Gender nonconforming students make up an increasing, yet still marginalized share of college and university students. The share of students who identify outside of the he/she binary has increased from 1.4% to 5.1% between 2016 and 2022, according to the American College Health Association. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS; Grant et al., 2017) reported that 35% of students thought to be trans-identifying were subject to mistreatment on campus. A sense of belonging is critical for student academic success and retention. This is why Gleeson Library is collaborating with the University of San Francisco's Gender & Sexuality Center to create regular Gender Inclusive Pop-Up Closets.
Though the Gender Affirming Closet already exists on campus, The Cultural Centers are limited in space and capacity. A partnership with Gleeson not only increases capacity and reach for the Centers, but also provides opportunities for the library to create a sense of belonging and actively invite marginalized students into a welcoming Third Space. Additionally, creating space for gender nonconforming students allows them to associate the library with their overall experience in meaningful ways outside of academic necessity. These associations increase comfort with the library as a whole space and furthers the campus ethos of nurturing "cura personalis" (the whole person).
This poster display will showcase strategies for developing partnerships with departments outside the library, highlight the benefits of interdepartmental relationship-building and its mutual benefits, as well as the impact of creating welcoming and nurturing spaces outside the typical scope of the library.