EU & International Students

It is often assumed that EU and international students are not LGBT+, yet there is evidence to suggest that many students choose to study here due to the perception that the UK is a safe and welcoming place to explore your identity and to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, and / or trans and non-binary. For this reason, it is vital that institutions develop and embed awareness and provision of the specific requirements of and potential barriers faced by international trans and non-binary students.


Registration & Administration

EU and international students may face specific barriers, particularly with respect to official documentation and identification. Procedures, rules and laws concerning changing name and gender vary greatly from country to country. Depending upon their home country and personal circumstances, it may not be possible for a student or staff member to legally change their name and / or gender. This can mean that their official documentation - such as passports and visas - might reflect their previous name and assigned gender. 

While as practitioners we may not be able to do anything directly about these issues, it is important to consider what processes we can put in place to ensure the dignity and comfort of our students and staff, for example:

  • Include an explanatory statement on your Student Registration and HR pages: "What to do if you are trans and your passport/visa information is incorrect..."
  • Signpost to 'Named Contact', to provide students and staff with the option to disclose before registration.
  • Ensure there is private space available for registration (including passport and visa checks), and brief your staff;
  • If required by the student or staff member, facilitate arrangements for the Named Contact to assist with / oversee registration or pre-employment checks.

Third Gender Options

Some countries globally have three gender options available to their trans, non-binary and/or intersex citizens. It may then follow that students produce identification that denotes a gender marker that is neither male nor female, such as 'X' or none / blank.  It is, therefore, important to have operational processes in place that accommodate gender options beyond male and female to ensure that students can be accurately and respectfully registered.

The countries that currently provide third gender options for identification purposes include:

  • Australia
  • India
  • Malta
  • Nepal
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan

Other countries (and provinces within countries) also provide these options, or are in the process of exploring the legal possibilities for this. These countries include Austria, Canada, Germany, and California in the US.