On October 30, 2018, our Board Chair Sally Dodds wrote a compelling and educational letter to the editor of the Arizona Daily Star. Unfortunately, the letter was not selected for publication, however we felt it important to share it as a part of our continued dedication to our trans brothers and sisters.
Ms. Jill Jorden Spitz, Editor
Arizona Daily Star
4850 S. Park Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85714
To the Editor,
The LGBT&S Alliance Fund, a fund of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, adamantly opposes the Trump administration’s efforts to change federal civil rights law by narrowly defining a person’s gender on a purely biological and unchangeable basis as either female or male and according to the person’s genitalia at birth. There are several reasons for our opposition:
First, there are some 1.4 million Americans who have chosen to recognize themselves, surgically or not, as a sex more consistent with who they feel themselves to be than the one they were born into. This move would be even more significant than other oppressive maneuvers toward transgender and gender diverse people currently being attempted by the Administration. Already there are efforts to prohibit transgender troops from serving “in any capacity” in the military. And the Administration is trying to remove discrimination protections for transgender people in all aspects of employment by changing the rules of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Were this measure to be implemented, it would mean that transgender and gender diverse people could also be legally excluded from every aspect of civilian society–healthcare, business, education, housing, and employment.
Second, and most importantly, the crux of the threat to transgender people goes deeper and is more serious than even the loss of civil rights. The threat is frankly existential. By having their identities re-defined, trans and gender diverse people will be obliterated and will no longer exist. Their very being will be erased, a trauma from which they, and our humanity, will never fully recover.
Third, these attempts can only be seen as the tip of a growing iceberg to roll back the hard fought and hard-won civil rights of all LGBTQ+ people. While the Administration’s proposed definition of gender first lays the foundation to remove even the most basic civil rights of transgender people, it plows the ground to deny the rights of all sexual minorities. The recent contentious confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice raises fears that this could easily happen. During his confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh first dodged, and then refused, to answer questions about his stance on LGBTQ rights in both marriage equality and in protection from workplace discrimination. In Arizona, a state with no current comprehensive civil rights act that specifically includes protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender diversity, the iceberg looms especially large.
The LGBT&S Alliance Fund stands proudly beside our trans and gender diverse community and pledge our continued philanthropy to LGBTQ+-serving nonprofits to better improve the safety and quality of life for all people in Southern Arizona.
Sally Dodds, Ph.D. – Board Chair
LGBT&S Alliance Fund