Statement in Support of Transgender Students, Staff, and Faculty at Whittier College

March 7, 2022

Whittier College shared this message with its community in support of transgender members of the College.

In the last two weeks, we have watched with shock, dismay, and heartache as Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a memo directing the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate the parents of transgender kids for allowing their children to seek gender-affirming medical care. Initially, it was unclear whether this dangerous and damaging order would be followed, but last week a DFPS employee was placed on leave just for being the mother of a trans teenager; further, the family was subjected to invasive interviews and demands that the teen’s medical records be turned over, after which they, and the ACLU, filed a lawsuit against the state.

Recently, LGBTQ+ rights in general have also been under attack. From the “Don’t Say Gay” bill under consideration in the Florida legislature to other measures that constrain what can be taught about American history and current events, the political landscape for LGBTQ+ people, and in particular queer people of color, has been changing rapidly for the worse in our country.

Yet, we must acknowledge that much of this latest wave of fear and hatred has been squarely aimed at transgender people, as well as trans kids and their families. Sixteen states have active bills that aim to restrict healthcare access for trans youth, and there are over 100 active anti-trans bills in state legislatures (the others focus on athletics, curriculum, and “single-sex” facilities). Whittier College stands with all the trans members of our community. Along with the vast majority of the medical, psychotherapeutic, and LGBTQ+ community, we know that trans kids exist, and they should have access to gender-affirming care. We also applaud parents who support their children before, during, and after gender transition. 

Gender-affirming healthcare literally saves lives. Measures like the ones in Texas, Arkansas, and elsewhere demonize supportive parents and endanger the health and wellness of trans young people. Trans and non-binary Whittier students are also in need. You can act right now to help Whittier students access supplemental funds to cover their gender-affirming healthcare by donating to the Student Emergency Fund (designate “Area of Greatest Need” and write “I support trans students at Whittier” in the comment box).

In addition to giving whatever you can to the Student Emergency Fund, the entire Whittier community can absolutely help support our transgender friends, acquaintances, and compatriots by treating them with the respect and care we all deserve. Here is a short list of the simple acts we can do every day to communicate our respect and support for trans and non-binary people:  1) Please ask people about their pronouns and endeavor to use peoples’ correct pronouns (Know that you will make mistakes at times, but keep working on it!), 2) Please refer to trans and/or non-binary people by their actual names (These would be the names they will invariably tell you to use.), and 3) Please trust that any trans or non-binary person in a shared restroom or locker room at the College is there because they deserve to be there, and have the right to use facilities that conform to their gender identity.

We know it has been a difficult few weeks for trans and non-binary people everywhere, so if you need someone to talk to, please contact the Counseling Center (562.907.4239) or Dr. K. (, and we will find you appropriate resources.

In support and solidarity,  
Linda S. Oubré, Ed.D.  M.B.A.
President and Professor of Business Administration 

Ann M. Kakaliouras, Ph.D.
Gender Equity Coordinator and Professor of Anthropology

Deanna Merino Contino, Ed.D.
Interim Vice President and Dean of Students

Anush Hernandez
Gender Equity Peer Educator

Sophie Nugent
Gender Equity Peer Educator 

sal johnston
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

Kay Sanders, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Professor of Child Development   

Melina Martinez 
Assistant Gender Equity Coordinator

Elsie Johnson
Gender Equity Peer Educator  
Read more about the Texas case on the ACLU website.