Image credit: Micah Bazant.
On October 21, The New York Times leaked a draft of a memo from the Department of Health and Human Services, which revealed the current administration’s intent to define gender as “a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.” This proposed legal change denies the existence and experiences of trans, nonbinary and gender nonconforming people, and would roll back recognition, rights, and protections for these communities.
With the changes proposed in the memo, the role of gender identity would be lessened under Title IX anti-discrimination laws in favor of the limited definition. This would mean transgender people would not be able to dispute discrimination in terms of physical attack, housing, employment, education, or healthcare. Having to take invasive genetic tests to prove one’s sex with a DNA sample is a very real possibility and would be a violation of one’s personal rights.
Cal Shakes strives to be a theater where people of all gender identities and expressions are safe, supported, and welcome. Trans, intersex, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people are members of our staff, audiences, community partners, student groups; they are our family, and deserve safety, respect, and self-determination. We stand unequivocally with them and we do not support any government policies that endanger their safety and agency. Trans rights are human rights. From the law to our offices to our amphitheater, our family #WontBeErased.
There are many direct action steps you can take, including some listed here by Out Magazine. There are also many organizations that you can support with your time, in-kind donations, or financial contributions.
Here are some organizations that Cal Shakes partners with that support the trans community that you can support:
- Transgender Law Center
- TGI Justice Project
- San Francisco Department of Health’s Transgender Health Services
- Rainbow Community Center
Other local and national organizations you can support:
- API Equality Northern California
- The Pacific Center
- Dimensions Clinic
- The Brown Boi Project
- The National Center for Transgender Equality
- Trans Lifeline
If you are a person impacted by this proposed change and are in need or support or resources or in crisis, here are some organizations ready to help: