Transgender/Transitioning at Furman?

As of right now, my options for college are pretty slim, with Furman more than likely being the college I’ll attend in the fall. For the most part, I’m pretty excited. I have great scholarship opportunities there, and have fallen in love with both the faculty and the campus in just a few visits. However, I’m worried that Furman won’t be welcoming to me and wanted to get a feel for the environment from students currently in attendance.

Right now, I’m currently a closeted transgender student hoping to start the transition process while at college. I looked at Furman’s website, and while the school has lots of resources for transgender students, I wasn’t able to get a good sense as to how the student body treated transgender students on campus. Are attitudes generally accepting? Are there groups or places I can go for support?

Even though I really like Furman, I’m worried that my personal safety and comfort on campus will hurt the experience for me and ultimately force me to not attend. Any sort of advice or personal experience is greatly appreciated.

I have a similar question. My S loved his Furman visit and is coming down to a final decision. His one concern with Furman is the diversity on campus. As a gay student, he wants to make sure his new home is one where he finds acceptance. The administration says all the right things, but is it really the case?

Even though I still don’t have a clue about what the general attitudes to LGBT students are at Furman, I talked to some people and did some extensive research into university policy, etc. If you’re a current/past student and want to give more insight, be my guest, but seeing how this thread has been inactive for quite some time and college decisions are due in five days (at the time of me writing this reply), this looks like it’ll be the closest to definitive I can get.

Furman is a tad outdated when it comes to transgender resources and accommodations, but there are still some helpful aspects in place. Students are allowed to change genders at the university without proof of a legal sex change (this extends to preferred bathroom use, dorms, preferred name, and title; the gender neutral Mx. title is offered), and a committee of resource officers is present, but that’s about it. The lottery system of assigning roommates doesn’t guarantee a safe living situation, and all complaints seem to be funneled through a general Title IX coordinator (which is notoriously slow and unfriendly to transgender students). Hormone therapy is not monetarily covered by the university, either. This could just be a South Carolina policy, but regardless, it’s not the best.

I tried looking at Furman’s club page to find any mentions of a GSU or the like, but for whatever reason, the club webpage just doesn’t exist. There appears to be a defunct “Furman Pride Alliance” (the link to find out more information about the club doesn’t work), but nothing else. The afformemtiomed LGBT committee has no information listed on the website aside from a generic “we like gay people” statement, and the resources are literally just external links to your most basic ally questions. It’s kind of shocking to see just how barren the resources are for a school that touts its diversity as something to be envied. But hey, at least the webpage banner is a picture of Jesse Tyler Ferguson with some students, right?

As far as student attitudes go, there seems to be something of an ambivalence to gay/lesbian/bisexual students, with the general concensus being along the lines of, “do what you want, just stick to the status quo and don’t be too open about it.” Got nothing in regards to transgender/nonbinary attitudes, though. I talked to a few students, and while most were liberal-minded and accepting, the majority of their testimonies were either about their one gay friend liking the campus or how I was “digging my grave already” by being apprehensive. Given how none of the responses I received has any mentions of transgender/nonbinary students, I take it that gender attitudes are on the less accepting side, which definitely poses a problem for students looking for a safe living situation or places they can safely be themselves. And, seeing as how Furman is known to be a very southern belle school, I wouldn’t be surprised if homophobic/transphobic undertones are scattered around campus without much consequence.

So, from what I understand, Furman isn’t just a purple Bob Jones University or anything, but it’s not the place to go if you want a strong, present LGBT community on campus. While the average student probably won’t outright discriminate against you for your gender/sexuality, don’t expect anything too warm and fuzzy. If you’re fine being a bit on your own and risking the occasional homophobic run-in, then go for it.

Perhaps you could find the name of the U advisor or Dean of students who oversees LGBTQ programs or issues and ask that person to put you in touch with more students you might talk to. Regarding the students you talked to, were they transgender or just random students?

I couldn’t find any transgender students to talk to, unfortunately. I haven’t been able to find the Dean that addresses these issues outside the general “first-year experience”–should I just contact him?

I’m currently a sophomore at Furman, and I know multiple trans/ gender fluid students. My LGBT friends have never experienced any explicit homophobia, and I find the majority of people that I interact with to be accepting. If you’d like to send me a PM I can give you a professor that oversees the WGSS minor, and she can give you more peace of mind. :slight_smile:

If you’re looking for a large LGBT community, you might want to look at more liberal schools further north.

@pineapple1203 That’s such a relief! Thank you so much :slight_smile: I can’t for the life of me figure out how to PM on this website, but I’d love to get in contact with the WGSS professor!

You’re not seeing the PM button because you have to have a certain minimum number of posts (I think it’s 15?) before the site will let you initiate PM’s. (Maybe @pineapple1203 would be willing to start a PM thread with you.)