Human Resources

Transgender Policy

Policy No.
Human Resources
Authoring Organisational Unit
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor [105000]
Date Approved
Next Review Date

The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Transgender

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

People who are transgender (trans) are protected by law from discrimination.

The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) and the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA) make it unlawful to discriminate against a trans person in employment, education, accommodation, and other areas of social life.

This policy sets a framework for The University of Western Australia (UWA) to meet both its legislative obligations and its aspirations around equality and inclusion. UWA's Equal Opportunity Policy Statement declares that the University will act to ensure that its structures are free from discrimination against trans people.

With regards to staff, this policy applies (but is not limited) to recruitment and selection, development and promotion, conditions of service, health and safety, conduct at work, grievance and disciplinary procedures, and termination of employment.

With regards to students, the policy applies (but is not limited) to admissions, teaching and learning, research provision, scholarships and awards under UWA's control, student support services, University residential facilities, health and safety, personal conduct, and student complaints and disciplinary procedures.


"Affirmed gender" refers to a trans person's sense of their gender as well as the gender to which they are transitioning or have transitioned.

"Gender" refers to a person's sense of being male, female, somewhere in between or neither.

"Sex" refers to a person's sexual characteristics and represents a complex relationship of hormones, genes, and anatomy.

"Transgender or trans" people experience an incongruence between their birth gender and the gender to which they feel they belong, and/or have a gender identity that is inconsistent with societal expectations of their sex. The terms transgender and transsexual are often used interchangeably, but these terms have a complex and controversial history. Recently, the term trans has emerged as an alternative to these terms.

"Transition" refers to the period of time required by the trans person to change, whether by social or medical means, from their birth gender to their affirmed gender. Transitioning is a holistic process, does not necessarily involve medical procedures, and varies depending on the individual.

Policy statement:

UWA recognises that individuals may identify either as a gender that does not match their birth gender or as an indeterminate gender, and that this should be recognised and reflected in their personal records.

UWA aims to create a trans-friendly culture, free from discrimination and harassment, where all staff and students are treated with dignity and able to realise their full potential in a fair and inclusive workplace and learning environment.

UWA condemns all forms of harassment, including discrimination and bullying. Strict disciplinary action is imposed if any student or staff member is found to have harassed another member of the UWA community. In addition to UWA policies, the University is bound by legislation which makes harassment unlawful.

UWA's collection, use, storage, and disclosure of all personal information, including gender information, is regulated by the Information Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the UWA Record Keeping Plan.

1 Support During Transition

1.1 There is no legal requirement for a trans person to inform management or anyone else in their workplace or school/research unit of their intention to transition.

1.2 Where management or heads of schools/research units become aware of an individual's intention to transition, they should take all appropriate action to provide a safe and supportive environment for the individual.

1.3 Once informed, management or heads of schools/research units should discuss the situation in full with the individual (if the individual wishes to) and become cognisant of their issues and concerns and how they wish to handle the transition and post-transition stages. In consultation with the individual, they may wish to contact the Equity and Diversity Office or the Student Guild Queer Department for guidance and support.

1.4 All managers or heads of schools/research units must ensure that trans people are not harassed or discriminated against in any aspect of recruitment, employment or study. This includes ensuring that they are not harassed or discriminated against by other staff members or students while they are in the process of transitioning.

2 Recruitment and Retention

2.1 All staff members and students are expected to acknowledge and conduct themselves in accordance with the UWA Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct.

2.2 Trans people are to be assessed on their merits against the specific criteria for a job or student admission in the same way as all other applicants. In certain circumstances, special criteria may be applied in order to enhance access, equity, and representation.

2.3 It is not against the law to target a job towards trans people, as long as the job is open to all trans people. However, an exemption may be required under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA).

2.4 A trans person has the legal right to be considered for a position targeted towards a particular gender if the requirements for the position are consistent with the individual's affirmed gender.

3 Use of Amenities, Uniform/Dress Code, and Form of Address

3.1 A trans person can use the toilets and change rooms of their affirmed gender, and they can wear the dress or uniform of their affirmed gender.

3.2 It is important that trans people be treated with respect and therefore be addressed according to their preferred names and pronouns.

3.3 If a trans student or staff member has changed their legal name, University records can be changed while the person is a student or an employee of the University.

3.4 A trans student or staff member may change their preferred name at any time during their enrolment or employment.

4 Harassment

4.1 To "out" a trans student or staff member without their permission may be regarded as a form of harassment. Outing a person as trans means disclosing the person's trans status to others. Permission from the trans student or staff member should be sought before disclosure occurs.

4.2 Transphobic harassment could be regarded as grounds for disciplinary action, including dismissal or expulsion.

5 Data collection

5.1 Collecting and maintaining gender-disaggregated data at UWA is crucial to the ongoing monitoring of gender equality.

5.2 Where gender information is collected, individuals should be given the option to select M (male), F (female) or X (intersex/indeterminate/unspecified).

5.3 Only one record should be made or maintained for an individual, regardless of a change in gender or other change in personal identity.

5.4 Where a trans person requests that gender information on their personal record to be amended or where it is necessary to verify their gender to confirm identity or determine eligibility for a service or entitlement, UWA will recognise any one of the following as sufficient evidence of the person's affirmed gender:

  • a statement from a registered medical practitioner or a registered psychologist
  • a valid Australian government travel document, such as a current passport, that specifies their affirmed gender
  • an amended state or territory birth certificate that specifies their affirmed gender
  • a state or territory gender recognition certificate
  • a recognised details certificate showing that a state or territory Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages has accepted a change of sex.

5.5 Gender affirmation surgery and/or hormone therapy are not pre-requisites for recognising a change of gender in UWA records.

5.6 When UWA is presented with conflicting information about a person's gender, they may seek further information from the person.

Related forms:


TRIM File No:


Contact position:

Policy Officer (Equality Reporting)

Related Policies or legislation:

Acts Amendment (Gay and Lesbian Law Reform) Act 2002

Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA)

Gender Reassignment Act (WA)

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act (C'th)

Privacy Act 1988


Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act (C'TH) Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act (C'TH) Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act (C'TH)