The University of Surrey’s Student Union (referred to as “USSU” forthwith) are committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all. All students should be given equal opportunities in the USSU as well as when taking part in any USSU activity (refers to anyone volunteering their time for USSU i.e. Course Reps, Nightline, part-time student staff and general volunteers) or Team Surrey sporting activity (Team Surrey refers to the University’s sporting brand, jointly managed by USSU and Surrey Sports Park).

The purpose of this policy is to clarify appropriate language, USSU support during the transition process, provide guidance for trans or non-binary students wishing to take part in USSU activity, society and sporting activity as well as demonstrate USSU’s efforts to support the Trans community in line with the University’s Transgender and Gender Identity Policy.  

In this policy, the terms ‘transgender’ or ‘trans’ refer to students who are considering, undergoing or have gone through gender realignment. The term ‘non-binary’ in this policy refers to those who identify outside of the sex assigned at birth, as well as those who identify outside of the gender binary.

1. Appropriate Language

Language is a powerful tool and for many trans and non-binary students, using it in an appropriate manner can be crucial to showing respect. USSU recognises the following as good practice: 

  • Ensuring you use a trans or non-binary person’s chosen name, if this is different from their birth name (also known as ‘dead-name’). Refrain from using quotation marks around either the trans or non-binary person’s chosen name or the pronoun that reflects their gender identity.
  • Ensuring you always use the pronouns appropriate to that person’s identified gender, or use pronouns that they have indicated match their gender identity. If you are unsure of pronouns, do not assume, please ask in a respectful and appropriate manner.
  • Ensuring use of gender-inclusive pronouns (I.e. “they”) if unsure of someone’s gender identity. If a person has indicated that they would like to be referred to with specific pronouns then you should use those.
  • Refrain from using the terms ‘sex-change’ or ‘pre/post-operative’; this implies a process of transition must involve some form of surgery. Many trans or non-binary people do not undergo any surgery or hormone therapy as part of their transition. Terms such as ‘Gender Confirmation Surgery’ is the correct terminology.

2. Transitioning Students

USSU supports all students considering going through/currently going through/having gone through the transition process. Please refer to the University’s Transgender and Gender Identity Policy for a full explanation. USSU recognises the following:

  • If a student intending to transition wishes to inform USSU, they can contact us at, or another member of staff they comfortable talking to, who can notify staff who may come into contact with said student; contact clubs and societies (that the student holds membership with) and inform them so appropriate language and name can be used; change their name on any record of achievements including awards and certificates; or inform Team Surrey staff, should they belong to a sports club. No-one will be notified without the student’s consent.
  • If a student discloses to USSU that they are in the process of transitioning, this information will be strictly confidential and no-one will be notified without the student’s consent. This is in line with the Gender Recognition Act 2004.
  • Name changes can be disclosed to USSU even if they haven’t been legally confirmed.

3. Discrimination and Harassment

USSU does not tolerate bullying, harassment and discrimination. This policy serves to protect the rights of trans or non-binary students in line with the University’s Trans and Gender Identity Policy and Dignity at Work and Study Policy, while in the Students’ Union building and when participating in any USSU activity, society activity, Team Surrey club or PlaySport session. Examples of discriminative behavior include:

  • verbally or physically threatening a trans or non-binary person or spreading malicious gossip about that person
  • refusing to associate or ignore someone because they are a trans or non-binary person
  • refusing to allow a trans or non-binary person to participate in any sports club, society or activity
  • refusing to address a trans or non-binary person’s acquired gender or to use their new name
  • ‘outing’ the trans or non-binary status of a person to others without prior consent
  • asking inappropriate questions which may make a trans or non-binary person feel uncomfortable.

USSU will take the following steps to ensure discriminative behaviour does not happen or is challenged by:

  • regular monitoring of the USSU Transgender and Non-Binary Policy
  • have a clear complaints procedure
  • ensure all USSU staff are trained on the policy
  • ensure all USSU volunteers are aware of the policy, implementing it into club and society committee training
  • engaging in trans and non-binary awareness-raising campaigns and activities
  • making every effort to use an individual’s correct pronouns when interacting with said student
  • having zero tolerance against any transphobic propaganda
  • make students aware of the University’s Report & Support platform

4. Participation in gender segregated society and non-competitive sporting events/campaigns

A number of societies will put on male and female segregated events, this may be for religious or cultural reasons. USSU notes that any trans or non-binary student should have the choice to decide which gendered event they attend. For any religious event that involves washing/changing facilities, gender neutral facilities will be made available for trans or non-binary students. Please note in rare instances, some faith societies may require a discussion beforehand to find the most suitable solution for both parties.

There may also be male and female awareness campaigns e.g. Female Takeover, Men’s Mental Health, taking place. USSU notes that any trans or non-binary student should have the choice to decide which gendered event they get involved with.

5. Training with USSU sporting Societies and Team Surrey Clubs

Any trans or non-binary student has the right to train with any USSU sporting society or Team Surrey club, in line with that society or club’s training policy i.e. first team members train together, social team members train together etc. USSU expects all sporting societies and Team Surrey clubs to ensure there is provision of training within their society or sport, for all trans or non-binary students.

It is expected that all Society and Team Surrey members adhere to this policy and also to their relevant Society and Team Surrey Code of Conducts, with regards to member/committee conduct.

If it’s felt that there is a safety concern as a result of a trans or non-binary student’s participation, then please raise this This also goes for safety concerns as a result of any student’s participation.

6. PlaySport sessions

PlaySport sessions are run by Surrey Sports Park. Any trans or non-binary student has the right to join in with any PlaySport session on offer.

It is expected that all PlaySport Activators or Coordinators adhere to the USSU Transgender & Non-binary policy and also the Team Surrey Code of Conduct, with regards to member/committee conduct.

7. Competing with USSU sporting Societies and Team Surrey Clubs

There is additional guidance for trans or non-binary students looking to compete for a Team Surrey sport at British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) or equivalent university competitions. Each club or society committee should be aware of their sport’s relevant policy and support a trans or non-binary member as best they can. Please see each sporting NGB’s trans or non-binary policy, if applicable, linked below:

  • BUCS Transgender Policy – BUCS states that a sport’s International or NGB transgender policy should be followed but if there is no policy, or the existing policy hasn’t been reviewed within a 3 year period, BUCS regulations should be applied; REG 4.3.2 to REG 4.3.3.