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SSQL Statement on Graduate Student Council Funding Decision

The Graduate Student Council ( GSC ), Stanford University has voted to fund a Stanford Anscombe Society event on April 4th and 5th. From their website, Stanford Anscombe Society “defines the family as one man and one woman bound together by marriage” and “promotes the idea that sexual integrity is necessary for this family unit to be successful.”

Their event on April 4th and 5th will bring speakers such as Ryan Anderson, who has equated homosexuality to alcoholism and pedophilia and encourages conversion therapy and prayer to change an individual’s sexual desires. Another invited speaker will be Robert Oscar Lopez, who has directly compared gay parents to slave owners. He has equated same-sex adoption to “… cultural genocide practices once used against Blacks and [Native Americans].” Due to last week’s decision, these speakers will be partially funded by the Graduate Student Council, and all fee-paying graduate students.

The GSC has a funding policy which states: “The GSC will not fund events or activities that create an environment where a given segment of the graduate student population are made to feel unwelcome at the event due to religious, political, or other conviction.”

Stanford Students For Queer Liberation stands in solidarity with all graduate students who oppose the use of their money to fund these speakers, and all Stanford students whose identities are negated and attacked by this event.

Currently, in the state of California, transgender students’ rights are in contention. Six weeks after the Supreme Court of the United States decided in favor of gay marriage in two landmark cases, California governor Jerry Brown signed into law the School Success and Opportunity Act (SSOA). SSOA states that all students have the right to participate in gender-segregated activities and use gender-segregated facilities according to their gender identity.

Unfortunately, there has been considerable backlash to this law. The National Organization for Marriage, the Pacific Justice Institute, the Capitol Resource Institute, and Faith and Public Policy have bankrolled the conservative coalition Privacy for All Students to use California’s referendum to put the law on the ballot next year.

from, written by SSQL members Sasha Perigo ’17 and Violet Trachtenberg ’16.

Poster for Trans Awareness Week 2013

Trans* Awareness Week 2013

There are so many trans people who have contributed so much to our society over the years, but they have always been less likely to be given credit for their own accomplishments.  Even the Stonewall riots so important to LGBT history in the US, have been misrepresented to give the credit to cis gay men when that credit belongs to trans women, drag queens, homeless queer youth and more.  (By the way, if you come on Tuesday evening you may get to meet Miss Major who was part of those riots, and you will get to find out some of the work she has been doing since then.)  So, come on Wednesday to hear the renowned Janet Mock speak about transgender inclusivity in social justice movements.

from, by SSQL member Quirk Goodman.

Poster for Beyond the Binaries

Why Should I Care About Trans* Awareness Week?

One of the most important ideas that inspires Beyond Binaries is the notion that trans* experience/perspectives are not ancillary to our education but actually central. By dedicating a week to trans* experiences we are taking what is normally thought of as a ‘minority’ subject position and universalizing it. We are attempting to show you that we all – regardless of our gender identity – have so much to learn from trans* experience.

from, by SSQL member Alok Vaid-Menon ’13.

SSQL’S ROTC Argument

We appreciate and acknowledge the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), but despite this historic change, transgender, intersex, and disabled people are still systematically excluded from the military.   We oppose the return of ROTC to campus, because it constitutes a violation of Stanford’s non-discrimination clause, which states “Stanford University admits qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the University.”  This is an issue of access, of civil rights.  Stand with us, and stand with your marginalized peers against explicit discrimination.  The rights of a minority should not be subject to the prejudices of a majority.

Frequently raised concerns:

1.      Your argument is simply a foil for anti-militarism. Those of us involved in the SSQL effort against the introduction of a discriminatory ROTC program span the political spectrum in our support for the military.  Political opinion about the military, furthermore, is irrelevant to an argument about civil rights.

2.      Transgender individuals are unfit for military service and therefore for the ROTC program.  Often this concern is based on the unfounded view that transgender identity inherently results in poor mental health.  According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, high rates of suicide and mental health conditions in the transgender community is a result of institutionalized stigma, and lack of community support, not an innate disorder.  Yes, “Gender Identity Disorder” is still included in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, but the American Psychological Association and several LGBT organizations are staunchly against this unfortunate pathologizing of transgender identities.

3.      Intersex individuals are unfit for military service.  Intersexuality, on the other hand, is a physical condition diagnosed at birth based on ambiguous genitalia and/or hormonal status.  Neither of these factors have an intrinsic effect on the ability of an individual to serve in the military.   Indeed, the exclusion of intersexuals is really based on fundamental prejudice and phobia.

4.      Disabled individuals are unfit for military service.  While it is true that many tasks in the military require a certain degree of physical fitness, like other ability-differentiated activities on campus, it is the responsibility of the organizers to provide safe alternatives (such as training for civilian positions).

5.      The military will never be able to accommodate all these different identities.  This is a fairly pessimistic view isn’t it?  We were at the same point a few decades ago with LGB servicemembers but we pushed through (though not without concerted effort).  The military, as one of our nation’s largest employers, can and should embody the non-discrimination.

6.      Stanford-educated military leaders will make the military inclusive to transgender, intersex, and disabled individuals.  This idea offers a fairly slow and problematic narrative of progress.  Why not speak out against oppression now, in coalition with our marginalized peers, instead of waiting for an uncertain trickle-down effect?  Transgender, intersex, and disabled people have been left out of our civil rights clauses long enough, and it is time we speak up for justice.

7.      You are enacting discrimination against ROTC cadets by not allowing the program on campus.  We are ready to work with the military community in reducing the stigma around veteran or cadet status, but we do not believe the de facto (or social) discrimination against military cadets (who choose their military status) is comparable to the de jure (codified) discrimination against transgender, intersex, and disabled individuals.  Fighting de facto discrimination requires social transformation but de jure discrimination requires a simple (though often difficult) change in law.  Working for military students’ community and opposing ROTC on the basis of discrimination are not mutually exclusive.  We propose a military student VSO as an alternative for those who choose to enlist.