Adjusting to Sexual and Gender Identity Questioning/Transitioning


  • LGBTQ is a colloquial abbreviation representing members of a community who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer and/or questioning.
  • Transgender (TG) is an umbrella term for individuals who believe their gender or gender expression diverges from the gender they were assigned at birth while Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) refers to people who do not adhere to society's rules about dress and activities for people based on one's assigned gender.
  • LGBTQ students who are able to identify a supportive staff member at their campus academically outperforms peers who could not.
  • Social norms regarding gender and sex add to the difficulty of transitioning; questioning and asserting one's identity; and may foster feelings of shame, guilt or self-loathing.
  • TG students are often the victims of harassment, assault, bullying and other forms of violence on campus.  School personnel are less likely to intervene with these forms of violence.
  • TG an GNC students may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, etc.
  • In 2010, the Center for Collegiate Mental Health demonstrates that transgender students were twice as likely to engage in self-harming behaviors and three times more likely to engage in serious suicidal behaviors.


  • Student displays a change in behavior or affect such as withdrawing, sadness, anger, etc.
  • Student displays a decline in hygiene and personal care.


  • Maintain neutral use of identifiers.  Ask about preferred name ad other preferred identifiers.
  • Inquire about support networks.
  • cognize boundaries of competence while remaining a supportive party.
  • Ask for clarification or permission to discuss further. Maintain rapport as much as possible.
  • Refer students to intercultural Affairs to offer additional forms of support.
  • Refer student to Counseling and Psychological Services (828.227.7469) for support if student exhibits a need or if there is a request for counseling services.


  • Associate all issues and concerns that student has to their sexual or gender identify.
  • Avoid student's discussion of sexuality or gender issues.
  • Do not present being LGBTQ as a "lifestyle" or phase.
  • Advocate for normative expressions of sexuality and gender. Avoid expressing personal biases.
  • Using terms/identifiers and others descriptors different than student's language.

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