Leaders from several universities are speaking out against a memo leaked from the Trump administration last week that suggested gender be defined on a sexual basis.
In a letter addressed to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Chancellor Rebecca Blank, along with presidents from Rutgers and Princeton Universities, called on the Department of Education to protect the rights of transgender people in education policy.
“We appeal to you to do everything you can to prevent such action and to uphold the dignity of all persons,” the letter said. “We have been steadfast in our efforts to ensure that our campuses are welcoming and supportive for all students, including transgender students, faculty, and staff, and it is critical that the federal government also remain steadfast in providing these protections for all students as well.”
According to reports, the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed to define sex under Title IX as either male or female, unchangeable and determined by a person’s genitals at birth. Educators fear such a narrow and binary definition would have the effect of rolling back important protections against discrimination on the basis of gender and gender identity.
“These protections are important because transgender Americans in all parts of the country, including students and others on our campuses, have faced discrimination, isolation, and harassment,” the letter said. “Providing these protections is fully consistent with basic principles of fairness and respect for others.”