ASU LGBT+ community protests Trump's gender proposal

LGBT+ organizations, students and allies join to protest Trump's supposed proposal to redefine the definition of gender

Members and supporters of Arizona's transgender and LGBT+ communities joined at the Arizona State Capitol on Friday to protest a memo suggesting that the Trump administration is considering redefining gender as explicitly biological.

The “We Exist, We Vote” rally was held at the Rose Garden on Friday and included LGBT+ organizations, ASU students and other allies of the transgender community. 

A memo obtained by the New York Times on Oct. 21 revealed that the Trump Administration was proposing to redefine gender as "a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth." 

If passed, it would consider gender as determined by sex instead of as an individual identity and would potentially roll back protections of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. 

The proposed change would alter Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination of gender in public education programs.

Elliot Winter, a fine arts and poetry graduate student at ASU, said they attended the rally to stand for the rights of the transgender community.

“I’m a trans non-binary person and my fiance is trans and we’re here to show that we exist and we’re here to fight for our rights and to show solidarity with members of our community,” Winter said. 

Winter said the consequences of such a proposal could cause more danger to the already vulnerable group. 

“The ramifications are very serious and lives are on the line," Winter said. "The trans community already faces a lot of violence, especially trans people of color ... and removing people’s protections is only going to make that danger more severe and more real for our community.”

Hayley Gallagher, a communications junior at ASU, highlighted the importance of having support from not only the LGBT+ community but also from allies. 

“These events are important for community solidarity. It’s important to show people that not only do we exist, but there’s people that support us and there’ll be people that will show up in support of our rights and show up to oppose any kind of attack on our rights," Gallagher said.

Political party is closely tied to views on transgender issues


The Trans Studies Initiative of UA released a letter condemning Trump’s proposal. The letter was signed in solidarity by scholars across the world, including six from ASU. 

A group of scientists signed a letter claiming that "This proposal is fundamentally inconsistent not only with science, but also with ethical practices, human rights and basic dignity." The letter was signed by over 1,600 scientists, including 16 from ASU.

ASU's Undergraduate Student Government Downtown voted unanimously that they do not agree with Trump's proposal and pledged their support to the University's LGBT+ community. 

Trump’s proposal received further backlash with 56 companies signing a letter of condemnation including Amazon, Apple, Google, PepsiCo, Nike, Facebook and many other large corporations.

Dave Wells, a political science professor at ASU, said that if the Trump administration decides to implement the change, it would most likely not be resolved until after the 2020 elections.

“The new set of lawsuits would go through the court systems to determine whether or not what Trump’s administration is doing is permissible, and that might not even resolve until after the 2020 elections when Trump might not even be President," he said.

As of now, the Trump administration has said it will not comment on the leaked memo but Roger Severino, head of the Office for Civil Rights, said his office is reviewing the issue, according to Time.

Editor's note: This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 


Reach the reporter at wmelhem@asu.edu or follow @wissmel on Twitter.

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