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Gender affirmation at Deakin

Deakin is committed to creating a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for all members of the community, including offering timely, tailored support to students who are affirming, seeking to affirm or have affirmed their gender.

‘Transgender’ is a word that covers a diverse range of people whose common experience is that their inner sense of gender is different to the sex they were assigned at birth. Affirmation is the process an individual goes through when they to begin to live as their affirmed gender, rather than that assigned to them at birth.

Gender affirmation is an individualised process which varies in length, stage and complexity from person to person. Remember, there is no right or wrong way of doing anything so be gentle with yourself and seek the support you need.

Transgender Victoria emphasises that gender transition is not about steps but rather pathways where you decide how to express yourself, whether this is in a social context, through medical transition or taking legal actions. For some transgender people, a change of name is enough. For others a change of name and gender expression is better and there are others who want a combination of all. This is your own process and you are the only one who knows how to lead it.


Deakin’s gender affirmation procedure sets out how we support you if you are affirming, seeking to affirm, or have affirmed, your gender. Trained inclusion officers are available to offer support and assistance.

The gender affirmation process is different for everyone but it may involve changing personal details such as your name and/or title, to align with your affirmed gender.

Discover how Deakin can support you in your affirmation in our Student gender affirmation guide (PDF, 178.2KB).

It is against the law to discriminate against an individual based on their gender identity. Under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, a person’s gender identity and their lawful right to live free from discrimination on the basis of that identity, extends to their self-identification with a gender other than their assigned gender. Gender identity discrimination happens when a person is treated unfavourably because of their gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics.

Deakin has a network of harassment and discrimination contact officers (HDCOs) who are trained to assist you with any enquiries about discrimination, harassment or bullying.


Support for alumni

If you're a Deakin alumni wishing to update your details, we encourage you to contact us at

Tips for supporting someone affirming their gender

Please consider these tips when supporting someone affirming their gender (provided by Charles Sturt University).[1]

  • Think of the person as being the gender that they want you to think of them as, and treat them accordingly.
  • Use the name and pronoun that the person requests. If you are not sure, respectfully ask. If you make a mistake correct yourself, apologise and move on – don’t make a big deal about it.
  • When writing about a transgender person, do not belittle their identity by putting their preferred name or pronoun in quotes or italics.
  • Treat the person with the same level of respect and dignity you would accord any other staff member or student and that you would expect for yourself.
  • Respect boundaries. Do not ask intrusive or intimate personal questions that you wouldn’t ask another person or wouldn’t want others to ask of you (for example, about their body, relationships, sex life or any medical intervention). If you feel it is appropriate to ask a personal question, check first if it is okay to do so.
  • Do not assume that the person should automatically be willing to discuss transgender related issues with you, or expect them to be an authority on such topics – do your own research if you want to know more.
  • Respect privacy. Do not tell others about a person’s trans status. Generally when a person transitions they describe themselves in terms of their preferred gender (e.g. as a man or as a woman), not as a transgender person. Some people may prefer other gender descriptions.
  • Understand that the person is entitled to use the facilities appropriate to their preferred gender (such as bathrooms and change rooms), both during and after transition.
  • Do not condone or participate in gossip, jokes, flippant remarks or sexual innuendos about the person or their trans status – be active in confronting or naming comments or behaviours that are transphobic. The University expects staff and students to treat each other with dignity and respect and will not tolerate discrimination based on gender identity.
  • Do not make assumptions about the person’s sexual orientation or personal relationships. Gender transitioning is about a person’s core sense of their gender, not their sexual identity. The sexuality of transgender people can cover the full human spectrum – they may identify as heterosexual, gay, lesbian or bisexual, pansexual, asexual, fluid or they may use another term or choose not to label their sexuality.
  • When a person has transitioned, appreciate that, while their gender may be different, their basic character and personality hasn’t changed – in most other respects they are still the same person as before.

External support

QLife QLife provides Australia-wide anonymous, LGBTI peer support and referral for people wanting to talk about a range of issues including sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships. Referral line and online chat available 3pm to midnight, seven days per week.
Free Call 1800 184 527
Transgender Victoria TGV is Victoria’s leading body for trans and gender diverse advocacy. The website has some great resources for trans people, family and friends as well as for clinicians.

All gender toilets

All gender toilets and change rooms are available at all Deakin campuses:

Melbourne Burwood Campus Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus Geelong Waterfront Campus Warrnambool Campus Deakin Downtown Corporate Centre





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