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Resources for Transgender and Gender Variant Students

Brown is a vibrant, interactive community that celebrates the diversity of views, interests, passions, experiences, identities and life histories brought to campus by our students, faculty and staff.   We support that commitment to campus diversity through a range of supportive services and educational programming.  Students who identify as transgender or gender variant are encouraged to be aware of and make use of the following resources and information as needed:


LGBTQ Center

Established at Brown in 2004, the LGBTQ Center provides a comprehensive range of education, information and advocacy services and works to create and maintain an open, safe, and inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning students, faculty, and staff, their families and friends, and the campus community at large.  The LGBTQ-RC also sponsors many student groups, programs, and the Renn Mentoring Program, as well as Safe Zone training for University faculty, staff and students. Additional information is available on the LGBTQ Center website.

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Brown email address using preferred first name

When they enroll at Brown, every student is assigned an email address that is in the format (there are some variations created when two or more people at Brown have the same firstname and lastname).  Students should record any legal name change with the Office of the Registrar.  

A transgender student may a) request that the firstname in their email address be changed to a preferred firstname without a legal name change and/or b) retain their assigned email and request an alias (e.g.,  Endorsements of email change requests come through the Office of Student Life. For more information about these options and to make a request, please email us at with your request, including your preferred alternate email, your current email address and class year.  We will contact you about your request; once we send a notice of endorsement to Computing Accounts, they will create the alternate address and will notify you (and us) by email when the change is complete. There will in the future be an electronic form to make it easier for you to request an alias for your Brown email address.

The change to preferred firstname is for email only. Currently we are not able to provide a preferred firstname that pushes out through all of the various computing and information management systems in the University. Schools that have a single system have an easier task to present a preferred first name at all points where a student interacts with the system. (See Health Services, Psychological Services, Student housing, below.) At this time, class lists and information available to faculty and staff on-line will continue to show legal firstname rather than preferred. For more information click HERE.

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Assistance with Faculty Communication

Given that, at this time, class lists available to faculty will continue to show legal firstname rather than preferred, individual faculty will need to be notified of your preferred name and pronouns.  The University can provide assistance and support in a variety of ways.   We can help you think through how to speak with your faculty if you want to do this yourself, we can provide a short letter that you can present to your faculty, or we can send a letter to your faculty on your behalf.

For more information about these options and to make a request, please click HERE.

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Gender Neutral Bathrooms

The University continues to work to increase the number of single-user (and therefore gender neutral) bathrooms in academic, administrative, and residential buildings.  The LGBTQ Center website provides a list of locations of gender neutral bathrooms.

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Physical and Mental Health

Brown Health Services and Brown Psychological Services strive to provide trans-sensitive care.  Providers can accommodate a preferred firstname for in-house appointments and visits  once you give it and ask them to use it.

Brown Health Services is available to all actively-enrolled Brown students as part of the mandatory Student Health Fee. Health Services provides health care, pharmacy, lab and x-ray services for students; as well as emergency medical  services for students, faculty, staff and visitors to Brown.  On-line information on transgender health includes Q/A about Health Services visits for trans students.

Health Education, a department of Brown Health Services, has a website that spans many informational topics: alcohol, tobacco, other drugs; nutrition & eating concerns;  lgbtq health; men’s health; women’s health; sexual assault & dating violence; sexual health; and common college health issues.  

Psychological Services provides free, confidential counseling to actively-enrolled Brown students – offering counseling for personal growth, crisis support, short-term psychotherapy and referral. Students from all of the diverse backgrounds in the Brown community use Psychological Services – during times of crisis and high stress, when their usual coping mechanisms are not working well, or when they are faced with making difficult decisions.

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Student Housing

Housing for Undergraduate Students

First-year undergraduate students at Brown University do not select their own roommates; the Office of Residential Life uses students’ responses to a housing questionnaire (about sleep, study habits, etc.) to make roommate assignments through a computerized process. By default, Brown places first-year students into double rooms (i.e., one room, two residents) with a roommate of the same legal sex. Most roommate pairs are assigned a room on a hallway that houses students of different genders, however students may request to live on an all-male or all-female hallway. 

Residence hall, room, and roommate assignments are made without regard to race, color, creed, sexual orientation, or national origin. Brown University values the benefits and experience that students gain through living with someone different from them, while balancing the need for safety and comfort in the living environment. For some students, being automatically placed with a roommate of the same legal sex may not provide best for a student’s comfort or safety. Brown thus provides an option for first-year students to request to be placed in housing without restriction to their own sex/gender or the sex/gender of a roommate; this is called Gender-Neutral Housing.

Gender-Neutral Housing is intended primarily for students whose gender identity and/or legal sex do not allow them to be comfortable with a traditional roommate assignment (including but not limited to students who identify as transgender, genderqueer, etc.).  However, any student may opt into the program; additional students opting in are most likely to be allies of transgender students who wish to support the availability of gender neutral housing. 

To ensure that no student opts in accidentally or without fully understanding the option, the Office of Residential Life (specifically, Natalie Basil, Director of the Residential Experience) will contact each student individually before assigning roommates. A student who opts into Gender-Neutral Housing will always be placed with another student who has elected Gender Neutral Housing.  A student who requests Gender-Neutral Housing may be placed with a roommate of any gender identity and any legal sex (including their own). If Residential Life is unable to place all students who elect the Gender-Neutral Housing option (for example, because there is an odd number of students interested), each student will be contacted by the Office of Residential Life. 

Students who feel that their needs cannot be met either by the standard housing assignment or by the Gender-Neutral Housing option should contact the Director of the Residential Experience in the Office of Residential Life, Natalie Basil at or (401) 863-3500.

We encourage parents and students who are considering this option to read through the Office of Residential Life's FAQ for Students and FAQ for Parents. If any questions or concerns remain, please contact Natalie Basil, Director of the Residential Experience, in the Office of Residential Life.

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Housing for Resumed Undergraduate Students

While Resumed Undergraduate Education (RUE) students are welcome in residence halls and may participate to select on-campus housing, they are exempted from the requirement to live on campus. Resumed Undergraduate Students who wish to live on campus and have questions about gender accommodation, are encouraged to contact the Director of the Residential Experience, as described above. Additional information is available on the policy section of the Residential Life website.

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