Information on how to report transphobic bullying and harassment at UCL and further resources for support and guidance

Many trans, intersex, and gender non-conforming people report experiencing discrimination and inequality in the UK. Research from Stonewall’s 2018 ‘LGBT In Britain’ trans report found that two in five people have had a hate crime committed against them in the last year, and recent reports of anti-LGBTQ+ violence in the UK demonstrate that transphobic hate crimes have increased by 240%: from 1,292 reports in 2016-17 to 4,399 in 2021-22 (PinkNews 15 August 2022). 

At UCL we pride ourselves on inclusivity and diversity and commit to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all our students and staff. We recognise the right of all our staff and students to choose whether to be open about their gender identity and history. Any instances of bullying, harassment, or other exclusionary behaviours on the basis of an individual’s identified gender or speculation about their sex and/or gender reported by individuals or groups at UCL will be taken seriously and will be considered alongside the Prevention of Bullying, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy as grounds for disciplinary action. This kind of bullying and harassment can take many forms, such as:

-          Making derogatory jokes
-          Behaviour perceived as unacceptable or unwanted by the recipient
-          Asking intrusive questions, such as questioning why someone identifies as trans, or asking if they have had surgery
-          Deliberately and repeatedly ignoring an individual’s identified pronouns
-          Speculating openly about an individual’s gender, or whether they ‘pass’ as male or female
-          Unlawful disclosure of an individual’s trans history under the Gender Recognition Act
-          Calling a transgender or non-binary person their birth name or name they used prior to transitioning; this is known as deadnaming
-          Denying or disputing the validity and/or existence of a trans or non-binary individual’s identity directly to them 

Discrimination, bullying and harassment can occur both through deliberate actions or as the result of insensitivity or a lack of awareness. The responsibility for unacceptable behaviours lies with the individual exhibiting them. This could have a serious and detrimental impact on an individual’s health and wellbeing and can impact their work or ability to study. It is therefore essential that all instances of discrimination, bullying and harassment are reported so that preventative measures can be taken.

Students and staff can use Report + Support to report anonymously, or with their contact details. Full information on the Report + Support process after you submit can be found here. It is important to note that there is limited action that UCL can take with anonymous reports, and we will be unable to get in touch or give you advice on how to resolve a situation or any action that can be taken. If you want response or need immediate action to be taken, you are encouraged to fill in the ‘report with contact details’ form.

Transphobia and the Equality Act 2010:

The Equality Act 2010 protects trans people from direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimisation. The act defines harassment as “unwanted conduct which violates someone’s dignity or creates an intimidating, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.” Under the S7 of the Equality Act, “a person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.” 

This is further clarified under the Equality Act Employment Statutory Code of Practice 2.23 - under the Act ‘gender reassignment’ is a personal process, that is, moving away from one’s birth sex to the preferred gender, rather than a medical process, and 2.24 - the reassignment of a person’s sex may be proposed but never gone through; the person may be in the process of reassigning their sex; or the process may have happened previously. It may include undergoing the medical gender reassignment treatments, but it does not require someone to undergo medical treatment in order to be protected.

Reporting transphobic bullying, harassment or hate crimes outside of UCL:

It is important to report transphobic bullying, harassment or hate crimes that you either experience or witness. This can also be done anonymously. 
You can report to the police by dialling 101, and you can request to speak to a LAGLO (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Liaison Officer). In an emergency, dial 999.

Individuals who do not wish to report being the victim of or witness to a hate crime to the police can report to the Hate Crime Network: Tel: 0300 1234 148

Terminology and definitions:

Trans: An umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) transgender, cross dresser, non-binary or genderqueer (GQ).

Transphobia: The fear or dislike of someone because they are trans, including denying their identity or refusing to accept it. Discrimination, harassment and bullying or hate crime experienced by trans people (or those associated with them) on the grounds of their gender identity and/or expression.

Transmisogyny: A term used for prejudice, discrimination and violence directed at trans women and transfeminine people due to both their trans status and their womanhood or femininity. 

Cisgender or Cis: A person whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth. Non-trans is also used by some people.

Deadnaming: Calling someone by their birth name after they have changed their name. This term is often associated with trans people who have changed their name as part of their transition.

Intersex: A term used to describe a person who may have the biological attributes of both sexes or whose biological attributes do not fit with societal assumptions about what constitutes male or female. Intersex people may identify as male, female, or non-binary. Some intersex people identify as trans and others do not.

Non-binary: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity does not sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’. Non-binary identities are varied and can include people who identify with some aspects of binary identities, while others reject them entirely. 

Further support and resources:

Full information on Report + Support at UCL for staff and students, including external support, advisors, reporting guidance and supporting other people can be found on the Report + Support webpage.

Students can find further information on student support and wellbeing, the Students’ Union LGBT+ Students’ Network and our partnership with Gendered Intelligence on the ‘support for trans students at UCL’ webpage.

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