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Know Your Rights

Knowing your rights as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer + person on campus and being aware of available resources can help you develop, grow and protect yourself.


The university is committed to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, arrest and court record, sexual orientation and veteran status.

The Board of Regents’ policy covers:

  • Admission
  • Access
  • Participation
  • Treatment
  • Employment in all university programs and activities

In the event of harassment or discrimination, students should contact the campus dean or vice chancellor of students, and faculty and staff should contact their campus Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator or union representative.

Coming Out

Often during college years students reflect on their gender identity and sexuality. For some, this process may result in the discovery that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer +.

For most people the process of “coming out” is a challenging experience. We are exposed daily to the negative reactions, stereotypes, cis-centric and heterosexist bias of the society we in which we live, and it is not unusual to have feelings of fear, isolation, guilt and self-rejection.

However, embracing your gender identity and sexual orientation can also be a positive experience; you may find that your anxiety is replaced by relief, self-acceptance and a sense of liberation. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, māhū, and queer + people have the same rights as others to learn, grow and discover themselves. All members of the UH community are invited to learn about sexuality and gender issues, rights, and resources.

Safe Zone

Safe Zone symbolThe former Task Force on Sexual Orientation initiated a Safe Zone program aimed at keeping the university system a comfortable place for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex population. A Safe Zone symbol identifies a person (student, teacher, staff, administrator) you can trust: someone who will be understanding, supportive and helpful.The Safe Zone Program’s objective is for trained participants to utilize their gained knowledge and skills to foster a safe and inclusive community for LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff to promote social justice in the University of Hawaiʻi System.

Upon completion of a Safe Zone Training, participants will be invited to become Advocates in the University of Hawaiʻi System Safe Zone Program.

Learning Outcomes

  • Participants will be able to identify their expected roles under and responsibilities to their respective campus and University of Hawaiʻi System policies.
  • Participants will demonstrate knowledge about the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Participants will demonstrate an understanding of the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals.
  • Participants will be able to identify available LGBTQ+ campus and community resources.
  • Participants will be able to implement strategies to support and advocate for LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff in the UH system.

Workplace Concerns

The commission advocates for representation of the interests of LGBTQ+ people on hiring committees, and continues to strive for nondiscrimination and safe working environments for all employees.


The commission continues to be in communication with the Office of the President and makes recommendations on issues relating to LGBTQ+ affairs.

Policy and Best Practices

The commission has made the recommendation to add “gender identity and expression” to our UH policy of non-discrimination and continues to advocate for the rights of transgender individuals.

Preferred Name Policy

The goal of this policy is to enable a consistent preferred name experience across the University of Hawaiʻi system and use of one’s preferred name, such as a Hawaiian name, an international name or a name that is concurrent with their gender identity, wherever a legal name is not absolutely necessary.

Preferred Name Policy

All Inclusive Facilities

University of Hawaiʻi’s (the “University”) commitment to providing a learning and working environment that is safe, accessible, and respectful of all individuals, the University is dedicated to ensuring that restrooms and other facilities support a campus community of diverse students, faculty, staff, and visitors inclusive of their gender identity and/or gender expression. This policy addresses new construction and existing restrooms, showers, locker rooms, changing facilities, and wellness/lactation rooms.

Last modified: September 27, 2023
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