Department Support for Trans, Two Spirit, Intersex, Non-Binary, and Gender Non-Conforming Students, Staff, and Faculty
On October 21, 2018, the New York Times reported that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under the Trump Administration, has proposed reinterpreting our nation’s civil rights law in a way that removes recognition and protection of an estimated 1.4 million Americans who identify as trans, intersex, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people. The proposal would define gender as either male or female, unchangeable, and “determined by genitalia at birth.”
In response to this memo, we want to firmly address that trans, Two Spirit, intersex, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people have existed always and will always exist. Their lived experiences, stories, histories, practices, and theories have made significant and positive contributions to this world. There is not an institution, policy, or nation that can determine otherwise.
As a department committed to inclusion, social justice, and equality, we believe this proposal runs counter to our core values. To our trans, Two Spirit, intersex, non-binary, and gender non-conforming faculty colleagues, staff, and students we want you to know that we support you. We see you. We value you. We need you. You cannot be erased. And we recognize the serious impact these measures could have on your lives. If enacted, this proposal would strip members of our community of the most basic human rights to safety and security in public and private spaces, schools, hospitals and clinics, DMVs, and shelters, among others.
We encourage all members of the Liberal Studies Department to remain informed about these proposed changes to our national civil rights protections, which have not yet become law. We commit to continuing to teaching trans- and queer issues across our curriculum, creating and maintaining inclusive classrooms and working spaces, and to standing in solidarity with our trans, Two Spirit, intersex, non-binary, and gender non-conforming faculty, staff, and students.
If you would like to get more involved, the following are a partial list of local and national organizations that are working on issues of transgender and intersex discrimination, homelessness, poverty, incarceration, and healthcare:
- Grand Rapids Trans Foundation
- The Red Project
- Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center at GVSU
- Equality Michigan
- Transgender Michigan
- Own Your Gender Group at the Grand Rapids Pride Center
- Ruth Ellis Center of Detroit
- Center on Halsted of Chicago
- Trans Lifeline
- RAD Remedy
- Transgender and Intersex Justice Project
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- TransJustice at the Audre Lorde Project
- Casa Ruby
- Sylvia Rivera Law Project
- Black and Pink
- The Trevor Project