workers or Other Members of the University Community
Please keep in mind that all staff and faculty members are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with University policies and values. Staff or faculty members who raise concerns about a co-worker’s gender identity should be provided with the University’s anti-discrimination policy, harassment policy, and other related policies. Supervisors are also encouraged to provide their concerned staff and faculty members with the link to this webpage. Staff and faculty should be informed that they must work cooperatively and respectfully with their co-workers regardless of their gender identity. Failure to do so could result in corrective action, including termination of their employment. The ODI can help to schedule trainings for staff or faculty members on transgender issues; training can help to promote a positive work environment for all staff or faculty members. If a staff or faculty member expresses concern regarding a co-worker’s gender identity after reviewing the University’s policies, the supervisor may meet with the staff or faculty member individually to answer questions, or may refer the person to the ODI.
Human Resources Department (412) 624-7000
Staff or Faculty Assistance Program: Life Solutions (800) 647-3327 or http://www.hr.pitt.edu/lifesolutions
Office of Diversity and Inclusion (412) 648-7860
Terms You May Hear
A person’s internal, deeply-felt sense of being male, female, something other, or in-between. We all have a gender identity.
An individual’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms, speech patterns, and social interactions that are perceived as masculine or feminine.
An umbrella term that describes people whose gender identity and/or gender expression is different from their birth assigned gender.
Gender non-conforming people have, or are perceived to have, gender characteristics and/or behaviors that do not conform to traditional or societal expectations.
The process of changing gender from one’s birth-assigned gender to one’s actual gender identity is different for every person. There are many different ways to transition. For some people, it is a complex process that takes place over a long period of time, while for others it is a one- or two-step process that happens more quickly. Transition may include "coming out": telling one’s family, friends, and/or co-workers; changing one’s name and/or sex on legal documents; accessing hormone therapy; and possibly accessing medically necessary surgical procedures.