Two recent decisions — the Trump administration's rescinding of the transgender rights "Dear Colleague" letter issued in May, and the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday, not to review a lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of Gavin Grimm (a teenage transgender boy) against a school district in Virginia, alleging sex discrimination when the school denied him the right to use the boys' bathroom — have left many people concerned and confused about the status of transgender rights across the country.
This editorial is intended to provide clarity and address concerns and any confusion on our campus about these two recent decisions. These decisions do not change our campus policies.
University of Maryland policy protects people from discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity and expression. Thus, this university strictly prohibits discrimination against anyone who identifies as transgender. At this university, we do not deny access to facilities — including bathrooms — or limit access to university-sponsored activities to anyone based on sex or gender identity and expression, which includes the transgender members of our community as well as those who might be gender-nonconforming.
Our policies specifically define gender identity or expression as "a person's actual or perceived gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression, regardless of whether that identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the person's gender at birth." This means that even if someone does not fit a typical gender appearance, that person may not be singled out or discriminated against based on how others perceive the person's gender or appearance.
I invite everyone to consider how these two recent decisions may cause members of our transgender communities to feel marginalized — and to be mindful about how we as individuals, and as a community, can continue to show our mutual respect and support for one another.
• If you are confused about transgender issues or want more information, I encourage you to become familiar with the programming of our LGBT Equity Center (https://lgbt.umd.edu).
• If you are experiencing discrimination based on your gender identity or expression, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catherine A. Carroll is the Director of the Office of Civil Rights & Sexual Misconduct. She can be reached at email@example.com.