ODEI Offers Guidance in Response to News of a Federal Rule Defining Sex and Gender
On Sunday, the New York Times published an article headlined “‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration.” The reporters reference a possible new rule from the Department of Health and Human Services that would set strict, federal interpretations of sex and gender as something “biological,” “immutable” and “determined by genitalia at birth.”
This news has raised concerns within the transgender community both here at Kenyon College and across the nation. We wish to emphasize that such a rule from the Trump administration is not currently in effect, and it has yet to be formally proposed. Furthermore, any such a rule would likely undergo a 60-day period for public comment before it is able to move forward in any capacity.
The staff in Kenyon’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion have been aware of the possibility of a federal change since April 2018. We are using this knowledge to guide the work that we are doing to support our transgender students. Changes at the federal level will not weaken Kenyon’s support for its transgender and non-binary community. We would like to highlight a few resources that can help prepare our community, should such a rule come into effect in the coming months.
Access to transition-related health care services, such as hormone replacement therapy, is still mandated for all major insurance companies by way of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. The Kenyon student health insurance plan provides a number of options for hormone replacement therapy for as low as $10 per month. The ODEI also retains funds that can help students with limited financial resources in accessing transition-related appointments, medical care, prescriptions, etc. The Cox Health and Counseling Center is available to perform endocrine tests to support transgender students’ health care needs.
We are also hosting a free gender and name change clinic on Wednesday, Nov. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Gund Lower Commons Conference Room. This event is co-sponsored with Equitas Health and Trans Ohio, and attendees will receive pro bono legal assistance to help with the paperwork related to a gender and/or name change in the state of Ohio. As properly gendered documentation may minimize future barriers for accessing hormones and transition-related health care, we highly encourage students to attend. We also plan to host another clinic in the spring semester.
Additionally, we provide access to financial support for students interested in changing their gender marker on a U.S. passport. As noted in a Sept. 13 message to campus, a correctly gendered federal document can be useful for international travel, off-campus housing, etc. Students interested in accessing such funds should contact the ODEI.
Kenyon remains committed to supporting transgender students and will continue to provide an equitable and supportive living and learning environment for all students.
The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion