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So, What’s With This ‘Gender Unicorn’ Popping Up On College Campuses?

A cutesy little “Gender Unicorn” in the vein of “Barney the Purple Dinosaur” has been popping up on college campuses across the country, offering students a snowflake-friendly way to learn about the gender spectrum.

Created by the organization Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER), the happy little graphic featuring a purple unicorn with its thoughts fixated on a colorful rainbow offer students quick little lessons in “gender identity,” “gender expression,” “sex assigned at birth,” “physically attracted to,” and “emotionally attracted to,” while providing them a scale on the gender spectrum.

One unicorn poster at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater offered students an “opportunity to reflect on their own gender identity, expression, sex, and sexuality.” Students on Twitter mocked it heavily. “Lol this is what UW-Whitewater spends its time and money on,” one student said on Twitter.

A “Gender Unicorn event” was also held at Ball State University by the “Spectrum” organization. Monmouth University’s Gender Studies Student Club uses a slightly different version of the unicorn for promotional material, while Cedar Crest College’s “OutThere” organization featured the unicorn at a student fair, according to Campus Reform.

The graphic has some similarities to a character known as the “Genderbread Person” from a separate organization. TSER said their unicorn holds “significant changes to more accurately portray the distinction between gender, sex assigned at birth, and sexuality.”

“We wanted to create a gender graphic that shows how queer and trans people view gender instead of one straight, cisgender man,” TSER said while critiquing the “Genderbread Person.”

“Biological sex is an ambiguous word that has no scale and no meaning besides that it is related to some sex characteristics. It is also harmful to trans people,” TSER exclaims. “Instead, we prefer ‘sex assigned at birth’ which provides a more accurate description of what biological sex may be trying to communicate.”

“Sex, whether referencing an array of sex characteristics or sex assigned at birth, is not exclusively determined through genitals,” TSER concludes.

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