Empowering Leadership to Support Transgender Students and Staff within Higher Education: What Works to Raise Awareness and Effect Change?

Stephanie Mckendry, Matson Lawrence

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


There is increasing evidence that trans people face significant challenges studying and working in higher education (ECU, 2009; LGBT Youth Scotland, 2018; NUS, 2014; Stonewall, 2018a,b). Research undertaken at the University of Strathclyde to explore the experiences and challenges of this diverse group discovered a far greater proportion of students considering or having left their course, and issues around learning and teaching, placements and confidentiality (Mckendry and Lawrence, 2017; Lawrence and Mckendry, forthcoming 2019). While staff were often keen to support trans students, there was a lack of awareness or training to provide background context, a wider understanding of terminology or the support requirements that might improve their student experience. Similarly, trans and gender diverse staff encountered barriers in relation to applying for roles and a range of aspects of daily working life. Building upon the University of Strathclyde research, this project explored how to raise awareness effectively and promote change and leadership. The project worked with a sample of institutions to determine what materials would be effective in increasing awareness of the transgender population and building capacity and motivation to improve support. Engagement also focused on developing practical resources to enable positive change. The TransEDU research team – Dr Stephanie Mckendry and Dr Matson Lawrence – created and evaluated training materials, policy templates, mapping documents and multimedia resources that will inform university leaders and practitioners about the lived experiences, support needs and perspectives of trans students and staff. The project developed the support website trans.ac.uk as a free, open-access resource for those in higher education supporting trans, non-binary and gender diverse people. It includes training resources and materials, case studies of best practice, animated videos and guidance.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2019


  • education
  • students
  • work and employment
  • LGBT
  • transgender
  • equality
  • leadership
  • higher education


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