Campus responds to Trump memo on definition of gender

Oct. 26, 2018, 12:43 a.m.

Following Sunday’s publication of the details of a memo showing that the Trump administration is considering narrowing the federal definition of gender to solely sex assigned at birth, University administrators reaffirmed Stanford’s support for all gender identities. Multiple student groups also responded to the possibility of redefinition.

Three days after The New York Times published details of the memo, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole and Vice President for Human Resources Elizabeth Zacharias outlined the University’s response in a Notes from the Quad blog post.

We want you to know that no matter what happens at the federal level, the University will not waver from its own commitment to value people of all genders, gender identities and gender expressions,” they wrote.

Despite the fact that the definitional changes, if instituted, could jeopardize transgender rights under federal law, Brubaker-Cole and Zacharias maintained that the University’s Nondiscrimination Policy will continue to provide protection for gender, gender identity and gender expression.  

In a campus-wide email sent early Wednesday morning, members of the Queer Student Resources (QSR) center and the Weiland Health Initiative — a partnership between QSR and Vaden Health Center to promote mental health in students of all genders and sexual identities — affirmed their opposition to the proposed change and their solidarity with the queer community.

“Trans and intersex and non-binary people are here,” they wrote. “We exist and we’ve always existed and we will continue to exist. We will not be erased.”

The email also detailed current resources available to students, such as the QSR center, the Stanford Acts of Intolerance Protocol and Gender Inclusive Stanford, a collaboration between staff, students and faculty to improve the experiences of transgender, gender non-conforming and gender non-binary members of the Stanford community on campus.

They also listed plans for providing future support, including legal clinics and panel discussions.

The Stanford College Republicans (SCR), meanwhile, expressed support for the possible change in a public Facebook post made Monday.

“We hope that President Trump’s administration follows through on recognizing sex assigned at birth,” SCR wrote. “This approach respects science, morality and common sense by accepting clear nature, and thus, recognizing ‘transgenderism’ and so-called ‘gender-fluidity’ as mental illness, rather than normalities.”

Conversely, Gabe Rosen ’19 — president of the Stanford Democrats — expressed disapproval for the memo in an email to The Daily.

“On behalf of the Stanford Democrats I’d like to express how appalling we find the [Trump] administration’s bald-faced attempt to undermine the civil rights of the transgender community,” he wrote. “It’s our belief that the leaked … memo represents a chillingly clinical systematic approach that, if actually implemented, would deny the lived experiences of our peers and the transgender community at large.”

When asked for comment, Stanford in Government (SIG) responded that they did not have a statement at this time.


Contact Aparna Verma at averma2 ‘at’

A wild soul with a love for prose, adventure and the sea. Doesn't quite know how to swim, but we'll get there someday.

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