The University of the Philippines is encouraging its students and faculty members to be more proactive in creating an inclusive classroom environment. In a new memo dated March 15, 2021, the school issued guidelines on affirming transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) students' names, pronouns, and titles.
As explained by UP's Center for Women's and Gender Studies, "It is not unusual, however, for TGNC people to experience deadnaming (i.e., being called by their legal name) and misgendering (i.e., being called by pronouns or titles that do not affirm their gender). Both deadnaming and misgendering are acts of discrimination and violence against TGNC people, specifically, and LGBTQI people, more generally."
With the new guidelines, the school hopes for students and faculty members to address TGNC students by the names that affirm their gender identities (also referred to as their lived name) as well as their chosen pronouns. To initiate this, the guidelines included a sample prompt from a faculty member which students and professors alike can refer to. They are also encouraged to include their own preferred pronouns in e-mail signatures and use gender-neutral language (i.e., using "everyone" insteaf of "guys" or "ladies and gentlemen") and pronouns whenever possible (i.e., using "they" instead of "he/she").
Additionally, the memo also mentioned that the school is working on creating a "transgender-affirmative" academic information system which will allow students and faculty members to use their lived names in usernames and e-mail addresses issued by the school.
Several members of the LGBTQIA+ community have expressed their gratitude towards the proactive approach of the school in suppporting the community, including Miss Trans Global 2020 Mela Habijan. "Thank you, UP, for actualizing this ground step to inclusion. And thank you for reassuring us of a safe space where we can learn and learn to live. I hope more an more universities, colleges, and schools will follow your footsteps," she shares in a Facebook post.