Scripps College Feminist and Gender Studies Department
Pitzer College Black Student Union
Dear Pitzer Community,
We, Pitzer’s Black Student Union, are in Solidarity with trans communities affected by Trump’s administration’s recently leaked memo revealing federal efforts to “roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.”. The administration’s proposal to define gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth is a violent initiative that works towards the the erasure of trans and intersex people. The memo essentially is a revision of the Title IX definition of gender as biological.
We acknowledge that such administrative decisions would have profoundly harmful impacts on the lives of trans individuals and communities on our campus and around the world. We condemn any and all attempts to institute exclusionary policies that endanger and strip the rights of transgender, intersex, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and genderqueer people.
Members of the Black Student Union held a town hall meeting on October 26 to begin to form diverse and meaningful, solution based ways to support members of our community/ the trans community to the best of our individual and communal capacities. While there is much work to be done to authentically show and provide continuous support for trans people and communities on our campus, below are a few tangible ways in which BSU members are working to affirm our support; we encourage other organizations, communities, and individuals within their capacities to stand in solidarity with us :
Donating to The Trans Wellness Center in LA and Syvia Rivera Law Project.
Bringing a black trans speaker to campus
Planning a voter’s information workshop
Once again, we invite the other affinity groups to collaborate with us on the above actions.
- The Trevor Project’s 24/7/365 Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386) or TrevorChat, their online instant messaging option, or TrevorText, a text-based support option
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
- Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860
- Black Trans Advocacy
- Trans Latina Coalition
- Trans People of Color Coalition
In Solidarity and Community,
Pitzer College Black Student Union
Claremont College’s Office of Black Student Affairs
The Office of Black Student Affairs is committed to challenging these systemic attempts to erase trans, non-binary and intersex communities by the United States government. We are committed to dismantling trans antagonism, gender policing, and the subsequent violence that grows from that, and we actively condemn the violent leaked #Memo. This #Memo is a part of a history of attempted political and social exclusion of people whose identities society deems illegible and therefore “dangerous.”* We are committed to being held accountable by our students, our colleagues and our communities. We recognize that this commitment is ongoing and that the work is never ending. We encourage our cisgender colleagues, students and consortial partners to put their voice, resources, energy and hearts into speaking up and out for our trans, non-binary and intersex family members.
OBSA encourages the community members to consider these short and long-term support measures to build on our commitments to supporting trans, non-binary and intersex people:
- listen to and amplify the voices of trans and non-binary people in your life
- “making (all) single stall restrooms gender-neutral (and increase the number of all use restrooms on campus and off-campus)
- adding your pronouns to an email signature (mypronouns.org)
- changing intake paperwork to reflect LGBTQ people.” Sara C. (Medium)
- encouraging your college, congress person and governor to collaboratively challenge these proposed institutional changes
- advocate for the inclusion and support of trans and non-binary people, including Black and non-Black people of color who are trans and non-binary
- identify support for the forthcoming Pitzer College Senate Resolution Supporting Trans Students
- attend the Open Space Trans Empowerment Week programs to learn more about trans and non-binary people
*The #Memo leak came during a barrage of disturbing and concerning events including the attempted mailing of improvised explosive devices to prominent Democrat and liberal-leaning figures, the apparent White nationalist murders of Black people at a Kroger in Kentucky and the anti-Semitic violence at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, asylum seekers continuing to be treated like criminals prior to their requests for refugee status as well as on-going national and international conflicts which seek to dehumanize each party involved. We stand against any ideologies or oppressive actions that attempt to divide us and make us feel less powerful.
Pitzer College Latinx Student Union
Dear Pitzer Community,
We, the Latinx Student Union, are in solidarity with trans communities affected by the Trump administration’s leaked memo. We would like to thank Aleo and Victor for starting a conversation that should’ve already been started by Pitzer’s campus. In addition, we also want to thank the Black Student Union for holding all affinity groups on campus accountable for our silence. We believe that by remaining silent we are choosing the side of the oppressor and therefore we are speaking up.
Cis allies need to put their bodies on the line for trans people, especially wealthy and white allies. We encourage all allies to incorporate any facet of their privilege to assist trans people in this devastating political climate.
While organizations can be extremely effective supports, the best way to support our trans people of color is by direct action. If you go onto Twitter and type in, #TransCrowdFund, you will be able to find threads of trans people requesting their reparations. There is also a Facebook page called, Reparations: Requests and Offerings , where allies can provide resources and marginalized communities can request assistance. Such assistance includes notarizing any gender affirming documents for the trans community’s needs free of charge, job opportunities, clothes, etc. Our trans communities please be safe as this is a private page but thousands of people are in it. This page has had success in fulfilling the needs of the trans community but allies should be cognizant of the work that still needs to be done.
During LSU’s Latinx at the grove, we will set up a venmo account that people can donate to. The proceeds will go to the Trans Justice Funding Project . The Trans Justice Funding Project is an organization that provides grants to grass-root trans coalitions without taking out a percentage of the donation.
We genuinely apologize for our late response, there is no excuse for our actions but we want our trans communities to know that we mean every word within this letter of solidarity. Please feel free to reach out to us in anyway that we can support you.
Latinx Student Union
***The proceeds from the venmo of Latinx at the Grove will be split evenly between the Trans Justice Funding Project and donations to the Central American migrant caravan. We are in support of our 75 trans migrants coming through the caravan.
Pitzer College’s Community Engagement Center
At the Community Engagement Center, our main focus is working in partnership with local communities to advance justice, liberation, and transformation on intersectional oppressions and injustices that exist in the Inland Empire for myriad communities, especially those with resilient but marginalized identities. We cannot do this work with students, faculty and staff off-campus without also supporting this work to happen on campus, lest we fall again into Pitzer’s bad habit of doing the talk without the walk. As such, we want to begin by stating our immense gratitude for Aleo and Victor for igniting a critical dialogue on our campus right now about the rights, safety, and wellbeing of trans, intersex, nonbinary and gender non-conforming folks (on our campus and beyond). Their courage, critical analysis and astute call to action necessitates acknowledgement, response, and ongoing solidarity, as many others have already noted. The staff members of the Community Engagement Center hope to honor that call by looking at the multiple ways we can collectively rise up: state our support loudly, boldly, and repeatedly; support healing spaces on campus; support ways trans/intersex/nonbinary/ gender non-conforming folks can safely define and demand for themselves the support they want from the institution; implore the institution to increase its resources and support; write letters to elected officials demanding they fight this; and by giving money to organizations advocating for justice by creating protection, healing, education, resources, healthcare, and policy reform. We also have some recommendations for other specific ways our institution can respond:
- Research what happens if we, at Pitzer, and the City of Claremont more broadly, do not go along with the proposals and requirements of the Trump administration so we are prepared for the political/legal fight to come.
- Ensure that all of us on this campus that interact with students are trained specifically in trans alliance (that means all staff and faculty, but especially counseling staff, like Monsour and chaplains, as OSA staff have committed to do). QRC offers such trainings, though may need greater support as greater numbers of staff request training.
- Include mindfulness and healing spaces specifically for and by trans folks in Ptz student wellness activities.
- Explore our broader community (i.e. Pitzer alumni and friends of the college) to see where trans alliance exists that our trans students can contact for mentorship, services, internship or general support.
- Connect with LGBTQIA community organizations off campus to partner with in local and global fights for trans justice; (for immediate action, you can support this Saturday’s benefit for the IEIYC– Inland Empire Immigration Youth Collective– and the many undocqueer youth they work with locally)- Check out this Facebook Link
We appreciate the young people who have spoken out and called us up – we hope to do right by you.
Tessa Hicks Peterson
Pitzer College Student Senate
National Women’s Studies Association Statement Against Redefinition of “sex’ in Federal Policies
As scholars, community members, activists, and artists in coalition, the NationalWomen’s Studies Association condemns the Trump Administration’s proposed redefinition of “sex” in federal discrimination policies. With ongoing attempts to limit the enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as well as moves to remove “gender-based violence” from United Nations human rights documents, it is clear that trans, intersex, and queer lives are under attack. These proposed changes would roll back hard-fought safeguards and make the structural enforcement of gender norms formal state policy. As an association focused on the intersectional study of sex and gender, we reject the notion that sex is an immutable biologically-determined binary, a notion which contradicts scientific fact.
We recognize that actions and statements undertaken by this administration are most likely to be weaponized against those living at the intersections of marginalization. The proposed re/definition falsely equates genitalia with embodied realities, in direct contrast with lived experiences, erroneously defining sex through violent colonial, medical, and social constructions of gender. The inherent violence of the proposed re/definition:
1. Erodes protections for gender identity and sexual orientation,
2. Eliminates the civil rights of trans, nonbinary, gender variant, and queer individuals,
3. Denies the existent, lived experiences of Intersex folks,
4. Reinscribes settler colonial sex-gender congruence that threaten Indigenous peoples and life ways, and
5. Supports those who would work to impede the life chances and the right to bodily autonomy and self-determination of trans and intersex folks through the denial of services.
Our gender-expansive membership is outraged. This proposed policy change will limit trans, intersex, non-binary, gender-variant, and queer people’s lives across the United States and the world.
NWSA’s Confronting Campus Sexual Assault Interest Group has drafted an open letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Kenneth Marcus regarding the draft Title IX regulations. We invite NWSA members to sign.
SIGNED by the EC with affiliations*
Premilla Nadasen, President, Barnard College
Diane Harriford, Vice President, Vassar College
Patti Duncan, Secretary, Oregon State University
Karma Chávez, Treasurer, The University of Texas at Austin
Barbara Ransby, Past President, University of Illinois – Chicago
(*affiliations for identification purposes only)
Claremont College’s Queer Resource Center
To the Claremont College community members we serve,
As many of you may already be aware, a recently leaked memo revealed federal efforts to “roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.” The Queer Resource Center (QRC) recognizes the significance of this administrations’ action and its implications for those in our community. We apologize that this statement was not issued earlier and we fully acknowledge the hurt and frustration that this may have caused members of our community.
The QRC wishes to express our support for all members of our community who are impacted by the Department of Health and Human Services’ recent efforts to effectively erase transgender, intersex, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and genderqueer people. We recognize that such administrative decisions would have profound impacts on the lives of LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities on our campuses and around the world. We whole-heartedly condemn any and all attempts to institute exclusionary policies that endanger transgender, intersex, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and genderqueer people.
At times like these we must not forget the resilient histories of our communities despite repeated attempts at erasure. We also acknowledge the profound implications this has on our mental, emotional, and physical health and hope to provide space for both healing and action. The QRCstands with the LGBTQIA+ community and will continue to work toward justice, inclusion, and equity for all members of our community.
We ask that you join us in our commitment to action. Below is an upcoming event open to the entire campus community. We are currently working towards an additional event with student organizers and the Physics and Astronomy Department at Pomona College. As additional events are solidified or we become aware of events organized by community partners or the community at large we will frequently update this information on the Queer Resource Center Facebook Page. We will also be posting any resources and services that may be helpful for community members here as well.
Trans Letter Writing Campaign, Tuesday, November 6, 5:30pm-7:30pm @ Frary Dining Hall (south steps)
Again, we want to reaffirm our commitment to our LGBTQIA+ communities at The Claremont Colleges. We are committed to listening and supporting your lived experiences. The QRC exists to provide education, advocacy, support, and a safe space for and about various LGBTQIA+ communities.
Please reach out to the QRC with questions and for support.
With love and solidarity,
–Manny D., Pharalyn C., and QRC Student Associates
University of Minnesota Gender, Women , and Sexuality Studies Solidarity Statement
In light of recent events, the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota is releasing the following statement of solidarity.
Last week, the White House released a draft memo stating that gender will be henceforth defined by genitals, and that trans people’s gender identity will not be recognized by any branch of the federal government. Gender is not binary. It is not defined by “genitals” or by biology. However, as a modern historical construct connected to histories of colonization and settler colonialism, the binary of male/female has been established as a “natural biological reality” to determine, regulate and normalize sex, gender role and gender presentation through exclusion. The myth that anyone outside the gender binary is “unnatural,” “deviant,” or “monstrous” has historically been used to exclude and demean indigenous people, people of color, immigrants, disabled people, and gender nonconforming and intersex people in order to rationalize violence or harm against us. The Trump administration’s attempt to erase the existence of trans and intersex people is the latest attempt at exclusion. We must resist this violent erasure.
As feminist scholars, we know that this attack on trans and intersex people is part of a larger pattern defining citizenship and rights through a natalism that marries together binary gender, heterosexuality, whiteness, and able-bodiedness as ideals. The myth of the gender binary was brought to North America as part of settler colonialism, chattel slavery, and anti-Black racism; it has been used to control and discipline indigenous people, Black people, other U.S. people of color, people in the “Third World,” and immigrants over the entire history of settlement and through U.S. geopolitical interests.
This week, two separate incidents of white nationalist (anti-Black and anti-Semitic) hate resulted in the deaths of 13 people. The White House is coordinating a military response to the Central American asylum seekers traveling together through Mexico, while it continues to support repressive regimes, remove immigrant children from their parents at the border, and develop plans to deny citizenship to children of immigrants born in the U.S. The ban on Muslims entering the U.S. continues to normalize violence against Arab, Muslim, and Middle Eastern immigrants. Nationalism and hate are also transnational and ongoing: this week in Brazil, the far-right extremist Jair Bolsonaro was elected President. The U.S.-backed Saudi military starves and bombs people in Yemen. In India, right-wing attacks on LGBTQ people, intellectuals, Dalits, and Muslims are unabated. In Gaza, the Israeli Defence Force attacks Palestinians protesting their imprisonment and fighting for the right of return.
The events of the last week are only a few recent manifestations of long histories shaped by colonialism, racism, cis-heteropatriarchy, and other forms of oppression. In our classes, we teach that binary gender and sexual violence are often enforced through racist norms and that racial, gender, and sexual hierarchies emerge from the same myths about biology as something “essential” that must define our place in the world. We take a transnational and intersectional feminist approach to highlight the connections between forms of injustice and violence that impact the lives of trans and nonconforming people in the U.S. and the lives of those against whom violence and erasure is normalized under the rhetoric of humanitarianism and security.
Therefore, we stand in solidarity with everyone disenfranchised by the Trump Presidency and U.S. imperialism, both inside and outside the United States. We take direction and inspiration from the social movements that have fought to create social and political change over the last decade: Black Lives Matter, trans and queer movements, immigrant movements, activists working against Islamophobia and the Muslim ban, disability justice movements, feminist movements that resist sexual violence, reproductive justice movements, movements to disrupt and dismantle capitalism world-wide, anti-occupation movements, anti-Fascist movements, anti-caste struggles, and anti-imperialist movements.
We encourage our faculty colleagues, administrators, staff, and students on the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus and across the UMN system, our neighbors in the Twin Cities, and all of our friends to join us in this commitment to support all of those violently marginalized in our society and to amplify just ways of distributing and inhabiting power.
Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
October 31, 2018