Dear SDS Students, Staff, Fellows, and Community Members,
On Sunday, October 21, The New York Times reported that the federal Department of Health and Human Services of the US government is seriously considering adopting guidelines for the administration of Title IX that would “narrowly define gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.” In response, The Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies would like to unequivocally and strongly re-affirm our commitment to trans, intersex, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming people and politics. The broad scientific consensus is that gender is not binary. Governments and others may assign a legal sex category at birth, usually based on anatomical characteristics, but this does not change the reality of a spectrum of gender identities. SDS remains committed to a vision of the world in which trans, nonbinary, and intersex students and communities are not only recognized but can live safely and flourish. We stand firmly with trans, intersex, and nonbinary people in fighting hate and erasure and we remain dedicated to fostering an intellectual and ethical environment in which an expansive vision of queer and trans lives and social justice work may thrive.
The federal proposal has profound implications for trans, nonbinary, and intersex people, which both participates in and amplifies the everyday experiences of violence and transphobia of trans people. This is not just a concern for US citizens, but also for those of us in Canada. At the University of Toronto, we have witnessed the rise and enactment of similar anti-trans sentiments and discursive violences against our students, staff, and university community members. Outside of the University, trans people, especially trans women of colour, continue to experience the brunt of such oppression and violence in the most immediate forms. We must not forget that state-sanctioned trans erasure is not a product of one person’s bigotry; it feeds and is fed by an everyday transphobia that knows no borders––there is no better side of the border in this onslaught on trans and intersex lives. Therefore, we write this statement both to express our renewed and unwavering commitment to maintaining a space of learning, action, and transformation through education for our trans, nonbinary, and intersex students and community members at SDS and UT and to extend our support and solidarity to trans, nonbinary, and intersex people living in the US and elsewhere.
The Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, University of Toronto