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Ex Com E-Vote, October 30, Motion on Question 3- Transgender Rights

FSU EX COM E-VOTE 10/30/18

Ex Com was asked by email on 10/26/18 to vote on the following. The FSU Executive Committee voted to endorse the motion below. The votes were 10 in favor; 0 opposed; 3 members did not vote.

The FSU Executive Committee condemns in the strongest terms the leaked Department of Health and Human Services memo that seeks to redefine sex in federal law as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” This definition would deny transgender people protection under federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination the basis of sex. The proposal would limit equal access to health care, housing, education, and fair treatment under the law. It sends a chilling message that the existence and identity of transgender people is not recognized by the government.

As is stated in our bylaws, the FSU is “committed to maintaining an atmosphere in which teaching, research and service to the public can be carried forward at high levels of excellence.” Our membership includes faculty and librarians of diverse gender identities. Furthermore, given that we are faculty and librarians at a public university, our members are committed to promoting educational opportunities for and enabling academic achievement of our transgender, intersex, and non-binary students.

The Department of Health and Human Services proposal challenges that central charge of the FSU by placing our faculty and our students at risk of losing their fundamental civil rights. We are especially concerned about its effect in a broader context of transphobia, including the challenge to Massachusetts law protecting transgender people from discrimination in public places. As educators who strive to make our classrooms and university safe and inclusive, and as union members who fight to protect our colleagues, we oppose threats to transgender people expressed in the leaked memo. We endorse a YES vote on Question 3. And we stand in solidarity with LGBTQ people in our community who may be experiencing heightened stress of forms of harassment and discrimination.