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October 24th, 2018


Dear Cal Poly Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni,

On Sunday, October 21st, information was released indicating a proposed change by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the definition of "sex" as determined by federal law, which could exclude transgender, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and intersex people from the legal and constitutional protections, privileges, and rights afforded to those in our country. We are deeply disappointed, angry, and saddened by these extremist regulatory attempts by some of our nation’s elected officials. This systematic rollback of protections has the potential to pave the way for the exclusion of members of our community in accessing comprehensive healthcare and receiving equitable education, among other aspects of everyday life. This change undermines the preponderance of law, civil and human rights, science, and medical evidence which are all united on the definitions of gender, sex, gender identity, gender expression and gender discrimination.

We are in solidarity with our transgender, non-binary, gender non-conforming and intersex students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members today, and every day.  The Cross Cultural Centers are committed to working with local, state, and national leaders to promote equity through radical love and inclusion. The fight for equity and inclusion is ongoing, but whether that fight takes us to the courts, to the ballot box, or to the streets, we will continue striving for a country in which all of us can enjoy dignity and respect.

Although an official memo has not been released at this time, the potential for redefinition promotes violence against the identities and bodies of people of all genders. There are a few things to know and do to support our Cal Poly community:

  1. In California, trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming, or intersex communities are protected under state law. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employment discrimination and harassment of transgender workers by providing protections based on gender identity and gender expression since 2004, and since 2005 in public accommodations such as restrooms.  The Gender Recognition Act of 2017 (SB179) ensures trans and nonbinary people living or who were born in the state of California can obtain identity documents like birth certificates or state issued identification that reflect their correct gender, including a standard path to obtaining a non-binary gender marker on state documents. These strides have been made by incredibly resilient members of the gender expansive community and supportive allies who have been leading us towards inclusion, justice, and equality for all.
  2. If you are a member of the trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming, or intersex communities, know you have a place here at Cal Poly. You are welcome in the Cross Cultural Centers (Gender Equity Center, Men & Masculinities, Multicultural Center, and the Pride Center), in all of our facilities, classrooms, labs, and campus spaces. Across Cal Poly, you will find resilient community members and allies committed towards creating an inclusive campus for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests.  Our Cal Poly and CSU policies ensure you are included here, are protected from harassment and discrimination, and are valued members of our academic community.  In 2017, Chancellor White released a statement in which the CSU system would maintain Obama-era protections and guidelines that extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity.     
  3. For aspiring allies, a great practice of allyship is to reach out to those you know who are part of the trans, non-binary, gender nonconforming, or intersex communities. Text, message, call, e-mail, stop by, have a conversation. Your words, and your actions, matter; many in our community feel a visceral threat to their well-being. This may be especially true for those who are just starting to explore who they are, and how they fit in to our campus, their own families, our state and our nation as a whole. Reach out and show up.
  4. State your pronouns and use inclusive language. This is a simple way you can help create a campus environment inclusive of all genders within your conversations, lectures, meetings, and other forms of communication. Using inclusive and expansive language recognizes and shows respect for people of all gender identities that are present in your spaces. Use terms such as “you all” or “y’all,” “everybody,” and “folks” to refer to a group of people.
  5. Additionally, do something that indicates you are supportive of the trans, non-binary, gender nonconforming, and intersex communities and encourage others to do the same. Print out a trans, non-binary, gender nonconforming, or intersex pride banner and display it, support a national, state or local organization which addresses issues related to these communities, post on social media linking to the trending hashtag #WontBeErased, and bring the issue up with those around you in classrooms, meetings and groups you are a part of. You may also download our “You Will Not Be Erased” poster to demonstrate your solidarity with our community. Do something.
  1. Lastly, we encourage members of our Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo community to express your voice in the ways that you are able.  You may contact your representatives in Washington D.C urging them to condemn this proposal and you may flex your right at the polls during the upcoming (November 6th) and subsequent elections. 

Many in our community may need further support that extends beyond your outstretched hand and listening ear. At Cal Poly, students and those who support them are encouraged to access the resources at Counseling Services with our Campus Health & Wellbeing. Additionally, there are a few national resources available:

And of course, you may always drop by our Cross Cultural Centers during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm). In addition, we will be holding several spaces this week for students, faculty, and staff to process these recent events.

LGBTQ+ Community Affinity Space with the Lead Coordinator of LGBTQ+ Initiatives

Samuel Neil Byrd, MED NCC


Thursday, October 25

11AM- UU 219

This space is intended for LGBTQ+ members of the Cal Poly community to be in community and support our transgender, non-binary, gender nonconforming, and intersex siblings as well as to discuss and organize responses to the proposal.

Enhancing Allyship for Social Change and Inclusion with the Lead Coordinator for the Center of Leadership

Heather Domonoske, M.A.

Thursday, October 25

11AM- Center for Leadership UU 217

This space is intended for allies and prospective allies who are looking for ways to support members of our transgender, non-binary, gender nonconforming, and intersex communities. 

Umbrella Social

Thursday, October 25

5PM- Pride Center UU 209

Umbrella is a closed space for students who do not identify as cisgender to talk about gender identity and expression.

Trans People of Color Dialogue

Friday, October 26

12PM - Building 38

Room 114

TPOC is a closed space for trans identifying, non-cisgender, gender variant, and gender questioning people of color to build community.

We recognize we are only at the beginning of our Cal Poly school year and that stressors will only increase as the year progresses and as this particular proposal is finalized. Please continue to weave a net of connections around our transgender, non-binary, gender nonconforming and intersex communities with attention to fundamental care and deep concern. 

We are here for you and we #WontBeErased,

The Cross Cultural Centers

  • Gender Equity Center
  • Men and Masculinities
  • Multicultural Center
  • Pride Center

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