Security staff at a Kingston University halls of residence are to get diversity training following a transphobic incident between a transgender student and a security guard.
Rainier McCarthy, a first-year media and communications student, said he was repeatedly misgendered and deadnamed in an interaction with a member of security staff at Seething Wells halls in the early hours of September 29.
Kingston University said the company managing the halls had received a complaint, and conducted an investigation.
“A number of measures have been implemented as a result, including placing all security staff on a diversity course to improve their awareness and communication skills,” a university spokesperson said.
“Kingston University is committed to providing an inclusive environment for all of its students, staff and visitors and does not tolerate any form of discrimination.”
McCarthy told the Kingston Courier that he and two friends were returning to Seething Wells when they were stopped by a security guard and asked for identification, given the late hour.
Having forgotten his student card, McCarthy said he tried to explain that he was the resident and that his friends would not be staying.
He said the security guard then began misgendering both him and one of his friends by using the wrong pronoun, even after being corrected.
McCarthy said: “He goes to me and asks ‘Are you a man?’ and at that moment I’m sitting there and [wondering] what do I say to this? How do I prove my masculinity to a person I’ve never met before?”
Olivia Brito Gandra, who was with McCarthy at the time, said: “We were all in shock. Like, oh my God, did this guy really just say that to him?”
The security guard used the halls’ book of student photos to confirm McCarthy’s identity and room number. McCarthy said that the guard repeatedly called him by his deadname – which was listed in the book.
“If you don’t know that you were misgendering and deadnaming it’s understandable… it’s the fact that we were correcting him… and it was several times of us repeating this to him and trying to get it across,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy sent an email complaining about the incident to the Seething Wells halls manager and various other university staff.
He received a response from the halls manager and one of the university’s inclusion consultants confirming that the security staff had been placed on a diversity and discrimination course.