It is important to note the cis- and binary gender expressions represented in the historical documents on view throughout this exhibition and the regular usage of outdated and derogatory stereotypes within these documents. It is the work of scholars at all levels to interpret, contextualize, and help us better understand our history through these materials. We recognize that today the College seeks to support all students, regardless of gender, and that the challenge to create an inclusive space for all gender expressions and identities persists.
As our conception of gender and its fluidity continues to evolve, Bowdoin strives to create a space that is inclusive to people of all gender identities. The Lived Name Initiative seeks to prevent assumptions about gender identity by allowing students to enter their preferred, or “lived,” name so it can be recognized officially by the College in databases such as Blackboard and Polaris. Historical documents, such as the Offer of the College and Alma Mater, have been altered to use gender neutral language. The College continues to build gender neutral bathrooms, and the Free Flow Initiative provides free menstruation products in all campus bathrooms. The aim of these movements is to provide spaces where people of all gender identities feel supported with equal access to bathrooms and menstruation products.