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Statement on Support for Gender Diversity/Trans, Two-Spirit, and Nonbinary Students, Staff, and Faculty

Conference on College Composition and Communication
February 2023

In response to the recent legislative onslaught targeting LGBTQIA+ communities, and to federal inaction, the CCCC Executive Council convened an LGBTQIA+ Task Force focusing on methods for supporting LGBTQIA+ people in our professional spaces. Given the climate of hostility targeting trans and queer people, we remind our colleagues that there is no neutral stance. Passivity in the face of violence is still violence.

As CCCC works to combat white supremacy, create accessible spaces, demand Black linguistic justice, and commit to “the work of antiracist change-making,” this work is incomplete without addressing the transphobia and queerphobia inherent to white supremacy. Queer of color, trans of color, and crip scholars have proven that dominant conceptions of gender and sexuality were built on and built for white supremacy and have been used to exclude, dehumanize, and persecute Black, Indigenous, and other people of color regardless of gender identity and/or sexual orientation (Leonardo and Porter; Pritchard, “For Colored Kids”; Chavez; Martin and Battles; Kearl; Patterson and Hsu; Driskill).

We do not want to provide another superficial statement about the “values” of our discipline that falls short of substantive action. Instead, following the lead of the Black Technical and Professional Writing Task Force, we have created a resource-rich document with a portfolio of ongoing commitments with the express goal of creating campuses that support LGBTQIA+ students’, staff members’, and teachers’ access to the full range of their human experiences.

This statement serves as a model for reframing LGBTQIA+ issues and undertaking specific actions that create supportive institutions and learning environments for students, staff, and faculty working on campuses.

We have composed the statement in three sections, each of which addresses a different audience with its own particular levels of power and institutional constraints and affordances. The first section offers specific action for writing teachers within their individual classrooms. The second offers commitments to hold department and college administrators accountable. The third section articulates actions to hold our own organization accountable for supporting gender diverse/trans and nonbinary students, staff, and faculty. These commitments were approved during the CCCC Executive Committee’s fall 2022 meeting.

Given that most spaces and institutional policies were designed to be hostile to trans and queer people, creating genuinely LGBTQIA+-inclusive settings requires deliberate and ongoing engagement with the many extant and novel attacks on LGBTQIA+ lives. While it is impossible to provide exhaustive recommendations, we offer a set of actionable commitments that make the lives of LGBTQIA+ people richer and more possible. We hope these actions help protect queer and trans people and encourage our campuses to evolve into more just communities.

Section 1: Collaborative Teaching Practice

Gender and sexuality are embedded throughout our rhetorical practices; they are not just the purview of LGBTQIA+ folks. But certain forms of gender, kinship, and intimacy are so normalized that they can go unnoticed, while others are marked as aberrant. At the level of teaching, faculty should create space to reflect on and to enact practices that are affirming of trans and genderqueer students.

Commitment 1: Allow students to introduce themselves rather than calling roll from official rosters, which may not have students’ correct names.

Commitment 2: Intentionally use inclusive/gender-neutral language when referring to groups of students (folks, friends, class, team, y’all, everyone, etc.).

Commitment 3: Correct those who misgender students and move on. Model and provide support for interventions that respect LGBTQIA+ community members.

Commitment 4: Include content by LGBTQIA+ authors and about LGBTQIA+ experiences. This includes LGBTQIA+ theorists as well as practitioners. Further, writing instructors should include these authors, texts, and experiences throughout the learning experience rather than as “special topics” weeks or “niche” subjects.

Commitment 5: Study and practice an intersectional approach to LGBTQIA+ readings that illustrate the ways gender, sex, and sexuality are always already part of the ways we think about other identities, known and emerging.

Commitment 6: Be well versed in your institution’s current policies and guidelines regarding name change, gender-inclusive bathrooms, and insurance, and be able to offer current and relevant resources and information to students.

Section 2: Departments, Colleges, and Institutions

Although departments and institutions exist in unique contexts with particular constraints, the following list begins the work for assessing the support and care of the environment in which students, staff, and faculty learn and work. Administrators can ensure there are clear policies and procedures regarding these actionable items and work toward support and articulation of guidelines and policies that do not yet exist, or need additional clarity, communication, and support that moves beyond current formats. Faculty and staff can work within existing committee structures (e.g., department committees, school committees, etc.) to make sure that these items are addressed and part of ongoing and developing institutional cultures.

Commitment 1: Provide clearly communicated, easily navigable pathways for name changes.

For faculty and staff, these processes ought to be communicated during the onboarding process and on a regular basis through departmental communications. Additionally, your institution could provide support for those members of the community seeking a legal name change. Laws surrounding name change differ by state and can be involved and costly. Working to make these processes—both institutional and governmental—more hospitable and less burdensome is the overall goal.

Commitment 2: Advocate for gender-inclusive bathrooms.

Though there are multiple examples of campuses that have de-centered gendered facilities, conversations and strategies around creating gender-inclusive restrooms on campus are often framed by concerns that reflect budgetary constraints and heteronormative values. Some institutions are governed by local laws and ordinances that require separate facilities for legal gender assignment and funding for such projects. However, departments can support faculty, staff, and students by communicating whether/where these facilities currently exist on campus. Administrators can further support gender inclusivity through efforts to make sure your campus provides fully accessible, nonmarginalizing bathroom facilities for all.

Commitment 3: Use correct names and pronouns.

Using a person’s stated name and pronouns is a matter of respect and validation that clearly communicates to another person their right to be and belong. In support of a person’s self-determination, your institution ought to have

  1. a community-wide expectation that faculty, students, and staff honor the stated names and pronouns of every individual, and allow for faculty, students, and staff to update their names/pronouns in institutional capacities;
  2. clearly articulated and communicated pedagogical practices regarding stated name and pronoun usage in the classroom; and,
  3. resources at the department and institutional levels to assist those who require instruction and support in practicing inclusivity in the classroom, meetings, and all workspaces.

Resource for Learning and Action

Commitment 4: Advocate for insurance coverage for all employees.

Since the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, all those legally married are assured the same institutional rights associated with insurance coverage. That said, it is important to make sure that your institution also continues to offer domestic partnership benefits to those who may not want to legally marry. With perceived challenges to same-sex marriage coming in the future, it is important for institutions to advocate for insurance coverage for all employees to ensure equity and inclusivity—even, and perhaps especially, in organizations with a nondiscrimination policy that includes LGBTQIA+ protections.

Likewise, policies that exclude gender-affirming care can effectively exclude trans people from employment at an institution. Research whether the healthcare policy of your employer excludes coverage for transgender health care and if possible provide the information on job listings.

Resource for Learning and Action

Commitment 5: Include rich resources and training programs on LGBTQIA+ needs during onboarding procedures for all faculty and staff.

Research suggests that a lack of knowledge is an obstacle for many employees trying to overcome and challenge prejudice. Providing faculty and staff with clear information about LGBTQIA+ experiences and the barriers that trans and queer people encounter in social and institutional spaces enables better-informed engagement and clears the path for open discussion. Sessions should include individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+ so that employees are able to hear own-voices stories and cultivate cross-cultural understandings.

Resource for Learning and Action: “Creating a Trans-Inclusive Workplace”

Commitment 6: Actively research and seek out policies relating to the issue above and also acknowledge that additional issues and needs may arise over time.

Anticipate coordinated campaigns against LGBTQIA+ faculty and understand what resources are available to protect faculty who are attacked for working with (or identifying as a member of) LGBTQIA+ communities. Advocate for better protections as needed.

Section 3: Professional Organization*

CCCC is the largest scholarly society for the study of rhetoric, composition, and literacy. The organization must lead by example. CCCC needs to be asking better questions than who is or is not present. The organization’s thinking must be based in trans and queer praxis, praxis that has grown in dynamism and complexity thanks to BIPOC scholars who have pushed trans and queer thought beyond its historic roots in Whiteness (Pritchard Fashioning Lives; Davis; Presley; Peterman and Spencer). At the organizational and institutional level, CCCC will commit to rethinking the way it conducts its business.

Commitment 1: Rethink the way CCCC honors writing programs.

The CCCC Writing Program Certificate of Excellence currently does not require evidence of safety or care work for trans and queer students, staff, and faculty. Programs of Excellence must now demonstrate how they protect trans and queer students, staff, and faculty and engage with trans/queer praxis.

Cultural and political contexts can complicate and set limits to such work. WPAs seeking this certification, therefore, may offer a range of evidence demonstrating their commitments to trans and queer safety.

  • Describe the legal, institutional, ideological, and cultural barriers facing WPAs working toward safety and care work for trans and queer students, staff, and faculty and offer responses to these barriers.
    • Possible data to be included:
      • Formal policies within and beyond the department that deny or work against trans and queer safety
      • Municipal or state laws that make this work illegal or precarious
      • A narrative of the WPA’s sense of the campus climate
  • Create inclusive language that allows students, staff, and faculty the right to identify how they wish to be addressed.
    • Possible data to be included:
      • Online or in-person registration/sign-in forms
      • Signage or other materials about names, pronouns, and queer/trans inclusivity that are easily available to those who enter the space
  • Articulate action steps that WPAs have taken to transform or ease the burden of name change policies in their programs and/or local institutions.
    • Possible data to be included:
      • Official policies for name changes
  • Demonstrate trans- and queer-inclusive training of students, staff, and faculty that allows students, staff, and faculty working in writing programs to enact trans and queer care work.
    • Possible data to be included:
      • Resource guides for trans and queer care work
      • Clear flow charts guiding consultants and informing students of conflict resolution regarding trans and queer issues (i.e., where they can go to resolve and to negotiate challenges)

Commitment 2: Change the Position Statement review process to be more trans- and queer-inclusive.

Position Statements are reviewed every five years for revision, affirmation, or sunsetting. Review of Position Statements should

  • Include trans and queer colleagues in all Statement reviews by appointment or in consultation with Queer Caucus co-chairs.
  • Work queer- and trans-inclusive language into all Statements in addition to the commonplace citation strings.
  • Revise and update Students’ Right to Their Own Language to include the language we use to self-identify, clarifying that LGBTQIA+ belonging is integral to racial justice.

Commitment 3: Transform our approaches to conference location and presence.

CCCC cannot anticipate every policy of consequence in our host cities and states, but it can take steps to use its resources to bring greater awareness to EC members prior to the selection of host cities. CCCC can also use its considerable resources to support queer and trans literacy programs in our host cities in the following ways:

Prior to Conference Host Selection

1. Applications for host cities must now request a list of local queer and trans literacy organizations (this helps prepare for future community collaborations).

2. The CCCC EC should investigate the political climate of potential host cities and states that could be a concern to our queer and trans members as part of its selection criteria.

On-the-Ground Action at Conference

3. CCCC Assistant Chair (Conference Program Chair), the Local Arrangements Committee, and, as needed, the Social Justice at the Convention Committee collaborate on supporting local queer and trans literacy programs in host cities and states during its yearly conference, following best ethical practices in reciprocity with and solidarity for community engagement.

Actions include:

a. Establish community partnerships at least one year prior to the convention.

b. Free badges to local queer and trans literacy leaders and a space on the program should these leaders wish to present.

c. Active queer and trans conference members pair with these communities to help develop panels or consider how best to use CCCC resources. These members should, whenever possible, work in or near the host city.

Commitment 4: Reconceptualize civic and legal actions as community engagement.

Colleagues across the country often use CCCC Statements as part of their rationale for tenure and promotion and other institutional actions. Review committees also can use CCCC Statements to assess the scholarly contributions of our colleagues. As such, we call on CCCC to reconceptualize civic and legal action as community engagement and develop a statement that treats it as professional service and engaged scholarship. CCCC should look to the Coalition on Community Writing and the National Writing Project as resources for entering this conversation and refining this commitment.

Commitment 5: Establish a trans-/gender-expansive editorial policy that CCCC publications will follow.

CCCC is responsible for the publication of College Composition and Communication, FORUM, and the Studies in Writing and Rhetoric book series. There is currently no unified, trans-/gender-expansive editorial policy available to scholars or future editors. To support accountability regarding editorial practices with respect to trans and genderqueer scholars, CCCC Executive Committee should require editorial boards to revise/update their own policies and practices, which may include:

  • Defining the work of and expectations for editorial board membership on publications’ webspaces.
  • Including trans and queer scholars (across institutional types and professional rank) on editorial boards and consulting these editorial board members for their replacement when their term ends.
  • Guiding reviewers toward a more just and empathetic review of MSS. Examples of this include actions such as:
    • Insisting that correct pronouns are used in MS and reviewer comments
    • Rejecting as baseless and false a grammar-based rationale for the continued misuse of pronouns
    • Rejecting comments that dismiss the personal outright as a location of knowledge and information. Historically, such attitudes have served to disguise whitestream, patriarchal perspectives as “universal objectivity,” and to invalidate experiences that prove otherwise
    • Examining comments that question the veracity or viability of queer and trans methods. There are of course inappropriate applications of queer and trans methods that may not serve queer and trans communities, but too often resistance echoes the blanket disregard of queer/trans perspectives as “aberrant” or “niche,” and passing such remarks on to LGBTQIA+ authors can compound the discrimination they’ve already experienced throughout their careers
  • Expanding reviewers and editorial board members to include experts outside the academy.
  • Considering practices and processes that would update and correct files and documents in response to name and pronoun changes.

*These commitments were approved by the CCCC Executive Committee during their November 2022 meeting.

Selected Resources

Conference on College Composition and Communication. CCCC Black Technical and Professional Communication Position Statement with Resource Guide (2020).

Conference on College Composition and Communication. This Ain’t Another Statement! This is a DEMAND for Black Linguistic Justice! (2020).

Conference on College Composition and Communication. Disability Studies in Composition: Position Statement on Policy and Best Practices (2020).

Conference on College Composition and Communication. CCCC Statement on White Language Supremacy (2021).

Conference on College Composition and Communication. CCCC Statement on Recent Violent Crimes against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders.

Patterson, GPat. “Loving Students in the Time of Covid: a Dispatch from LGBT Studies.” Journal of Liberal Arts, vol. 22, no. 1, 2022, pp. 1–16.

Waite, Stacey. Teaching Queer: Radical Possibilities for Writing and Knowing. U of Pittsburgh P, 2017.

Additionally, the Queer Caucus curates a working bibliography of queer/trans rhetoric and writing studies scholarship.

Works Cited

Chávez, Karma R. Queer Migration Politics: Activist Rhetoric and Coalitional Possibilities. U of Illinois P, 2013.

Davis, Seth E. “Trade: Sexual Identity, Ambiguity, and Literacy Normativity.” Literacy in Composition Studies, vol. 9, no. 2, 2022,

Delgado, Richard. “Storytelling for Oppositionists and Others: A Plea for Narrative.” Michigan Law Review, vol. 87, no. 8, 1989, pp. 2411–41,

Driskill, Qwo-Li. Asegi Stories: Cherokee Queer and Two-Spirit Memory. U of Arizona P, 2016.

hooks, bell. “Theory as Liberatory Practice.” Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, vol. 4, no. 1, 1991, pp. 1–12.

Hsu, V. Jo. Constellating Home: Trans and Queer Asian American Rhetorics. The Ohio State UP, 2022.

Kearl, Michelle Kelsey. “‘Is Gay the New Black?’: An Intersectional Perspective on Social Movement Rhetoric in California’s Proposition 8 Debate.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, vol. 12, no. 1, 2015, pp. 63–82,

Leonardo, Zeus, and Ronald K. Porter. “Pedagogy of Fear: Toward a Fanonian Theory of ‘Safety’ in Race Dialogue.” Race Ethnicity and Education, vol. 13, no. 2, 2010, pp. 139–57.

Martin, Alfred L. Jr., and Kathleen Battles. “The Straight Labor of Playing Gay.” Critical Studies in Media Communication, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 127–140,

Martinez, Aja Y. Counterstory: The Rhetoric and Writing of Critical Race Theory. National Council of Teachers of English, 2020. CCCC Studies in Writing and Rhetoric.

Patterson, GPat, and V. Jo Hsu. “Exposing the Seams: Professional Dress & the Disciplining of Nonbinary Trans Bodies.” The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics, vol. 3, no. 2, 2020,

Petermon, Jade D., and Leland G. Spencer. “Black Queer Womanhood Matters: Searching for the Queer Herstory of Black Lives Matter in Television Dramas.” Critical Studies in Media Communication, vol. 36, no. 4, 2019, pp. 339–356,

Powell, Malea, et al. “Our Story Begins Here: Constellating Cultural Rhetorics.” Enculturation, no. 18, 25 October 2014,

Presley, Rachel. “Toward a Trans Sovereignty: Why We Need Indigenous Rhetorics to Decolonize Gender and Sexuality.” Transgender Rhetorics, special issue of Peitho, vol. 22, no. 4, 2020.

Pritchard, Eric Darnell. Fashioning Lives: Black Queers and the Politics of Literacy. Southern Illinois UP, 2016.

—. “For Colored Kids Who Committed Suicide, Our Outrage Isn’t Enough: Queer Youth of Color, Bullying, and the Discursive Limits of Identity and Safety.” Harvard Educational Review, vol. 83, no. 2, 2013, pp. 320–345.

Williams, Patricia J. The Alchemy of Race and Rights. Harvard UP, 1991.


This statement was generously created by the CCCC Task Force on Support for Gender Diversity/Trans and Nonbinary Students and Faculty. The members of this task force included:

Chuck Baker
Antonio Byrd
Ames Hawkins
Ada Hubrig
V. Jo Hsu
Timothy Oleksiak
GPat Patterson
Donnie Johnson Sackey

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