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Transgender Student Resource Guide

What does transgender mean?

Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.  Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else; gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice, or body characteristics.  “Trans” is sometimes used as shorthand for “transgender.”  While transgender is generally a good term to use, not everyone whose appearance or behavior is gender-nonconforming will identify as a transgender person.  The ways that transgender people are talked about in popular culture, academia, and science are constantly changing, particularly as individuals’ awareness, knowledge, and openness about transgender people and their experiences grow.*

Why are some people transgender?

There is no single explanation for why some people are transgender.  There is great diversity in transgender expression and the experiences of transgender people.  Biological factors and genetic influences, as well as experiences in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood, may all contribute to the development of a transgender identity.

Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same.  While sexual orientation refers to an individual’s enduring physical, romantic, and /or emotional attraction to another person, gender identity refers to one’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else.  Like all other people, transgender people can be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or identify in a number of other ways.  Each person defines their experience and sexual orientation in their own way, and sexual orientation should never be assumed. 

Helpful RRCC Information

Name Changes

If you have legally changed your name, proceed to Admissions and fill out a name change form.  This will update your name in RRCC systems and through the Colorado Community College System.  If you completed a FAFSA, your birth name will remain on that information as there is no way to change it.  This is something to keep in mind when working with Financial Aid.

If you haven’t legally changed your name, but go by a name different from that listed on your instructor’s roster, you may consider e-mailing them before classes begin to let them know what your preferred name is.  We also have the capability to change create a new profile in D2L that reflects your preferred name.  To do this, complete this form (Preferred Name Change Form) and return to Jen Macken in room 1254 or e-mail a completed form to

* American Psychological Association, Answers to Your Questions about Transgender People, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression, 2011.  Much of the content for this brochure came from the American Psychological Association.  More information can be found at

Campus Offices

Many RRCC employees have attended our campus SafeZone training and understand the complexities of transgender identity and sensitive personal information.  If, however, you feel uncomfortable visiting a campus office for fear of being accidentally outed in a public setting, please call that office to make a private appointment to discuss your specific needs.

Some Useful Terms

Sex - refers to a person’s biological status and is typically categorized as male, female, or intersex.  There are a number of indicators of biological sex, including sex chromosomes, gonads, internal reproductive organs, and external genitalia.

Intersex - is a  general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male; about 1 out of every 2000 people are born intersex.

Gender refers to the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person’s biological sex. Behavior that is compatible with cultural expectations is referred to as gender-normative; behaviors that are viewed as incompatible with these expectations constitute gender non-conformity.
Gender identity refers to one’s sense of oneself as male, female, or transgender.  When one’s gender identity and biological sex are not congruent, the individual may identify as transsexual or as another transgender category.

Gender expression
- refers to the “...way in which a person acts to communicate gender within a given culture; for example, in terms of clothing, communication patterns and interests.  A person’s gender expression may or may not be consistent with socially prescribed gender roles, and may or may not reflect his or her gender identity” (American Psychological Association, 2008, p. 28).

Transman - refers to someone who was assigned female at birth, but identifies as male.

Transwoman - refers to someone who was assigned male at birth, but identifies as female.

Two-Spirit - refers to Native American/Alaska Native Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) individuals.
The term came from Anishinabe language and means having both female and male spirits within one person.  Two-Spirit has a different meaning in different communities.

Genderqueer - refers to a gender-variant person whose gender identity is neither male nor female, is between or beyond genders, or is some combination of genders.

Gender Neutral Restrooms

Every person has the right to use the restroom associated with their gender identity.  If you would prefer a single-person, gender-neutral restroom, RRCC has two which are located in the East Building in the hallway near the RRCC Foundation office (between Room 1124 and Room 1133). And additional gender-neutral restroom is located on the 3rd floor of the Fire Science Building.

Red Rocks Community College Resources

Jen Macken, M.S.
Director of Inclusion & Diversity

GLBT Resource Center
Room 1253

Rainbow Alliance

RRCC Behavioral Health Services

Human Resources
Lakewood Campus, Room 1025

Area Resources

Gender Identity Center of Colorado
1151 S. Huron St.
Denver, Colorado 80223

The National Center for Transgender Equality
1325 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005


Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender National Hotline
1-888-THE-GLNH (1-888-843-4564)

The Trevor Project

One Love

Room 1654
(West Wing, next to Student Center)

This semester, the GLBT Resource Center is usually open
Monday-Thursday from 8am-5pm and Fridays from 9am-4pm.