Content Warning: this page includes discussions of transphobic hate crime, violence, assault, discrimination, gatekeeping.

Tackling Transphobia


**Remember - in an emergency, or if you are in immediate danger, contact the Police on 999**


If you have experienced transphobia in any way, be it failure to accommodate you or transphobic hate crime, remember this: you are not the one at fault, and you are not alone.  Here in the UK, the law is on your side; in Cambridge, CUSU LGBT+ are 100% behind you in defending your rights under it.


Hate Crime

If you have experienced attack or assault, be it physical or verbal, or other forms of hate crime on the grounds of being trans, you do not have to suffer in silence. Transphobic discrimination and hate crime is illegal, and defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as the following: 


“The fear of or a dislike directed towards trans people, or a fear of or dislike directed towards their perceived lifestyle, culture or characteristics, whether or not any specific trans person has that lifestyle or characteristic. The dislike does not have to be so severe as hatred. It is enough that people do something or abstain from doing something because they do not like trans people.”


If you choose to report what you have experienced, you have a right to be listened to, believed and treated with respect and confidentiality by the police.  You can report in person at the Parkside police station, over the phone in a non-emergency by calling 101, or online via Report-It, the police online site for reporting hate crime: (content warning for discussion of homophobic and transphobic hate crime)


More information from Cambridgeshire Constabulary on reporting transphobic & homophobic hate crime can be found here: (content warning for racist slur & discussion of hate crime, assault, arson & abuse relating to racism, transphobia, homphobia, ageism & (dis)ableism)


Cambridgeshire Constabulary has an LGBT network administered by LGBT officers; they can be contacted in a non-emergency setting via email here:, or via Facebook here: (content warnings likely as above, but unreliable as page is constantly updated). Please note however that this is not a means of making any official report of hate crime.


The trans rep, CUSU LGBT+ welfare rep or CUSU Welfare and Rights officer are all available to talk through what has happened and able to guide you through any of these processes. The trans rep can be contacted here:

Neither CUSU LGBT+ nor the trans rep will force you to make a report; whether or not you want to do so is entirely up to you.


Transphobia from Supervisors, Tutors and other University Staff

Supervisors and other university teaching staff might not be very well-informed about trans issues - although we're trying to change that - but they still have a duty to be respectful and not take a transphobic attitude towards trans students. This includes using the name and pronouns that you ask them to use, not asking unnecessary and invasive questions, and keeping information about your trans status confidential from other staff and students.  


If a supervisor is not being respectful, you might find it helpful to show them some of the resources for colleges and university staff from this site. If they still persist in being disrespectful, or behave in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, there are several avenues you can follow.  Your college welfare officer, the CUSU LGBT+ trans rep, CUSU LGBT+ welfare officer or CUSU Welfare & Rights Officer are all able and willing to help you with this at any stage and it is well worth getting in touch if you are having difficulties.


Transphobic discrimination is covered by the University's Dignity @ Study policy (content warning for link: mentions of harassment, discrimination, bullying, rape, sexual assault), which details the official procedures to undertake if you are having an issue with disrespect from a member of staff. If your tutor is reasonably well informed and respectful about trans issues, they are probably the best person to contact initially. Your Director of Studies may also be a helpful person to contact, particularly since they often have more contact with supervisors than do tutors. 


However if you are not comfortable discussing matters with your tutor or DoS, there are other avenues of support. The Student Advice Service work full-time to advise students on issues such as these, are headed up by CUSU, and could be a really helpful source of information and ideas. 


You are also within your rights to make a formal complaint through the University, particularly if you have contacted your tutor or DoS and found a lack of support or things have not resolved. It is probably wise to make contact with CUSU or the Student Advice Service when doing this as these procedures can be lengthy and difficult and it is worth having some support behind you. Information and the relevant forms for making a complaint can be found here: 

Discrimination from the University, Departments or Colleges

Being trans ('Gender Reassignment') is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. You do not need to be seeking any medical treatment or have made any quantifiable steps of transition in order to be protected; you need only to express that you are trans.


Denying you access to facilities or refusing to make reasonable adjustments for you on the grounds that you are trans are unlawful under this act.  Under the act, the University also has a duty to have "due regard for advancing equality"; essentially, to be at the forefront of promoting equality and making things better. 


CUSU LGBT+ and CUSU have been working with the University for some time on improving accessibility for trans students. Some useful documentation was produced by Sarah Gibson, trans rep from 2013-14. This has been re-sent to all colleges and departments as part of the Make No Assumptions campaign and is a good resource to show university staff if you are asking for improvements. If you are having ongoing difficulties within your college or department, the information above could also be helpful to you.








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