The largest Catholic institution in the nation, DePaul University in Chicago, has updated its private web portal to feature nine gender identity options to better accommodate its diverse student body.
The revised list includes male, female, transgender male, transgender female, intersex, cisgender, nonbinary, and unspecified. DePaul has also included an option for students who do not want to select a gender identity.
“Hopefully [this will limit] misgendering, since someone’s identity is represented. I would hope [students] can feel comfortable being addressed properly and have the choice to disclose this information,” DePaul Student Government Association Senator Riley Reed said.
“It also protects students who would not feel comfortable [publicly] expressing [their identity quite yet].”
The change was spurred by Oracle. The company behind Campus Connect, which DePaul uses to provide students and employees with online resources, added a feature on the portal allowing students to divulge their preferred pronouns and gender identity.
When these changes were made, DePaul saw the chance to help students express their individuality and took the opportunity. The university also wanted to battle misgendering, which many LGBT+ people say makes them feel less human.
Reed acknowledged the benefit of improving the selection but believes that more can be done towards creating a more welcoming and tolerable environment for its students.
“I think [we need] more gender-neutral bathrooms on campus, and other initiatives to increase representation for gender-diverse students. One of my initiatives is to hold spaces for trans and nonbinary students in the upcoming quarters, utilizing the LGBTQ+ student resource center and finding ways to build community,” Reed said.