The Humanistic Education Foundation on Wednesday said that Chang Gung University was forcing a transgender student who identifies as female to live in a male dormitory and protecting a military instructor accused of verbal harassment.
The student, identified by the pseudonym Siao Wen (小雯), provided documents regarding gender reassignment, foundation executive director Joanna Feng (馮喬蘭) said at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
However, the university insisted that Siao Wen reside in the male dormitory.
“Siao Wen lived in a state of fear for her safety, causing significant psychological distress,” Feng said.
“When Siao Wen appealed to the dean of students at a school meeting, the university’s chief military instructor publicly humiliated her with a tirade that the university’s own gender equality commission later found to constitute gender-based discriminatory speech,” Feng said.
A man identified as the instructor on an audio recording played at the conference denied the existence of transgenderism and repeatedly said that Siao Wen should identify as a male.
Despite the commission’s finding, the university took no action against the instructor apart from eight hours of gender-equality education, Feng said, adding that the experience has traumatized Siao Wen.
“A military instructor capable of saying things like this is unsuited to be in an education environment and he should be asked to leave,” Feng said.
“All transgender women want is the right to be treated as ordinary women and the right to live ordinary lives,” Siao Wen said.
“How many transgender students have to drop out of university before the Ministry of Education addresses the situation? How many transgender people have to die before our basic rights are respected?” Siao Wen said.
Huang Lan-hsiu (黃蘭琇), an official at the ministry’s Department of Student Affairs and Special Education, said that no student deserves such treatment, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
The ministry’s policy forbids universities from practicing gender-based discrimination or subjecting students to unfair treatment, Huang said, adding that the department would prioritize resolving the situation.
University vice president Chen Jan-kan (陳君侃) said the university had tried to place Siao Wen in special accommodation with a private washroom on the first floor of the women’s dormitory, but Siao Wen demanded to live with other female students.
At the university’s gender equality commission hearing, female student representatives said they do not want to live with Siao Wen and said the school should consider the feelings of their parents, Chen said.
The university rejected Siao Wen’s medical documents, Chen said, without elaborating.
The school has complied with the government’s guidelines on gender equality and respects its students’ gender identity, Chen said.
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