RCSGD Resources

Graduate Assistant

This position contributes to the RCSGD mission of ensuring that LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty are supported and affirmed at UCSB. This position works with undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff across campus to build support systems for and increase visibility of LGBTQ students and their needs.

The RCSGD LGBTQIA+ Graduate Student Newsletter

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Supporting LGBTQ Students in the Classroom: a Guide for Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants

The RCSGD has created a guide with suggestions on how to create inclusive classrooms for LGBTQ+ students before they enter the classroom, inside the classroom, and ways to cultivate students holistically.

  • Include a statement in your syllabus that includes resources that support queer and trans students on campus, such as the Resource Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity (RCSGD).
  • State the location of the All Gender Restroom nearest to the classroom and include a link to the UCSB All Gender Restroom Map on your syllabus.
  • Familiarize yourself with LGBTQ terminology and always mirror the language students use for themselves.
  • Integrate LGBTQ topics as they relate to your field into the curriculum, including readings, discussions, and assignments. Highlight important contributions made by LGBTQ scholars in your field.
    • Your class may not be explicitly covering LGBTQ topics, but you should make a conscious effort to be as LGBTQ-inclusive as possible so every student has the opportunity to be successful.
  • Pursue personal and professional development for yourself and colleagues in your department around LGBTQ identities and experiences.

Pronouns in the Classroom

  • Introduce pronouns on the first day during classroom introductions. You should explain what pronouns are, why they are important in your classroom, and how to use them.
    • Pronouns are used in everyday speech and writing to take the place of people's names. 
    • We encourage you to come up with your own rationale for why using the correct pronouns for students is important in your classroom, but some reasons you might cite are:
      • To respect how people want to be referred to in the third person;
      • Student learning will be negatively impacted if they are being continuously misgendered; 
      • We want all students to be able to fully and equally participate in the classroom environment without any barriers.
  • It is helpful for your students if you have a visual modeling of different pronouns on the board for them to reference as they introduce themselves.
    • Common pronouns in standard English: they.them.theirs, she.her.hers, he.him.his

Pronouns on Zoom

  • Add your pronouns to your zoom display name and encourage students to do the same.
  • Instead of reading names from a roster, allow students to share their names on the first day of class.
    • This will avoid deadnaming students (using a student’s legal name that they do not currently use) and prevents you from mispronouncing names.
  • Avoid gendered language such as “ladies and gentleman” or "guys” and use gender-inclusive language instead, such as “folks,” “everyone,” "students", "scientists," and "scholars," to include gender non-conforming and nonbinary students.

Name, address, and respond to anti-LGBTQ behavior or comments 

  • Address misgendering, deadnaming, and homophobic and transphobic comments as they occur to send a strong message of inclusion and support for LGBTQ students.
    • This is something you can do on day one with your classroom agreements/guidelines.
  • Federal law (i.e., Title IX), California law, UC's nondiscrimination policies, and the UCSB Student Conduct Code protect LGBTQ students from discrimination in the classroom. 
  • Students who are resistant should not be allowed to use the wrong pronouns for others in the classroom. You can seek support from your instructor of record or the RCSGD to address this if it comes up with your students. 
  • During office hours and one-on-one meetings, create opportunities for students to share their classroom experiences with you by asking for feedback and suggestions.

How do you deal with a professor who is resistant to inclusive language?

  • Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your professor and be prepared to do some education around supporting LGBTQ students in the classroom.
  • Find your allies in your department and on campus.

How do you deal with a professor who is resistant to inclusive language?

  • Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your professor and be prepared to do some education around supporting LGBTQ students in the classroom.
  • Find your allies in your department and on campus.
  • When a student comes out to you as part of the LGBTQ community, do not assume they need resources or help, but ask them how you can support them.
    • “Thank you for telling me. How can I support you?”
    • Do not share this information with others unless the student gives you permission to do so. You should not out them to your instructor of record or in the classroom if the student has not given you their approval.
  • The RCSGD provides one-on-one support and resources for LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty.
  • The RCSGD has a Graduate Assistant who supports LGBTQ graduate students. 
  • Students have the option to add a Lived Name in most university systems which include class rosters
  • Students have the option to add their pronouns on class rosters and in Canvas through GOLD
  • UCSB has a variety of LGBTQ Student Organizations:
  • UCSB has a variety of resources for students facing food insecurity:

If you Have Any Questions or Need Additional Suggestions on How to Support LGBTQ Students in the Classroom

Contact Us

Identity Disclosure as an Instructor: Making an Informed Decision

Whether or not to disclose your LGBTQIA+ identity to your students is a very personal choice. We hope the following research-based resources will help you make an informed decision.  


Disclosure, also known as coming out, is the process of sharing one’s sexual orientation, romantic orientation, and/or gender identity with others. Someone  might disclose their identity explicitly, by stating their gender identity or sexual orientation, or indirectly, by wearing pride-specific clothing, showing photos of their partner, etc.

Graduate students sometimes grapple with whether or not they should disclose their identities to undergraduate students. Disclosing your gender identity or sexual orientation is an incredibly personal decision, and you should never feel pressured to do so. We hope the research-based information below will help you make this decision for yourself!

  • In general, research shows that students benefit when an instructor discloses personal information of any kind about themselves. For example, teachers’ self-disclosure of personal information is associated with greater class enjoyment, knowledge of subject material, engagement, and participation in class communication (Cayanus, 2004; Cayanus & Martin, 2008; Cayanus et al., 2009; Zhang et al., 2008). Self-disclosure can also foster better student-teacher relationships (Schrodt, 2013).

  • Identity disclosure may be especially beneficial to students who share those identities. Research shows that undergraduate students who have the same identity as an instructor (and are aware of that instructor’s identity) report higher feelings of belonging in the classroom (Rosenthal et al., 2013; Linley et al., 2016; Rainey et al., 2018) and show increased self-efficacy (i.e., the belief in one’s ability to achieve a goal; Cotner et al., 2011; Stout et al., 2011).

  • LGBTQ+ undergraduates who had an instructor disclose their sexual orientation reported greater feelings of inclusion in the course and an increased interest in pursuing a career in that subject (Busch et al., 2022). 

  • A recent study found that most students (regardless of identity) reported that an instructor disclosing their sexual orientation in the classroom increased their sense of belonging, feelings of connection with the instructor, and how approachable they found the instructor (Busch et al., 2022).

  • LGBTQ+ people in academia still report prejudice and discriminatory behavior based on their identity (Barthelemy et al., 2022; Cech & Waidzunas, 2021).

  • When teachers are perceived as gay/lesbian or queer, some students perceive that teacher as less credible and are more critical on their teaching evaluations (Russ et al., 2002). However, it is worth noting that this data is from 2002 and may not reflect current attitudes.

  • Disclosing your identity may be perceived by others as “flaunting” your gender identity or sexual orientation (Yescavage & Alexander, 1997) or perceived as “agenda pushing” (Nielsen & Alderson, 2014).

  • Many LGBTQ+ teachers often report struggling to disclose their identity in “ways that are pleasing to all parents, administrators, students, and colleagues (p. 370; Bower & Klecka, 2009).” 

  • A small subset (3%) of students reported that the teacher’s identity disclosure negatively impacted their course experience (Busch et al., 2022). This group held religious views that differed from the teacher’s. 

  • Disclosing one’s identity in the classroom may be perceived as inappropriate for a professional setting by some (Cayanus & Martin, 2008; Goodboy et al., 2014).

  • It worth noting that in some states, sexual orientation is not a protected class (HRC, 2014; Movement Advancement Project, 2018) and therefore you may not be protected against sexual orientation discrimination in the classroom. However, sexual orientation and gender identity is a protected class in California and at UCSB. Further, UCSB is committed to fostering an environment that promotes safety, inclusivity, and is free from discrimination. If you experience any discrimination, harassment, or retaliation based on disclosing your identity in the classroom, you can report the incident on the UC Incident Reporting Form for Harassment and Discrimination.

To further explore the research mentioned above, please reference our bibliography!

Disclosure Bibliography


Student Organizations

The Queer and Trans Graduate Student Union (QT GSU) at the University of California, Santa Barbara provides a safe space for LGBTQIA+ identified UCSB graduate students to socialize, organize, and seek support. We advocate for the rights and well-being of LGBTQIA+ identified students on campus and work to foster ties with the greater Santa Barbara community.

The Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) is an interdisciplinary graduate student organization designed to provide academic support and social resources that meet the needs of Black (of the African Diaspora) graduate students at the University of California Santa Barbara. BGSA supports and participates in scholarly activities that are intellectually stimulating and contribute to building the academic resources of its members. The BGSA also offers a valuable social network that builds on the organization's commitment to mentorship, research, and service.

The Asian Pacific Islander Graduate Student Alliance at UC Santa Barbara is an organization that strives to create and maintain spaces of support for graduate students of Asian panethnicity, while advocating for a more critically accurate representation of Asian American students. APIGSA aims to carry forward critical conversations that are frequently read illegible and absorbed into the background. The Asian panethnic community’s plurality of experiences contributes to a rich archive of shared knowledge that networks across ostensibly separate incidents of social injustice. We welcome opportunities to critically engage notions of community in our development as students, individuals, and community members.

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is the elected representative government for the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) graduate students which works to ensure that graduate student concerns are addressed in campus and off-campus policy decisions through representations on campus-wide and system-wide committees, provide graduate students with information concerning decisions that are relevant to student life, provide social activities for UCSB graduate students, inform graduate students of additional campus resources and services and provide graduate students with a physical space to use as for both academic and social programming.

The Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) chapter at the University of California, Santa Barbara was established more than 10 years ago to serve as a support group for students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). We proudly represent the National SACNAS Organization, which encourages Chicano, Hispanic, and Native American students, along with students of other ethnic backgrounds, to pursue higher education and assists them in obtaining the advanced degrees necessary for scientific research, industry, leadership, and teaching careers at all levels.

Members of the American Indian Graduate Student Alliance work to connect self-identified American Indian and Indigenous graduate students within and beyond the UCSB community, provide professional development opportunities, and develop interdisciplinary and relational approaches to American Indian and Indigenous (AII) studies.

Womxn in Science & Engineering (WiSE) is a graduate student led, non-profit UCSB campus organization founded in 2001. WiSE aims to intersectionally promote equal opportunity and inclusion for all members of our campus community, support the scientific and career advancement of traditionally underserved people in academia, and create community for women and girls in science and engineering fields.

This is a non-partisan, non-sectarian, voluntary student organization serving the interests of the Iranian graduate students and post-doctoral researchers/lecturers at UCSB.



On Campus Resources

The GSRC is the primary resource for graduate students at UCSB for career and professional development support. We offer a variety of workshops and events, individual advising, and referrals to other campus resources that serve graduate students. The GSRC is located in the Student Resource Building on the first floor.

The GSA Lounge is open to all graduate students and campus-registered student groups or organizations that directly work with or benefit the graduate student body.

Graduate students area a unique and highly trained student population at UCSB. As members of the most educated constituents within the workforce, graduate students' career needs are often vast, nuanced, and advanced. We support you in seeking out any career that fits your skills and intersects to actualize your goals. Through a suite of specialized resources, tools, and information, we can help you to get to where you want to go.


Campus Support Lines

LGBTQ+ Themed Housing (typically at San Clemente Villages) are options specifically designated for LGBTQ+ students and their allies. Residential & Community Living staff work closely with the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity on educational and social programming that promotes a welcoming and supportive environment for all members of the LGBTQ+ community.  

Gender Inclusive Housing is intended to provide trans and non-binary students with comfortable living options. Students who choose this option will work one-on-one with housing staff to find a living arrangement that is best for them.

Family Student Housing provides a limited number of one- and two- bedroom single-family units for full-time UCSB students. Student Family Housing is inclusive to LGBTQ+ couples and families. Priority is given to families with children, then married couples; otherwise, vacancies are filled in order by the date of application and desired move-in date.

Application Process

The AS Food Bank is available for registered Undergraduate and Graduate students only. If you are not a registered student, please click on the off-campus link found in the Resources tab for resources off campus.

To receive food from the AS Food Bank, there are two requirements:

  1. Being a registered UCSB Student, undergraduate or graduate. This is verified with your Access Card. Please bring it in each time you come in. 
  2. Completing a Self-Declaration of Income form when you come in or via our website, to apply, please click here. This needs to be filled out every new academic school year.

In order to use the Food Bank, you must make under $14,484 per year. This excludes family income, spousal income, financial aid, scholarships, TA-ship, and fellowships. If you have any questions regarding the income requirement, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) is committed to providing timely, culturally appropriate, and effective mental health services to our diverse UCSB student body, as well as professional consultation to faculty, staff, and families. 

Giana Galindo, Psychologist

Specializes in graduate students; feminist and multicultural theories; trauma and resilience, LGBTQIA+ affirming care, identity exploration and development, Latinx students, survivors of interpersonal violence, family of origin concerns, anxiety, depression, and transitional processes.

Groups: Inqueery

This support space is for LGBTQIA+ graduate students who want to explore their sense of self, receive and provide support, build resilience and community, and address the impact of oppressive systems.