I am writing this letter as an ally, advocate and educator—and a human being. Upon President Trump’s revocation of the governmental protections for trans students, I recognize the fear some of you must feel. I want you to know that you have me on your side.

As I watched Gavin Grimm prepare to head to the Supreme Court, I held my breath in hopes that Gavin and members of your community would finally have the recognition of your rights adjudicated and formally installed into the fabric of our nation. Instead, we saw the Supreme Court deny Gavin and your community the right to be heard at the federal level.

I want you to know that your existence matters, your rights matter and you deserve the freedoms of mobility and access just as any other American can expect.

I will strive to ensure that you see yourself, your identity and your history reflected in your studies. As director of women’s and gender studies, I will continue to advocate for funds, support and faculty that will allow you to see yourselves reflected in your education.

I will continue to advocate for your needs on campus, and I will need your help to know what those needs are. I hope you will seek me out and consider me an ally as you work for change you want to see at KU.

I will remind you that you are a vital population at KU and that our community benefits from diversity—even as hate crimes against trans individuals rise, know that I am committed to working with you and administration to ensure your rights are recognized.

You matter. If nothing else, remember that. As you are beleaguered by news stories, please remember that you matter.


Dr. Colleen Clemens

Director of Women’s and Gender Studies


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