November 6, 2018

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Faculty and Staff in Solidarity with Transgender and GNC People

Print More

To the editor:

The Cornell Coalition for Inclusive Democracy 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 on the basis of sex. The proposal would limit equal access to healthcare, housing, education and fair treatment under the law. It would functionally deny many trans people documentation of their identity, citizenship and immigration status, and the ability to travel freely. For others, it would force them to choose between the life-threatening dangers of the closet and living in a state of constant exposure and vulnerability. The proposal sends a chilling message that the government refuses to recognize the existence and identity of transgender people. It also deepens ongoing attacks on the civil rights of all citizens, legal immigrants and undocumented people.

As our group came together initially in support of undocumented students on campus and their families, we again call for national resistance to violent and bigoted efforts by the Trump administration to discriminate and further marginalize our students, faculty and staff of diverse gender identities. The Department of Health and Human Services proposal represents a challenge to the central principle of the university, as a place that respects the dignity, rights and equality for all faculty, students, and staff, and the communities where we live and work. It is a threat to our principles as a center of research, education and training, that is open to individuals of all genders, ethnicities, races and abilities.

We oppose the DHHS memo on the grounds that it promotes a broader context of transphobia and a climate of fear. As university staff and faculty, and as individuals who stand in solidarity with our community members of diverse genders, we oppose the threats expressed in the leaked memo.

It is the university’s responsibility to exert whatever political pressure it can to oppose these assaults.

We stand in solidarity with all LGBTQ people, and especially transgender and gender non- conforming individuals who may be experiencing harassment, discrimination and other forms of stress at this time.

Prof. Shannon Gleeson, ILR

Prof. Joseph Margulies, government

Prof. Russell Rickford, history

Prof. Ernesto Quiñonez, English

Prof. Beth Lyon, law

Prof. TJ Hinrichs, history

Prof. María Cristina García, history and Latino studies

Eric Cheyfitz, Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters

Prof. Cathy Caruth, comparative literature

Prof. Ella Diaz, English and Latina/o studies

Prof. Tracy McNulty, French and comparative literature

Prof. Richard F. Bensel , government

Prof. Robert C. Hockett, law

Helena María Viramontes, Goldwin Smith Professor of English

Prof. Richard William, philosophy

Prof. Miller Neil Saccamano, English

Prof. Sandra Babcock, law

Prof. John Weiss, history

Matthew Evangelista, President White Professor of History and Political Science,

Prof. Simone Pinet, Spanish and medieval studies

Prof. D. Alexander Bateman, government

Prof. Jamila Michener, government

Prof. Rachel Weil, history

Prof. Noliwe M. Rooks, Africana studies

Kenneth M. Roberts, Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government

Prof. Raymond B. Craib, history

Prof. Neema Kudva, city and regional planning

Ross Brann, Milton R. Konvitz Professor of Judeo-Islamic Studies  

Prof. Mary Pat P. Brady, Latino/a studies

Prof. Wendy W. Wolford,

development sociology

Prof. Joanie Mackowski, English and Creative Writing

Prof. Sabrina M Karim, government

Prof. Jonathan Kirshner, government

Prof. Risa L. Lieberwitz, ILR

Prof. Michael Ashkin, art

Prof. Angela B. Cornell, law

Prof. Elizabeth Brundige, law

Prof. Edward Eugene Baptist, history

Prof. Vilma Santiago-Irizarry, anthropology and Latino/a studies

Lara Skinner, Ph.D, Executive Director, ILR Worker Institute

Dania Rajendra, ILR Worker Institute

Sally M. Alvarez, ILR Worker Institute

Maria C. Figueroa, ILR Worker Institute

Jeffrey M. Grabelsky, ILR Worker Institute

Prof. Anna Haskins, sociology

Prof. Oneka LaBennett, Africana studies

Prof. Shawn McDaniel, Romance studies

Prof. Rachel Bezner Kerr, development sociology

Prof. Aziz Rana, law

Prof. Rebecca Slayton, science and technology studies

Prof. Julia Cang, Romance studies and feminist, gender and sexuality studies

Prof. Barry Maxwell, comparative literature, retired

Prof. Sabine Haenni, performing and media arts

Prof. Sheri Lynn Johnson, law

Prof. Verónica Martínez-Matsuda, ILR

Durba Ghosh, director of feminist, gender and sexuality Studies

Prof. Scott J Peters,

development sociology,

Kathleen A Bergin, IRB Committee

Adam T. Smith, Goldwin Smith Professor of Anthropology

Prof. Derek Chang, history and Asian American studies

Prof. Mostafa Minawi, history

Prof. Jill Frank, government

Prof. Maria Lorena Cook, ILR

Prof. Jennifer Minner, city and regional planning

Prof. Eric Tagliacozzo, history

Prof. Deborah Starr,

Near Eastern studies

Prof. Rayna Kalas, English

Prof. Alexander Livingston, government

Prof. Masha Raskolnikov, English and feminist, gender and sexuality studies

Adrienne Clay, program manager, American studies

Joyce Muchan, Assistant Director Public Service Center

Robert Scott, Executive Director, Cornell Prison Education Program

Prof. Paul Nadasdy, anthropology and American Indian and Indigenous Studies

Prof. Marina Welker, anthropology

Mary Newhart, Assistant Director, Center for the Study of Inequality

Briana Beltran, Clinical Teaching Fellow, law

Prof. Estelle McKee, law

Prof. Cynthia G Bowman, law  

Carrie Freshour, PhD ’18, development sociology

Prof. Julilly Kohler-Hausmann, history

Prof. Shelley Wong, English

Prof. Jenny C. Mann, English

Brendan O’Brien, Dean of Students Office

Prof. Stacey Langwick, anthropology