Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

This content was published: May 25, 2015. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

PCC initiatives assist transgender, gender nonconforming students

Photos and Story by

Portland Community College has the highest population of transgender and gender nonconforming students of any community college in Oregon and one of the highest of any higher education institution in the state.

As a result, PCC has made significant changes to assist in creating a safe and accessible atmosphere for these students. Since January, class rosters at PCC have reflected the preferred names of students rather than their legal names. Organizers said this is a significant step forward for transgender and gender nonconforming students, faculty, and staff. Having a preferred name reflected on class rosters benefits transgender students for whom a legal name may reflect a gender they do not identify with. Visit the preferred names webpage for more information.

Nash Jones, the chair of the college’s Gender Inclusive Spaces Committee and a coordinator at the Rock Creek Campus’ Queer Resource Center, said that adding more all-gender restrooms and having preferred names are important steps in making PCC a more trans-affirming college.

Nash Jones, the chair of the college’s Gender Inclusive Spaces Committee and a coordinator at the Rock Creek Campus’ Queer Resource Center, said that adding more all-gender restrooms and having preferred names are important steps in making PCC a more trans-affirming college.

This change comes on the heels of the decision to construct 19 new all-gender bathrooms as part of the college’s Bond Program. Gendered bathrooms labeled “men” or “women” pose barriers for many transgender and gender nonconforming community members, said Nash Jones, the chair of the college’s Gender Inclusive Spaces Committee and a coordinator at the Rock Creek Campus’ Queer Resource Center. Jones continued that these bathrooms, like the class roster change, will serve the needs of a variety of people in addition to the transgender and gender nonconforming communities, including parents and people with disabilities. And, the restrooms can be used by anyone.

“Adding more all-gender restrooms and having preferred names reflected across more systems are both important steps in making PCC a more trans-affirming college,” Jones said. “These changes are a way for the college to let trans and gender nonconforming students, faculty and staff know that we see them, we value their contributions to our community, and because of that we are working to understand and meet their accessibility needs.”

In a 2013 statewide survey conducted by the Oregon Student Association and the Oregon Community College Student Association, it was found that seven percent of students at PCC’s Cascade Campus in North Portland identify themselves as transgender or gender nonconforming students, six percent at the Rock Creek (Beaverton) and Sylvania (Southwest Portland) campuses, and four percent at the new Southeast Campus. The community college with the second-highest percentage of trans students was Rogue Community College in Grants Pass at three percent. The University of Oregon has a trans population of seven percent, most by any four-year institution.

PCC’s Gender Inclusive Spaces Committee, a group of students, staff, and faculty at the college advocating for trans culturally responsive policies and practices, partnered with the college’s Technology Solution Services, Student Account Services and Student Affairs departments to make this class roster change a reality. Jones said this collaborative effort will continue as other systems at the college are slated to be updated to reflect preferred names.

The Gender Inclusive Spaces Committee, which is funded through the end of this academic year, consists of about 24 members that have met every other week since 2012 about these opportunities. Students and committee members hope the committee continues to work on additional LGBTQ inclusion initiatives at PCC.

“The amount of assistance we have received while working towards making PCC a more inclusive college has been immeasurable,” said student Kole Myrick.“It feels great to have allies in my fellow students, faculty, staff and administration and to all be working together towards a common goal. Creating gender-neutral bathrooms and making sure students can use their preferred name within the classroom, on class rosters, within distance learning, and on their student ID’s has been a personal mission of mine since I started at PCC two years ago.

“I am so happy and pretty darn proud of all of the changes that PCC has made,” Myrick added. “We, as a committee, have paved the way for all students at PCC to feel welcome and accepted.”

For more information about this issue, email genderinclusivespaces@pcc.edu

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, is the Public Relations Manager at Portland Community College. A graduate of Portland State University, James has worked as a section editor for the Newberg Graphic, Wo... more »

Poppe with speech bubble


Sorry, but the comments have been closed. If you see something that doesn't belong, please click the x and report it.

x by EbenC 7 years ago

As a trans student these changes have been a lifesaver. I was really nervous and worried about my legal name being called out for attendance and having to deal with the confusion and explaining I would have to do, but being able to change my name on the roster I don’t have to worry about it. The gender neutral bathrooms are amazing on many levels. I feel safe using the restroom and I don’t have to hold it till I get home. very happy with PCC for making these positive changes that really impact many lives.

x by Cynthia PG 7 years ago

Making progress toward equity and inclusion for all :) Well done!

x by Nikolai 7 years ago

This is awesome news. The only problem is that I can’t figure out HOW to change my preferred name on my student account. Has anybody else figured it out?

x by Nash Jones 7 years ago

Hi Nikolai,
You just need to email enroll@pcc.edu with your preferred name (Also include your legal name and G# so they can find your student record). Once your preferred name is listed on your record, it will be reflected in a few places including class rosters, your email (though not the name attached to your email), and your student ID. If you have more questions, here is the GIS Committee’s preferred name page with all of the policies and procedures… http://www.pcc.edu/resources/qrc/preferred-names.html

x by Kole Myrick 7 years ago

Nikolai, there’s a page for that! https://www.pcc.edu/resources/qrc/preferred-names.html

x by EbenC 7 years ago

@Nikolai I went to the registration office where you get your student ID and let them know you would like to change your preferred name. They gave me a new student ID with my name on it also. It will be linked to your roster within seconds. You still log on and have your original email and it doesn’t get reflected in D2L I noticed so that’s a bummer. Still moving in a great direction!

x by Jill Nicholson 7 years ago

I like reading articles like these so much more than those about the college president’s attempted trajectory: Something to be proud of at PCC. Good job. Thank you.

x by Jill Nicholson 7 years ago

Love this quote… “The amount of assistance we have received while working towards making PCC a more inclusive college has been immeasurable,” said student Kole Myrick.

x by narce 7 years ago

Excellent work and outstanding leadership to Nash, Nora and all members. You have also contributed so much by providing equitable perspectives regarding Title IX.

x by mike hunt 7 years ago

wow pcc way to be on the fore front of inclusion… 22 new all-gender bathrooms. even though; less than 7 percent of the school will uses these bathrooms & 90% of its teaching faculty are part time & payed below a living wage. good job & use of money in appeasing a loud minority; only if people would get this passion about having teachers paid more than a full time worker at McDonalds.

x by Phil 7 years ago

Mike (yes, I realize that’s probably not your real name) – You should read this article again.

You do realize that these restrooms can be used by everyone, right? They aren’t exclusively for trans students and staff. They were also paid for through bond funds, not through teachers salaries.

It sounds like you have a real grievance concerning underpaid faculty… I wish you the best in working to change this. Just please don’t redirect you anger towards people who simply want to use a restroom without being afraid.

x by Nancy Daniels 7 years ago

Mike : Please educate yourself before making any public comments.
There are totally two different things. You can’t compare them with each other.

x by Vivian Jones 7 years ago

I really like the update to the name system, since this great for our trans-friends and others who may not use their birth name.

x by PT Faculty Member 7 years ago

I am curious about how the gender-neutral bathrooms work. Are they individual bathrooms that one person uses at a time? Or are they a large public bathroom that anyone can use, regardless of gender identity? I haven’t seen these yet.

x by Kole Myrick 7 years ago

Try to remember Mike that 7% is still around 6300 students. Even so, more than 7% of the 90,000 students at PCC use the all-gender restrooms since they aren’t exclusive, but are inclusive to all. Those numbers don’t even represent all of the faculty, staff and administration that can access them as well.

Also, part-time teachers represent 76% of faculty at PCC, not 90%.

x by Kole Myrick 7 years ago

PT Faculty,

Currently the all gender restrooms are single stall. We have tried to have multi-stall bathrooms created or converted to all gender but a survey that was done showed there wasn’t much support for them.

x by Critical Bill 7 years ago

Can someone please explain to me why specifically, it was necessary to construct these bathrooms?

What is the problem if an individual who is physically female but appears to be male uses the mens restroom?

Similarly, why would it be a problem for a man who looks like a woman to use the ladies room?

If these separate “all-gendered” restrooms were conceived and constructed to minimize embarrassment or persecution it would seem to me it might do just the opposite. Would this not bring more attention to people who want to just blend in?

x by Phil 7 years ago

“What is the problem if an individual who is physically female but appears to be male uses the mens restroom?”

The problem is that individuals may face verbal harassment or physical assault. A study found that 70% of transgender respondents had faced some sort of discrimination when attempting to use a restroom of their gender identity. There are also 5 states that have proposed legalization of this discrimination: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_bashing#Bathroom_bills

No one should be too afraid to use a restroom. I am very proud that our school took this simple and reasonable step.

x by Debbie 7 years ago

I support both efforts and thank PCC for making these changes. I believe it should be safe and comfortable environment for everyone, including transgender. These changes are productive and affordable. I can see advantages to having at least one single stalled all-gender restroom in each building a benefit for many. Having an opportunity to change the roster to a preferred name is welcoming for many so there is no confusion during class. Thank you!

x by Cynthia PG 7 years ago

Left-handers only make up about 10% of the population, but that doesn’t mean that left-handed desks, scissors, etc, shouldn’t be made because left-handed people aren’t in the majority ;)

x by Deb 7 years ago

Construction of special bathrooms is not necessary. Simply make new signs stating Men’s or those who identify as and Women’s or those who identify as. I’ve seen them many places, it works!

x by X 7 years ago

As a non-binary queer person, the bathroom issue is always very stressful. Its very heartening to hear that PCC takes this concern seriously.

x by Carla 7 years ago

The single-stall gender-neutral resatrooms are also great for people with disabilities who have a caregiver of a different gender or a parent assisting a child of a different gender.
I first saw gender neutral restrooms decades ago at Disneyworld in Orlando. I thought it was a great idea then and a great idea now.

x by Tobi Walker 7 years ago

My service dog has learned to locate a restroom for me that matches my biological gender. All-gender restrooms put a confused look on his face BUT, being very small, he fully identifies needing to feel safe when using the bathroom (male dogs judge each other through “restroom signs.”) So I think anything that makes restrooms feel safer is a wonderful step toward a more inclusive civilization.

x by Feature: PCC’s 53rd commencement features speaker with transformative story | PCC News 7 years ago

[…] on several committees, including the Gender Inclusive Spaces Committee, which advised the college on important changes that included building 22 new all-gender bathrooms […]

x by Defender of Liberty 7 years ago

It is shameful that PCC is choosing to cater to sexual deviancy. Gender is set and unchanging, and no amount of mumbo-jumbo from overwrought fantasists can destroy the solemn laws of God.

x by Critical Bill 7 years ago

Well Defender, I’m not too sure you are going to get many warm responses for your comments. The reality is public schools like PCC have succumb to being PC. My concern is at what point will organizations stop catering to, as you put it, every special interest group? To be fair, PCC is not the only public place to do something like this. Airports, malls, as well as some private businesses have constructed these types of bathrooms. They are just a single stall bathroom and they can be used by anyone. They are nice to have for a number of other reasons than just for people who think they are a gender that is physically different that what they really are.

x by Geoff 7 years ago

Leaving aside the asinine comments above, I think these are both positive steps. There are a great many reasons why one would want to be able to use a “preferred name” as opposed to a legal name, or the ability to use a single-stall bathroom, aside from concerns of gender. Myself, I think the whole concept of gendered bathrooms is about as useful as white-and-colored-only water fountains, but until we can leave that concept aside as a society, this a a meaningful and significant change.

x by Geo 7 years ago

The statement, ” I think the whole concept of gendered bathrooms is about as useful as white-and-colored-only water fountains, but until we can leave that concept aside as a society, this a a meaningful and significant change,” is no less asinine than anything else posted here.

Comparing gendered bathrooms to white-and-colored-only water fountains demonstrates a total disregard for and trivialized how rotten racism and segregation was/is. Transgender-ism and race have nothing in common. Having gendered restrooms is not discriminatory; never has been and never will be. In my opinion most people would agree the absence of gender-neutral restrooms is not discriminatory either. No amount of protest will alter that fact. I think multi-gender restrooms are great and not because providers have pandered to individuals that have decided to identify with a gender that contradicts their genetics. If this is what they feel need and providers want to accommodate, so be it.

Does it need to be said that children, adolescents, non-transgender, and the elderly use public restrooms too? Are you saying one day there should be multi-stall restrooms everyone uses? Would you mind sharing what “concept of society” you and people that think like you envision for everyone? I would really like to know what is in store. If you please, can you be specific?

x by John 6 years ago

I agree with Mike 100% can we get all black, Mexican, Christian, Muslim, and native American restroom while we are at it.