The University of Massachusetts will preserve protections for transgender individuals regardless of the outcome of a vote on the state’s discrimination laws at the midterms.
“Regardless of the outcome of the election, and to the extent permitted by law, we will retain our present policy on restroom and locker room access on our campuses by allowing transgender and gender-nonconforming students, faculty, staff and guests to choose facilities consistent with their gender identity,” the school announced in a Monday press release.
The announcement refers to “Massachusetts Question 3,” a referendum on the state’s October 2016 law permitting transgender persons to use public restrooms and facilities according to their gender identity.
Voters will decide on Nov. 6 whether to uphold or repeal Senate Bill 2407, a provision barring discrimination according to gender identity in public places, according to BallotPedia.
“Repealing the provision could also create confusion among university community members and guests, including prospective students, about rights for transgender and gender-non conforming persons on our public university campuses,” the press release also said.
The university’s announcement comes after an Oct. 21 memo reportedly indicated the Trump administration plans to define gender by biological sex, according to The New York Times, defining gender as either female or male, depending on the person’s genitalia at birth. (RELATED: Trump Administration Considering Policy That Eradicates ‘Transgender’ Identity)
“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the memo reads. It could potentially implement genetic testing for discrepancies as well.
TheNYT reported that a new definition could be ready for presentation to the Department of Justice by the end of the year, citing Trump administration officials.
Since former President Barack Obama loosened the definition of Title IX, divisive battles have been fought over which bathroom students can use in school as well as what sports teams they can play on. Some companies have considered adopting plans covering the cost of therapies and surgeries for transgender and transitioning employees.
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