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ARL Affirms Support of Civil Rights Protections for Transgender People

image CC-BY-SA by Ted Eytan

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and its members stand with the American Library Association (ALA) and its Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) in opposing proposed changes by the US Departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Education, and Labor to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These proposed policy changes would define a person’s sex as “male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” thereby eliminating federal recognition under Title IX of approximately 1.4 million Americans who identify as transgender and eradicating federal civil rights protections of US citizens who identify as lesbian, gay, and transgender.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are guiding principles of the Association and are embedded in the mission statement of the organization. Governmental policy that would eliminate key protections and civil liberties for some of the most vulnerable populations is counter to the core values of the library profession and of our Association. We believe that failing to extend federal protections to the approximately 1.4 million US citizens whose gender identity is different than their sex assigned at birth is potentially harmful and further marginalizing to these individuals, some of whom use libraries and archives or work in our member institutions.

Moreover, these proposed policy changes would counter the progress that has been made in the US and beyond in understanding and honoring the nuances and complexities of gender identity and expression for many individuals. Changes to these policies, as proposed, would send a wrong, possibly dangerous, message regarding the value of transgender individuals to society at a time when historically oppressed communities are experiencing increased hostility and are in greater need of protections and civil liberties.

ARL libraries and archives are committed to providing safe and inclusive spaces to all members of our communities. The Association strongly supports diversity and inclusion in the workplace, in library collections and services, and in society at large. We strive to reduce oppression and promote a more inclusive, equitable society through education and advocacy.

About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise, promotes equity and diversity, and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.

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