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Diversity + Inclusion LGBTQIA+

Emporia State values diversity of sexuality and gender


Emporia State University doesn’t just open its doors to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities—we value diversity of sexuality and gender and see this diversity as a profound gift. Emporia State University affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

Basic definitions 101

Sexual definition

Emporia State University affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Sexual orientation is an integral part of who we are as a community—being true to ourselves and honoring each other’s truth is imperative

Sexual Orientation describes the pattern of a person’s sexual attractions based on gender. Sexual attraction and romantic attraction are often lumped together as if they are the same. That is not always the case.

Affectional Orientation describes the pattern of a person’s romantic attraction, or the gender of the people a person falls in love with or desires to partner with.

There are three basic types of sexual orientations: Monosexual, polysexual, and asexual.

Monosexual Sexual Orientations

Some people are exclusively attracted to members of only one gender. Sexual orientation labels used by monosexual people include:

  • Gay: generally, refers to a man who is attracted to men. Sometimes refers to all people who are attracted to people of the same sex; sometimes "homosexual" is used for this also, although this label is seen by many today as a medical term that should be retired from common use.
  • Lesbian: a woman who is attracted to women. Sometimes also or alternately "same gender-loving woman" or "woman loving woman."
  • Straight: a man who is exclusively attracted to women or a woman who is exclusively attracted to men; also sometimes generally used to refer to people whose sexualities are societally normative. Alternately referred to as “heterosexual.”

Polysexual Sexual Orientation

Some people are attracted to members of multiple genders. Sexual orientation labels used by polysexual people include:

  • Bisexual: attracted to people of one's own gender and people of other gender(s). Often referred to as "bi."
  • Pansexual: attracted to people regardless of gender. Sometimes also or alternately "omnisexual."
  • Queer: similar to pansexual, queer can be an identity label meaning that a person is attracted to people of many genders; however, queer is a multi-faceted word with more than one definition and use, and is viewed as offensive by some people.

Asexual Sexual Orientation

Some people do not experience sexual attraction. Most people this applies to identify as asexual.

  • Asexual: not sexually attracted to anyone and/or no desire to act on attraction to anyone. Does not necessarily mean sexless. Asexual people sometimes do experience affectional (romantic) attraction.

In addition to the above, some people don’t like and don’t use labels. Other people identify as Questioning: a term used to describe someone who is unsure of or exploring their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Gender Identity and Expression

Emporia State University affirms each person’s ability to judge for themselves who they are and express themselves in the way that is most authentic. We honor the diversity of truths that exists within our communities.

Gender is complex and multi-faceted. In North American culture several distinct facets of ourselves get lumped together when we talk about “gender”:

  • Biological sex: attributes such as anatomy, chromosomes, and hormones that are usually assigned at birth and inform whether a person is male, female, or intersex.
  • Gender identity: An individual’s internal sense of being a man, a woman, neither of these, both, and so on—it is one’s inner sense of being and one’s own understanding of how one relates to the gender binary. With the exception of agender people, who often do not have an internal sense of gender, most people have a gender identity.
  • Gender expression: the ways in which a person manifests masculinity, femininity, both, or neither through appearance, behavior, dress, speech patterns, preferences, and more.

The cultural expectation is that one’s biological sex, gender identity, and gender expression will align in stereotypical ways: that someone who is male will identify as a boy/man and have a masculine gender expression, for example. This expectation does not serve our diverse world and the myriad experiences of self that exist.


First coined to distinguish gender benders with no desire for surgery or hormones from transsexuals, those who desired to legally and medically change their sex, more recently transgender, trans, and/or trans have become umbrella terms popularly used to refer to all people who transgress dominant conceptions of gender, or at least all people who identify themselves as doing so. The definition continues to evolve.

Ways to be More Welcoming and Inclusive of Transgender People

  1. Avoid making assumptions about gender identity or sexual orientation.
  2. Respect a person’s identity and self-label, and respect a person’s chosen name and pronouns. Practice offering your own pronouns when you meet new people.
  3. Do not assume a trans person wants to speak about trans issues and only trans issues. Engage them in conversation and get to know them as you would anyone. Learn more about transgender identity and gender diversity on your own.
  4. Recognize that “transgender” is not a sexual orientation and educate yourself and others on the distinctions between sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Don’t say “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” if you are only taking about sexuality. Recognize that a person can identify with more than one of those labels.
  5. Use terms that encompass all genders rather than only two (e.g., “children” instead of “boys and girls”; “people” instead of “women and men”; “siblings,” “kindred,” or “brothers and sisters and siblings of all genders” instead of “brothers and sisters”).
  6. Designate gender neutral bathroom(s) and label all bathrooms in a welcoming way. Your signs throughout your space point the way to all bathroom options.

Gender Neutral Restrooms:

  • (2) Gender Neutral Restrooms on the 3rd Floor of the Memorial Union
  • (2) Gender Neutral Restrooms on the 2nd floor of Visser Hall.
  • (1) Gender Neutral Restroom in the Veterans Hall of Honor, 2nd floor of the Memorial Union
  • 4 Single occupancy gender neutral restrooms with shower, Residential Life
  • 20 single occupancy gender neutral restrooms without shower, Residential Life

As Emporia State University continues to create an environment that is conducive to all walks of life, we will continue to update this list of Gender Neutral Restrooms as they come available and accessible to students and staff.